The 'Reels' Dilemma: Is Instagram Becoming Too TikTok?
Instagram has more to work on if they genuinely want to stand out. It's no question how riveting Instagram's future is–with the power to please one and all–but only if the developers listen closely to what users want the most out of the platform.
In recent weeks, Instagram hit a wall with its progress, setting alight scores of unhappy users complaining that it's trying too hard to be like TikTok. In its latest announcement, Instagram expanded the ways users could collaborate with others on Reels, the TikTok-esque feature that allows users to post bite-sized video clips.Its 'Remix' feature supposedly will enable creators to select any video content on the app. Wow, very original you think?
Although you might ask, why has this blown out of proportion?
Social and web mentions were collected from 20 Jul to 2 Aug around Instagram Reels.
While Instagram had eased in the video format over the years, their announcement on accentuating Reels struck user sentiment the wrong way. Since the announcement, mentions on Instagram regarding Reels spiked by almost 300%, peaking at 6,097 mentions on 22 July.
For the "average" user, Instagram's allure has always been dedicated to photos, allowing users to easily access and view media on the things they love the most. Reels felt like a stab in the "heart" to longtime users, where people claimed that if they had wanted to "watch videos in that manner, they would have used TikTok." In contrast, others were worried that photos would go away on the platform.
Is it me or does @Instagram really hate photo posts these days? Unless you post a reel hardly anyone seems to see my posts, the difference between one and the other is huge! When I browse my it's just reels and reels and reels….— Philip Bloom (@PhilipBloom) July 27, 2022
I liked posting photos. Stupid Instagram.
is there a way to request less reels on Instagram feed er nah 🥲— Nikki Blackketter (@itsnikkib) July 22, 2022
I miss seeing photo dumps n stuff
The rush of every app to be the tiktok is alternatively going to kill what made those apps special. Instagram used to be THE place for photographers and artists, but now it is EXHAUSTING. The algorithm gives preference only to reels. Which means you as an artist or photographer-— Karla Ortiz (@kortizart) July 26, 2022
For social media companies like Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok, monetizing their platform is not unfamiliar to most users. However, the consensus on Instagram Reels seems to be mainly on how the platform's direction aims at benefiting advertisers rather than the users themselves.
Instagram is one major product feature away from being pretty irrelevant— GREG ISENBERG (@gregisenberg) July 26, 2022
IG has evolved into an app to please advertisers (video-based) and creators (not friends)
People want friends photos, not TikTok reels
the reason people are posting videos more is because we learn the instagram algorithm will favor reels over photo posts. people post carousels with selfies first to post fliers because that's the only way to actually get any reach— moistbreezy (@moistbreezy) July 26, 2022
It's clear that a lot of everyday Instagram users—and the Kardashians—aren't pleased with the platform trying to copy TikTok.— Ad Age (@adage) July 28, 2022
But advertisers are much more eager for the video elements Instagram has been leaning into that give it a more TikTok-feel. https://t.co/4SxMVyydro
With video typically bringing about higher engagement, advertisers are keener to promote shorter videos that can dynamically reach a larger audience. Moreover, TikTok's supercharged algorithm doles out content based on user preference. In that same vein, users would be more prone to post videos than photos if it means the platform favors the former for engagement. With Instagram's 'Discovery' feature, the potential that video allows users and brands to reach even greater visibility becomes amplified.
instagram tryna be everything at once 😭 copied snapchat with the stories, youtube with igtv, then tiktok with reels, like DAMN I just wanna see my friends posts— s.aiorse (@kai_virgil) July 26, 2022
Make a Following-Chronological feed.— Darren J. Kinnaird (@DarrenJKinnaird) July 26, 2022
I want to enjoy and look at the art of the everyday from people I know. I don't want "content creators'" videos on my Instagram timeline/feed, leave those in the Search tab. Instagram was so pure, and then y'all pivoted to video.
On the other hand, the emphasis on Reels might not entirely be why Instagram is upsetting users. The fault may be a simple gap of trying too hard to copy everyone else. Users find the core use of viewing posts by friends and family more than satisfactory.
To Embrace Heritage or Become Stagnant Dilemma: Reeling Too Quick for their Own Good
Instagram has been a powerhouse for a large part of the 2010s, revolutionizing social media use in fewer than a sentence's worth of characters. Now that TikTok is on its horizon, it's finding photos, a heritage format to the platform, a little too stiffening for its liking. As a neutral party in this entire affair, I can commiserate how old habits die hard. In this case, it may seem like we've been too used to relying on Instagram as a heavyweight social media that does "all." It strives to be the destination for all social media.
That said, Instagram has to stay relevant to new trends to survive, even if it means accepting new media forms. And for good reason, Instagram is slowly withering away in popularity. A consumer insights study in 2022 found that Instagram was the third favorite platform among teenagers, coming after TikTok and Snapchat.
Give credit where it's due; TikTok is the new kid on the block that everyone wants to be.
Instagram has more to work on if they genuinely want to stand out. It's no question how riveting Instagram's future is–with the power to please one and all–but only if the developers listen closely to what users want the most out of the platform. If it is photos that users desire, possibly cater to them by adding advanced personalization features. Look, ma, I can be the next Mark Zuckerberg!
Bingo! The algorithm has changed so drastically that viewership has tanked, forcing them to conform to your new focus: VIDEO. Their original content was much more engaging. Now they're all in a sea of repetition. IG is NOT TIKTOK. And we don't want it to be.— little miss anxiety angry (@jazzibemoody) July 26, 2022
Instagram should just release a separate app called Reels and make Instagram into a photo sharing app again. Sick and tired of this TikTok clone.— Arshad Wahid (@vettichennaiguy) July 25, 2022
Your algorithm is busted, and you're bad at your jobs. Photo posts I come to Instagram to see—it's why Instagram exists, remember? pictures???—aren't getting shown as frequently as some spam account's stolen reels. Let me set "following" as my permanent home feed.— Stef Schrader (@stefthepef) July 26, 2022
Last we read, Instagram has now reeled back (get it?) from the feature uproar and would instead experiment with Reels with more consideration to user demand.
Digimind Social Comes Equipped with Instagram Reels Monitoring
Through social media listening, brands can easily capture and monitor how quickly changes happen online. Social media companies, including Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, are also susceptible to dipping user counts that directly impact their monetization stream. Without a tool that provides 24/7 monitoring of what consumers think about your brand, product, and services, there's an off chance that you could miss a pivotal opportunity to avert a crisis or respond to challenges.
Instagram Reels is a newly-added coverage to Digimind Social to supplement the many types of sources in social media and web monitoring. Whether it is for brand reputation, competitive analysis, or trend tracking and innovation, speak to an expert to learn how Digimind can support your marketing strategies.
Written by Jared Silitonga
Jared is a member of the APAC marketing team at Digimind. Besides hashing insights into content, he loves a good ol' sit-down of board gaming and film rhetoric. Catch him diving in other shenanigans on Instagram @jarrds