What in the World is Happening on Instagram? Here’s What You Need to Know

An Instagram ‘petition’ garnered over 1.5M likes, including from several members of the Kardashians clan, compelling Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri to send out an emergency dispatch from his incredibly hip and stylish home to let us know it’s all going to be OK.

The change folks aren’t happy with? The proliferation of Reels, Instagram’s copycat TikTok feature.

For a lot of creators – and just normal people sharing photos of their dinners and their cats (that’s all I share, anyways) – the platform’s hard and fast pivot to algorithmically delivered vertical video has been a lot to swallow.

Look, we as a society are afraid of change. Or at least allergic to it. And Instagram as a platform has been no stranger to change. Its logos, layouts and algorithms (remember the chronological feed?) have been changed periodically since its introduction into the mainstream over a decade ago.
What in the World is Happening on Instagram? Here's What You Need to Know.

Image via amritpaldesign.com

But Mosseri, Mark Zuckerberg, and the litany of other Facebook names that haunt us social media managers as we navigate the whims of their platforms’ directions, aren’t backing off on their quest to copy TikTok.

The biggest shift of all, is that all videos uploaded to Instagram are Reels. For real!

Here’s what advertisers and brands need to know about how Instagram’s pivot to Reels will impact your strategy on the platform:

Before, the videos you uploaded were pretty much limited to your followers, and any keyword or hashtag searches.

Now, anybody who Instagram deems potentially interested, could see your content. Similar to TikTok’s For You Page, you’re no longer talking to just your audience, you’re talking to the internet at large.

This is exciting for its potential expanded organic reach, something Instagram has been otherwise struggling to provide us. But at the same time, it presents some interesting creative challenges. When you’re talking to an established audience, there’s a certain set of knowledge or familiarity you assume viewers may have. Now, you’re starting with a blank slate of brand awareness every time.

But what about photos? The origin of the app, after all, is pics & filters! Well, Mosseri claims that technically they still have a place on the app. But anyone who’s posted a photo to their timeline in the past few months has seen the dramatic drop off of traction photos get.

The key takeaways for us advertisers, brands and agencies should look at with these changes:

  • Instagram, like it or not, is a video-first platform now.
  • Think vertical. Reels is a vertical format (again, copying TikTok!). Let your video team know that you’ll be needing more 1080×1920 than before.
  • The timeline is getting a lot heavier on ‘suggested posts’ and ads lately. For the followers who actually want to see your stuff, you’ve got to make it stand out and not look like just another ad. It wouldn’t hurt to make your timeline posts be instantly visually recognizable as your brand so folks don’t scroll on by.
posted on
July 27, 2022
written by
Jake Bullington
Social Media Strategist/Manager