‘Stop trying to be TikTok’ – Instagram fans are over it
Meta is desperately trying to keep up with the wildly popular TikTok, which is beloved both by users and content creators. If you’ve been following our monthly social media platform updates, you’ve noticed the trend that most of Meta’s updates for Facebook and Instagram come to mimic a new feature from TikTok.
The knee-jerk reactions have given whiplash to users, creators, and marketers. The latest rollback conversion to a reels-only style of video layout shows their haphazard approach.
What Was the Reels Rollback?
On July 21st, Meta announced that all videos shorter than 15-minutes would be automatically uploaded as reels to Instagram, regardless if the user does not want it. While short-form videos are quickly becoming the most popular and engaged form of content, 15 minutes is not exactly a “short-form”. Instagram has tried encouraging more people to create reels by introducing templates and recommending sounds. This was a desperate attempt to get more users to utilize reels.
Reels was Instagram’s answer to TikTok the formula was copied and they created their own effects like TikTok. They also introduced “remixing” (akin to Tiktok’s “stitching”) and the ability to create video replies to comments and are planning on changing users’ feeds from 15% AI recommendations to 30% by the end of 2023 (akin to TikTok’s FYP feed).
So Why the RollBack?
Instagram is desperate to keep up with TikTok, especially as Meta’s revenue continues to decline, so why roll it back? One word… Kardashians.
Within less than a day, Meta rolled back its “reels only” when Kylie Jenner, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian started the “Make Instagram Instagram Again” movement.
The sisters also shared Tati Bruening’s petition on Charge.org to “Make Instagram Instagram Again”, and at the time of writing this, it has over 301K signatures.
Meta claims they are pausing the reels only to test based on “findings” and will decrease the number of recommendations in users’ feeds to adapt to the changes and get it right.
Does Meta Care About Getting it Right?
One of our main focuses at B3 Media Solutions is social listening, which is tapping into the conversation around a topic, brand, or industry to get insights into how people feel. And, frankly, it feels like Meta hasn’t been listening.
Users and creators alike have been unhappy with Instagram’s over reliance on video for some time now. Instagram is pushing Reels to the detriment of organic engagement for photo posts. This is especially difficult for people who are not video savvy or who run photo-based businesses, like photographers and meme accounts. The unpredictable algorithm changes also make it harder for businesses to devise sustainable marketing strategies. And while we understand it’s not Meta’s job to care about the marketing strategies of everyone’s business, he
Creators, until recently, with the Reels Play Bonus were unable to generate revenue directly from the app as they can with TikTok or YouTube. They instead must rely on brand deals, which will become harder to achieve if their followers see more AI-generated content. Creators will have less proof of influence when negotiating with brands if their followers are unable to engage with their content.
While Mark Zuckerberg has been focusing on the Metaverse, Instagram seems to have no clear course, making knee-jerk reactions in response to TikTok growth. It is highly unlikely that Instagram will return to focusing on photos from your friends. However, if Instagram continues to discourage its users and creators from the use of photos by way of lowered engagement while blaming “the algorithm”, people may begin to jump ship. BeReal is looking real good these days!
What we’re reading:
- Why Everyone Is Mad at Instagram (WSJ)
- Meme Pages and Kylie Jenner Are Fed up With Instagram (Business Insider)
- Instagram Marketing: The Definitive Guide (2022 Update) (Later)
- Social Listening Versus Search Listening
- Why Every Brand Needs Community Management
- 5 Tips to Develop a Social Listening Strategy