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Instagram's plans for a full-screen video feed like TikTok have been scrapped. What brands can learn

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

Instagram's Plans Ruined For TikTok Like Videos

The full-screen video feed option proposed for Instagram has been removed from consideration after almost immediately being made available to users.

Instagram announced plans earlier this summer to begin testing a new full-screen mode for its feed and an overhauled navigation bar to make the content on the platform more immersive than its distinctive scrollable photo feed.

New Data: Instagram Engagement Report [2022 Version]

Because the attractiveness of TikTok lay in its fullscreen randomized video stream, intuitive algorithm, and easy-to-manage UX, this move was aligned with the company's stated goal of making its competition with TikTok the main priority

Plans for Instagram to implement a full-screen video feed similar to TikTok are shown here.

To compete with its opponent through imitation, Instagram had to increase the number of reels and suggested content that appeared in its users' feeds and placed a greater priority on the publication of video content than still images.

"Everyone's eyes are drawn to TikTok and the way it works right now," said Michael Sayman, a former software engineer with experience working on Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Sayman was speaking about how TikTok has won over younger age demographics.

Instagram was well aware that its primary target audience was Millennials; around 31% of its global audience comprised users between the ages of 25 and 34.

TikTok, on the other hand, has garnered a significant following of Generation X and Generation Z users; 25% of its user base is comprised of users aged 10 to 19 years, while 22% of its user base is comprised of people aged 20 to 29. Instagram desired to capitalize on the success enjoyed by younger audiences as TikTok had meteoric growth in 2021, generating $4.6 billion in revenue, an increase of 142% from the previous year's total.

Why did Instagram change its mind about these plans?

Any social media marketer worth their salt will tell you that a successful brand needs to be flexible and reflect changes in user behavior. However, meeting this ongoing demand for innovation can either result in enormous success or a public relations disaster. Instagram went through the latter situation.

The announcement caused users of competing platforms to express their ire through posts and infographics that went viral on Instagram. This outcry of dismay spread to other networks.

The petition on titled "MAKE INSTAGRAM INSTAGRAM AGAIN" has become one of the most popular ways for users to express their desire for Instagram to abandon its intentions. This was even supported by well-known figures on the network, such as Kylie Jenner, who has garnered more than 300 million followers.

As someone who works in marketing themselves, all I can do is envision the chaos that must have ensued after the announcement for Instagram's marketing staff, but I can understand why things turned out the way they did. It's possible that several other things combined to cause this outburst of emotion in response to the company's announcement

Why Instagram Users Don't Want to See Their Photos in Full Screen

Users of social media platforms typically do not object to content that is displayed in full-screen mode. TikTok wouldn't have over one billion monthly active users if that were the fact because it wouldn't have been used as much.

People despise the full-screen UX change because it takes away what they value most about the app. The app's originality, as well as the nostalgia that its user base loves, is something they don't want to fade away. This is the main reason why people dislike the change.

The current feed on Instagram attracts users in a manner that is distinct from those of its competitors since it is:

More personal and lasting than the temporary or brief messages seen on Twitter.

A "cooler" social environment than Facebook, where users can connect with their friends, family, and creators.

Compared to Snapchat, it has a wider variety of active users and content that is preserved for longer.

Doesn't Have an Exclusive Clubhouse Atmosphere

The further it strays from its initial aim and vision, particularly with prior versions such as shopping features and reels, the fewer users will receive value from the platform that they know and love, and the less emotional relationship they will have to the site.

What Lessons Can Be Learned by Brands

The fact that Instagram made a mistake, realized it, and reverted its planned modifications to the feed is an educational opportunity for brands and marketers who want to prevent this kind of outrage.

1. Get feedback from users before making significant changes to the UI.

Your users are your most valuable asset as a social media platform. Why would you choose to remove the people who are responsible for driving your relevance, producing content that attracts additional sign-ups, and making your platform interesting to visit when they are the ones who do all of these things?

Your audience is familiar with your platform and utilizes it regularly; therefore, as you prepare modifications to the user experience for a soft launch, you should inform them. Notify your audience of what is to come and give them the option to weigh in. This practice is known as social listening, and it can potentially improve your firm's longevity if you can keep its content.

2. Have a firm grasp of the expectations of your target audience.

My experience over the past few years on social media platforms like Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram has shown me that one of the most common complaints users have is that the newest updates to the user experience and user interface (UX/UI) almost never include the features that users are specifically requesting.

Based on my own experiences online, I've noticed that the most prevalent complaint voiced by users of social media platforms is their disinterest in modifications that any has not specifically requested of the users.

For several years, the two requests that have received the most attention from users have been for Instagram to:

Timelines in chronological order should take precedence over suggested feeds.

Put photographs back on top of the algorithm's priority list.

Understanding the wants and needs of the people who use your product or service is vital for continuing growth and improvement. This is true even though not every request can be accommodated or is necessarily included in the vision of the future of the business.

3. Figure out where you can innovate rather than where you can compete.

For brands to achieve market dominance, they need to learn how to do more than just mimic, which can be accomplished by shifting their attention back to innovation.

It can be difficult to re-center strategy on more in-depth market research and explore ideas that haven't already been done, especially when the data isn't already there to back up the success of the previous strategy. However, it is worth attempting if you invest the time and effort to determine what will take the digital world by storm.

4. Acquire an understanding of when and how to pivot.

Management of efficient and well-organized change is an essential component of any business that is expanding or changing.

As marketers, it is our responsibility to ensure that your brand's image shines through any additions, changes, or innovations your business implements. In contrast, if you decide to forego a concept, you will have to race against the clock to refocus your attention on the subsequent most promising option.

Since marketing is an ongoing experiment containing an infinite number of variables, you should prioritize reacting to those variables as they arise.

Where Will Instagram Go From Here?

In July, Instagram's Head of Product Adam Mosseri published a post in which he stated, "Now, I want to be clear: We're going to continue to promote images—part it's of our heritage, you know, I love photos; I know a lot of you out there love photos too." Having said that, I feel the need to be completely forthright and say that I believe a growing portion of Instagram will transition to video over time."

"We observe this even if we do nothing different. Even if we only look at the chronological feed, this is still visible to us, "he added. "When you look at what people share on Instagram, you'll notice that the emphasis is shifting from photos to videos over time. If you look at what people like, consume, and view on Instagram, you'll notice that it's migrating more and more toward video over time, and this will continue to be the case even if we don't do anything. Therefore, we will have to embrace this transformation while maintaining our support for photographs.

Based on this statement, it is reasonable to assume that Instagram will not be resistant to change in the future. As one of the most popular social media platforms, not only does it stand to lose a lot if it starts to feel old or stale over time, but it also stands to lose a lot if it can't manage to preserve its allure.

And considering how quickly the firm implemented and then scrapped plans for a video stream similar to that of TikTok, it would appear that they are already developing new challenge-like features to compete with even more recent competitors such as BeReal.

I hope that Instagram's crew pays attention to the feedback it receives from its users and maintains a happy medium between actively listening to feedback and coming up with new ideas.

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