Instagram already ‘borrowed’ from TikTok to create ‘Reels’ —now it’s being positioned front and center for users.
Reels and Shop tabs are the big winners in the Instagram redesign, with both living on the home screen. The Reels tab features the hottest short-form videos on the platform, functioning much like TikTok’s ‘Discover’ tab. The Shop tab features a list of personalized recommendations based on editors’ picks and curated collections. It’s Facebook’s attempt to make Instagram a more commercial platform to rival TikTok’s growth.
The Instagram redesign will see the Likes and the Create tab move elsewhere from the bottom bar.
“We don’t take these changes lightly – we haven’t updated Instagram’s home screen in a big way for quite a while,” Instagram boss Adam Mosseri writes. “But how people create and enjoy culture has changed, and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too fast, but that we don’t change and become irrelevant. We’re excited about the new design and believe it gives the app a much-needed refresh while staying true to our core value of simplicity.”
Instagram’s Reels feature is a wholesale copy of TikTok, bringing short-form video as its focus. The feature was just launched in the United States barely six months ago. Facebook launched a testbed of Reels in Brazil before expanding the service to the US after the pandemic. IGTV, longer-form videos meant to rival YouTube, continues to languish under the success of Reels.
Instagram has also developed its core shopping product to make selling easier over the platform. This should play to the benefit of artists, bands, and other musicians who are making a living online now. Selling merch, albums, CDs, and limited edition vinyl is just one way music shopping is evolving online.
Instagram has been signaling this new redesign for months.
Last month, Instagram redesigned the home bar to relocate the search function. The backlash to the change was nearly immediate, with many people launching tirades against the new look. You can bet they’ll be doing the same with this latest Instagram redesign. A cursory glance online shows that several people are unsatisfied with the changes – even though it’s not available to everyone yet.
“It seems like Instagram is on a solid trajectory to a worse experience for those who want just to view and post images,” one social media comment reads.
Instagram was initially founded as a social network to share pictures. But it has been evolving into much more. Will the changes alienate its current user base? Guess we’ll see.