the end of instagram as we know it
if instagram wasn’t bad enough with ads after everyone’s story posts, the organic reach dying, or that it was starting to feel like facebook, instagram has now fully become a copy-cat platform desperate to go head-to-head with tiktok.
they must be begging (and probably paying people undercover) to try to get it banned in the U.S.
it all started with copying stories from snapchat and reels from tiktok, but now they’re copying even more and are starting to look like a full-on clone, which means they’ll always be one step behind in social innovation.
not listening to user feedback
Adam Mosseri, head of instagram, defended the app against user backlash, after the they launched a bunch of changes that make it look and feel exactly like tiktok.
these changes include an algorithmic feed with the new “recommendations” feature, which puts content from people users do not follow on to their feed. they’re also pushing for reels, as well as heavy promotion of the tiktok-style “remix” feature, which resulted in people struggling to find content from friends and family, which was the main feature.
“we’re hearing a lot of concerns from all of you,” Adam Mosseri said in a video posted to Twitter. “i’m hearing a lot of concerns about photos, and how we’re shifting to video. we’re going to continue to support photos, but I need to be honest: more and more of instagram is going to become video over time. we’re going to have to lean in to that shift while continuing to support photos.”
“the idea is to help you discover new and interesting things on instagram that you might not even know exist.”
a user on reddit u/dkabab listed out and compared his feeds on facebook and instagram. notice how different instagram is compared to the platform that used to be a photo sharing app from friends and content creators.
what captures people’s attention is changing and there’s no going back
the type of content that captures our attention has gradually been transitioning from photos to videos over the years as the popularity of platforms like youtube, snapchat, and tiktok have grown.
but creating highly-edited videos or being a natural entertainer (both skills that great short-form video creators have) has a steeper learning curve than creating visually appealing photos or quick day in the life videos ever did.
not only has the platform itself changed, but the way young people post on instagram has shifted since 2020. there used to be perfect grids full of photos with subtle VSCO filters that made instagram an obvious highlight reel of your life. now it’s become a place to dump random photo carousels from different points in life with no editing or context at all.
this post from @illumitati currently has 2.1m likes and was reposted by both Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian. if you think that doesn’t mean anything, in 2018, a single tweet from Kylie asking “does anyone else not open snapchat any more” wiped $1.3bn off their market cap after their redesign received a lot of negative feedback and convinced the company to change it back a few weeks later.
a 2021 survey from financial services firm piper sandler found that only 22 percent of teenagers said Instagram was their favorite social media platform, coming in third after snapchat and tiktok.
the original, hype of the moment content isn’t on instagram anymore. no more breaking news, no more “look what I came across on instagram” or “you NEED to follow this person on instagram.” instagram has become a repurposed platform where creators on youtube would repost their long-form videos into clips and their tiktoks as reels.
instagram is a pay to play platform, tiktok and youtube are create to get paid platforms
one of the most successful decisions that youtube ever made, was to create an ad share revenue program, where creators would earn money even when their videos don’t have sponsors. and tiktok has also introduced a $200m creator fund.
this incentivizes creators to work harder on creating more and better content to generate greater income for themselves.
tiktok’s creator fund may not be paying as much as youtube, but their reach helps make up for that fact. but for instagram, if the organic reach is dying as well as payments not being enough, where’s the incentive to create original content for the platform?
social platforms are trying to be like TV
instagram is turning going back to the old-school TV days, where you just channel surfed aimlessly and hoped to find something you wanted to see to escape from reality for a moment.
which results in a feed of content creators all trying to hold your attention long enough to stop swiping for two seconds and doing whatever they need to get it. whether that’s through dangerous stunts, aesthetic visuals, or copying trends.
there’s no longer an infinite scroll. with post-by-post scrolling, you are forced to engage with each image or video completely, if only for one second, before moving on.
how this affects creators
so what to do if your brand uses instagram as their main distribution channel?
if you’re well established and getting customers, continue posting on there, but innovate and switch up your strategy, especially if you were mainly posting photos. every time a social app pushes out a new feature, it will reward the early users who leverage it with increased reach.
for example, if you’re a photographer posting beautifully edited pictures, you may want to film the behind the scenes to show more before and afters (social media loves those). or if you’re an ecommerce brand posting product photos, you may need to show them in action and how real people use them with videos slapped on with trending concepts and sounds.
where instagram still shines
instagram is trying to become a more well-rounded platform. if you’re an ecommerce brand, the shop feature is great for your brand.
it even has it’s own icon on the bottom menu and it will be the one feature advantage it will have over tiktok, for now.
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