Yes, that’s exactly what you read! Meta confirmed to Gizmodo that they are testing out a version where all video content is posted as a reel. This, among other implications, means eliminating the possibility of sharing a video only with your followers.
Instagram explains that the change is part of its efforts to “simplify and improve the video experience on Instagram”.
If this is true, what do users think about this change, and might it impact their audiences? Isn’t this just another way to copy TikTok?
In this article, we tell you the details behind this test and what it implies for marketers and brands.
What is changing?
For some time, most Instagram users could upload a video and then the app would ask them if they wanted to share their content as a post or a reel. In other words, they have the opportunity to choose.
However, with this new version, when a user attempts to make a video post on Instagram, they will get a notification saying “video posts are now shared as reels”.
What does this mean?
First, you won’t be able to share the video with your followers only.
Other people can create a remix with your reel (if you have the correct settings in place)
Anyone can discover your video and use your original audio (which sounds great for original content creators that want to reach a broader audience)
If these changes are implemented, it will be a risky decision indeed. However, let’s start by saying that now users can’t post anything that’s not a still image without being lost in an abyss of reels.
And this is not the only change Instagram is testing out.
Instagram changes over 2022
During the past months, Instagram had been testing new functions in an attempt to compete with the king of the short video format, TikTok.
They want to make videos as simple as possible to discover and create. But, with all these changes, this platform is becoming oddly similar to its competitor. Is this an attempt to replicate the formula that caused the explosive growth of TikTok? It seems so.
Adam Mosseri – Head of Instagram – claimed that what made Instagram so famous, is no longer what they are: a square photo sharing app. The company is now focusing on four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping, and Messaging.
In February this year they shut down IGTV, and during the rest of 2022 they have been testing functions like:
All in less than a year! Pretty crazy, huh?
And though I believe these are all radical decisions that could compromise their brand identity, they have good reasons to worry.
As you can see, this is not easy to beat. But does this mean that Instagram’s offer is not relevant anymore? In my opinion, both platforms may share audiences, but users behave differently. And that’s the essence of social media!
You don’t go to Facebook to share the same content you find on Instagram. Even as users, we follow different accounts depending on the platform. If I want a quick tutorial, I don’t go to YouTube anymore, I put a hashtag on TikTok and voilá!
User behavior data must be the pillar of any strategic decision. And hopefully, Instagram is considering that.
What might be the impact of all these changes?
All these changes in the platform leave many users in doubt.
If Instagram’s objective is to improve the experience of content creators, how will these changes benefit them?
Without a doubt, the adjustments in the video formats for Reels have complications. That’s why companies, brands, and creators will need to prepare to work with vertical video only. Pretty much anything that isn’t a Reel won’t fit on the deck (literally). Also, this will definitely impact the user experience, just like the vertical home feeds they are also testing.
This whole scenario reminds me of a great quote by Bonnie Gillespie:
“When you try to be everything to everyone, you accomplish being nothing to anyone”.
I believe with all these changes, the platform is overlooking something very important: brand essence.
The question remains, is it worth it? We’ll see in the next few months.
Meanwhile, marketers and brands need to be prepared to face the changes and adapt their formats if they want to remain competitive.
Now that Instagram is changing its core to attract a younger audience, you need to be aware if your public will still be there.
If you’re starting to create more video content, remember to not compromise your brand just to fit in with certain formats. Now more than ever, it is important that you keep track of the changes in your audience and rethink your strategy for this platform.
If your audience stops engaging with the platform after all the updates, there’s no point in reinforcing the strategy further. You need to be where your audience is.
And my final advice, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your channels to guarantee a complete experience for your users.