Despite Instagram now being 11 years old (an OAP in social media terms), thanks to constant innovation the app has never felt newer than it does today. Keeping up with the latest trends is what Instagram does best, but has it been a success so far?
Instagram has more than a billion users, making it one of the leading social media platforms for western audiences. With all that popularity comes influence and vast amounts of money - which means keeping up with the latest rival app changes, memes, slang and fashion trends are all crucial to retaining high numbers of active users.
We’ve all heard about TikTok and the impact that platform has had on small businesses over the last year or two (take Little Moons, for example) ... but did Instagram get a little bit jealous? TikTok is a purely video-based app, allowing people to share videos and interact with them, while Instagram was originally quite the opposite. During lockdown TikTok saw a huge increase in users, rapidly nearly exceeding Instagram’s numbers.
Instagram’s bosses saw the hype around short-format video and jumped on it themselves by creating what they call ‘Reels’.
Reels are essentially the same concept as TikTok, but are just created with different sounds and filters. Instagram haven't actually acknowledged TikTok’s success, however they do look very similar!
Reels are created in the app and have specific sounds that creators can add to their videos. They can be found in a separate tab to the normal Instagram feed and are more likely, at the moment, to be pushed out to new users. Instagram’s algorithm works a lot like a slot machine, so it prioritises current, trending content.
In a recent press leak we noticed that Instagram were proposing a new feature called ‘Rooms’, which would allow four people to ‘go live’ together in video. Currently only two people can go live, so this adaptation would allow more people to communicate, which of course would have its advantages with the current lockdown climate.
This new development follows a similar strategy to the new app on the block, Clubhouse. Clubhouse is primarily an audio app, allowing people from all over the world to create ‘rooms’ in which allow a number of ‘speakers’ to chat about topics and network safely.
Read more about the rise of Clubhouse here.
Recently Instagram also introduced more professional dashboards for creatives online, likely due to the rise of Instagram influencers and brand collabs. The dashboard can be accessed from the top of the account profile pages - sections include ‘Track Your Performance’, ‘Grow Your Business’ and plenty more. This new tool provides a mix of analytics, tools and insights.
We have also seen that Instagram developers are testing new story features, for instance instead of stories appearing horizontally at the top of the feed, they are placed vertically. If implemented, instead of swiping left, users would swipe up to view the next story. This would mimic the Instagram Reels viewing experience.
Our predictions for 2021:
- Adding a duet feature on reels to match TikTok
- Brands and Influencers collaborating on Reels, making sponsored content
- Video extension to 60 seconds
- Shopping on Live videos for when brands have flash sales