What are we expecting from Instagram in 2022?
It’s easy to see that Instagram copied nearly everything TikTok had to offer in 2021. And according to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, we can expect even more of the same in 2022, as the platform focuses on its key areas of growth — specifically, consolidating its video formats to maximise engagement.
In an Instagram video post summarising the previous year, Mosseri also mentions that Instagram will be focusing on two key themes in 2022 — ‘Video and Control.’
In terms of video, Mosseri says that , unsurprisingly, Reels will continue to be the main focus: “We’re going to increase our emphasis on video and consolidate all of our video formats around Reels.”
The rise of TikTok has increased the pressure on Instagram, which was once the leading platform for young people to connect, and since then, IG has been scrambling to catch up, in any way it can, which has resulted in mixed results in terms of perception and usage.
However, in terms of overall usage, those efforts were successful. Back in June, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that Reels had become the largest contributor to Instagram engagement growth, and with the broader consumer shift towards short-form video, it makes sense for Instagram to follow suit and align with what people want to see.
So, how will that work in practice?
We’re already seeing it, with Reels clips now integrated into your main Instagram feed. Instagram also merged its video formats back in October and has since been automatically defaulting shorter videos into Reels clips as it seeks to expand Reels reach and exposure.
Analysts strongly suspect that eventually, Instagram will open to a full-screen Reels/Stories feed, moving away from the traditional home stream of static posts, putting a lot more emphasis on the format and making it the primary connection option, bringing it more in line with TikTok.
Is this a positive development? Will it aid Instagram in slowing TikTok’s growth?
A lot depends on your point of view, but for Instagram and its parent company, Meta, the numbers will speak for themselves. Even if you think their replication efforts are not particularly well-executed, you can’t argue with the engagement data this is driving these decisions.
Mosseri also reveals that Instagram will look to make messaging a bigger focus in the app, which is now “the primary way that people connect online,” as well as add more monetisation tools for creators.
The final point of emphasis is transparency and providing more information about ‘how Instagram works.’ We’re talking algorithms here.
That will most likely come in the form of Instagram’s upcoming chronological feed toggle, which will allow users to easily switch to a reverse chronological post feed. This won’t be a permanent state for the feed though, you’ll have to manually switch to the chronological feed every time you open the app.
Whether skipping down the same yellow brick road as TikTok will bring Instagram the engagement it’s looking for or not is yet to be seen, but let’s not forget that Insta is far from failing. After all, it has more than 2 billion users these days. And it’s eCommerce tools have been a raging success over the last 2 years. Not just for sellers, but for consumers too.
Instagram wants to stay relevant. But it also wants to remain strong. Copying TikTok might not be what keeps it connected to those coveted younger demographics. There are still a few tricks up its sleeve. Buying celebrities and enticing big influencers away from TikTok is certainly something Instagram can afford. And let’s not forget that Oculus VR goggles were a hot gift this past Christmas. The Ray-Ban Stories glasses have sold well too. So there is definitely going to be a VR or AR play for the Meta-owned app. And that direction is one that we haven’t seen any moves into by TikTok.
For now, expect more TikTok features on Instagram. And Facebook. And Twitter. And Pinterest. And… everywhere.
Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Meta Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Meta Australia, a digital advisor with Business Station, an accredited Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, an Entrepreneur Facilitator, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.