An app has to go through numerous changes and updates to remain on the top-grossing list. Keeping users engaged for hours needs skillful minds and constant technological updates in the name of new features which create interest among the users. Evolution is the mantra, so has Instagram invariably evolved. It started its journey as a square photo-sharing app and now it has several features which include video format.
Recently Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram posted a video on his Instagram and Twitter account describing some upcoming changes and experiments that Instagram will be doing, incorporating new features. These changes will be focused on four key areas- creator, video, shopping, and messaging. In research, it was found that people primarily used Instagram for entertainment purposes. He believes video is a great platform, for that they are paying more attention towards upgrading the app in the entertainment and video sectors. This announcement is not a surprise anymore as Instagram has gone through huge changes in the last few years.
Experiments are going on in the recommendation section. Users will get to see posts, videos, and reels from accounts they don't follow. A similar kind of experiment is conducted in the topic segment i.e. what type of posts a user likes to see more often. Thus users will not have any control over what they see in their feed.
Mosseri emphasized the video part. He said, "Let’s be honest, there is some really serious competition right now. TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger and there are lots of other upstarts as well...there’s stiff competition and there’s more to do and we have to embrace that"
Updated video features are advantageous for content creators. Instagram is already a hot spot for small business owners and social media influencers. Reels are a great option for both content creators and small business owners as it is engaging if done in the right way. Shopping has gone offline to online due to the pandemic. Focusing on these areas may attract new users in this current situation.
Instagram was launched in October 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. It was a simple square photo-sharing app. within three months of launch it hit 1 million users. Initially, it was only for iOS, later the Android version was introduced in 2012. Hashtag (#) that helps us to find similar posts of users choice was introduced in 2011. In March 2016 Instagram changed its process of showing posts in the feed. It was in chronological order but it was found in a survey that 70% of the content was missed out by the users. They started using algorithms to show content in feed stories and explore. The story feature was added in 2016. Several features like easy switching between multiple accounts, direct messages, and different filters made Instagram so popular that it gained 100 million more users from June to December in 2016.
Introduction of video in IG:
The feature of sharing a video as a post was introduced in 2013. It enabled users to post videos of 15 seconds. It included all the same capabilities of editing and using filters as in a photo. It was introduced to give competition to Twitter which launched its short video sharing app, Vine.
In 2015 Instagram launched a new app. They didn't want to overload Instagram with new features but they also didn't want the feed to get boring thus boomerang was born. A video was created with 5 continuous photos taken through the app, then the video is played in a loop of forwarding and reverse order.
Scripting and creating long interesting videos are tough and it is not everyone's piece of cake. But when the duration is short it is hard to be boring. But over time, boomerang lost its craze. Maybe it was because it was so dead-simple and lightweight that it disappeared behind the new features.
When it comes to video platforms, YouTube and Tik-Tok are the top competitors of Instagram. In June 2018 Instagram launched IGTV to compete against YouTube. With IGTV they increase the duration of the video to one hour. It helped creators to create more video-based content and develop their own Instagram channels just like YouTube. Full-screen video duration ranged from 15 minutes to 60 minutes but it didn't turn out to be as promising as expected.
To compete with TikTok, an app that allows users to create short videos and share among friends, Instagram introduced a similar video editing tool which includes an audio library, speed control, countdown timer, camera effects, etc. After Tik-Tok got banned with 58 other Chinese apps in India, Instagram Reels gained popularity among Gen Z and millennials. Previously Tik-Tok allowed 60-second video but recently they increased it to three minutes because it enables the creator to create better scripts for storytelling.
The current experiments can either make the app more engaging or a flop feature. It is yet to know what will be the responses towards these experiments. Will it bring positive change or will it be a failure? For further updates stay tuned with us.
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