Instagram doesn't see itself as a platform where people go to share photos anymore. That's the main takeaway from a series of recent comments made by the head of the company, Adam Mosseri. "We're no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app," Mosseri said in a video he posted to his social media accounts this week. According to Mosseri, the main reason for that is that people come to Instagram "to be entertained," and it's not the only app that offers that in what is a crowded marketplace.
Changes are coming to video on Instagram 📺
At Instagram we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging. pic.twitter.com/ezFp4hfDpf
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) June 30, 2021
"Let's be honest, there's some really serious competition right now," Mosseri said. "TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger and there are a lot of other upstarts as well." To stay competitive, Mosseri said Instagram has to embrace that aspect of itself, "and that means change." One way the app will change is with Instagram handing out more recommendations. Mosseri referenced a test the company kicked off last week that's seen it intersperse "Suggested Posts" in users' feeds. He also said Instagram plans to embrace video more broadly, focusing on full-screen and immersive content.
In short, what Mosseri is describing is Instagram becoming more like TikTok. And that's something we've already seen the company try to do with features like Reels. Of course, it's one thing to adapt to your rivals and another to lose sight of what made your platform compelling to people in the first place. Together with things like a dedicated shopping hub, Reels and Stories have made Instagram feel bloated and less vital than it was before.