TikTok's signature user interface feature is full screen vertical video. Instagram is currently testing a feature that offers a similar immersive experience and puts video front and center. The subtext is, that Instagram continues its quest to grab our attention away TikTok. Meta, the parent company of Instagram, stated last week in its earnings call that Reels (its TikTok clone) now accounts for more than 20%. Videos of all types make up half of the time Facebook users spend on the site.
Instagram shared an image showing a home feed that is filled with a full-screen photo. The picture shows comments, captions and likes placed above the post. You can still access the discovery tab and shopping, as well as your own page, in the full-screen test feed. The top navigation bar to change accounts, create posts, check your notifications, browse your messages, and switch accounts is also there. Although the test image doesn't show Stories, an Instagram representative confirmed that Stories are still at the top. The screenshot was taken after scrolling down to the bottom of the feed.
Stories is currently more profitable than Reels for Instagram, as there is simply more screen real estate available to sell Stories ads. Although the company intends to expand monetization options for Reels, it stated in its earnings call that Reels will be monetized over several years. Mark Zuckerberg, stated during the call that while Stories doesn't monetize as well in short-form video products as Stories, the company is hopeful about this changing. Zuckerberg pointed to the company's Stories experience, which initially wasn't monetizing well as the main Instagram feed, but has improved over time. Meta anticipates a similar experience with Reels monetizing over time but points out that it will be a multiyear process and that the company still has a lot of work to do in Reels.
Zuckerberg explained that Facebook has experienced many changes in media types since its founding 18 years ago. Short-form video is just the latest iteration, and is growing rapidly. While Meta is experiencing an increase in short form video, it is also witnessing a shift in the advancement in AI recommendations driving more feeds for posts and reels. He explained that feeds are no longer being curated solely by users' social networks, but being recommended by AI.
It's not surprising that Instagram chose to test feeds that focus on immersive video. Instagram has promoted short-form video heavily to users and creators, and offered cash bonuses to top Reels creators. Getting content is cricial for Instagram: their goal is to stop users from reposting TikToks on the platform. To that end, the platform has invested in creator tools to steal original content from its competitors. In late April, Instagram started testing Templates. This allows creators to reuse existing Reels formats in their own videos.
TikTok's approach to content presentation continues to take over the social media world. Get in touch with us and learn how you can use this approach for your own apps.
Photo by Ron Lach
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