By: Nick Gambino
Instagram no longer wants to be thought of as a photo-sharing app. At least that’s what head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, says of the platform’s current focus. If their recent changes are any indication, they’re serious about wanting to lean more into video and entertainment content.
This makes sense when you consider the quick rise of TikTok and Instagram not wanting to lose their place at the top of the mountain. TikTok quickly shot ahead of the pack to become the “hip” social platform with more entertainment-driven videos. They’re so popular, Instagram is currently flooded with reposted TikToks. That can’t be good for the ego.
“Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now,” Mosseri said in a candid video he posted. “TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger and there are a lot of other upstarts as well. People are looking to Instagram to be entertained. There’s stiff competition and there’s more to do and we have to embrace that. And that means change.”
Changes are coming to video on Instagram 📺
At Instagram we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging. pic.twitter.com/ezFp4hfDpf
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) June 30, 2021
This is the major impetus for features like Reels and Suggested Posts that now appear in your feed. Mosseri discussed Instagram’s pivot toward embracing full-screen video and immersive content. This would effectively turn Instagram into TikTok. After all, that’s what Reels was all about. Just as Stories was about not losing users to Snapchat.
While I don’t have metrics to back me up, I do think it’s a mistake to completely transform your platform because of some hot new thing. Instagram has somewhere on the order of 1 billion monthly active users. That’s ginormous by any standard. They got there by doing what they do best, providing a uniquely Instagram experience built on simplicity. When I think beautiful photos and aesthetics, I think Instagram.
Now, of course, I can’t fault Facebook for wanting to bring Instagram into a new direction. It’s a cutthroat, competitive game where platforms like Vine and Myspace end up as nothing more than cautionary tales. The truth is, you can bottom out quicker than you can tap “Post.” But should you shed your entire identity to chase a trend?
Instagram may no longer want to be known as the square photo sharing app, but they shouldn’t forget their roots and what made them popular. There’s currently no other popular platform filling that space.