To celebrate Pixel Media Design come-back into blogging, I wanted to start on a high and have a good moan.
The new Instagram changes not only have created complications for social media managers like myself but the original Instagram users. Instagram has always been a photo sharing app.
It was the original social media platform to share the snap you've just taken. However, it seems like Instagram is going through that ‘phase’... trying to copy everyone else, doesn’t know how to be original and wants to fit into the crowd. I know we all had that phase.
Changes to Instagram
Alex Mosseri, the head of Instagram, posted a video on his personal Instagram account, detailing the changes that will be made to Instagram over the next few months. He is wanting to shift Instagrams focus, saying “We’re no longer just a square photo-sharing app” with heavier weighting falling into videos in the forthcoming update.
The rise of video sharing apps such as TikTok and Youtube has created competition within the social media landscape, forcing apps such as Instagram to expand the content they can offer. I don’t know about you, but I have had Instagram for many years before reels and highlights were a thing.
I had Instagram when the app logo was a knock-off Polaroid camera with a rainbow stripe! Any picture I had would get uploaded onto there. A sunset, a nice meal, a selfie, a picture of a random cat… straight on Instagram it went.
It was pictures, that was Instagram’s niche. For years, it had its secure place in the market, acting as a photo dump for your best moments. You could anchor your moment with a caption, giving a still snapshot of this time or event.
You could scroll back through your year of memories and know that you’ve got years worth of photos to still come. It's not a new thing, apps copying each other, Facebook and Instagram have added “stories” and “reels”, Youtube now has TikTok style, short videos on the main feed.
Now, due to increasing competition from video based apps, Instagram is copying its competitors. Mosseri said in his video. “So people are looking to Instagram to be entertained, there’s stiff competition and there’s more to do and we have to embrace that.” As a consumer, I want my media to be separated. If I want entertainment, I will go to Youtube or TikTok.
However, I equally want to mindlessly scroll through pictures of my friends drinking cocktails and memes. Many enjoy consuming content, however, we can agree we want to separate the media we indulge in. Platforms should have the duty of sticking to their niche and not mixing, don’t try and do everything. It just won't work.
Focus on "Influencers"
It is now evolving to become a platform for influencers to establish themselves by sharing video content. Photos will no longer be Instagrams purpose. Mosseri has said they are going to experiment with “recommendations” in our feeds, showing the user a recommended post or topic.
It is not known yet if these will be placed before posts from followers, however, the shift in focus to celebrate “influencers'' implies we will be bombarded with sponsorships.
Users will have less control over what they see in their feed so you may need to be scrolling for a while before you come across a picture of your friend’s dog. The focus on “influencers” means sponsored pictures from accounts you do not follow will come in larger quantities in your main feed.
New E-commerce platform?
If that was not enough, implications for Mosseri’s video could mean Instagram will slip into E-commerce. Another focus for the new Instagram will be “shopping”. It took me a long while to become accustomed to Instagram's new layout, the old “Activity” slot in the navigation bar has been replaced with “Shop”.
As I am writing this, my “shop” bar is filled with small business and high-street brands advertising their products, products I know I’ve definitely searched for before. Many of these products are catered to my interests such as brands I am a repeat customer of, products I have previously searched for, small businesses that sell products that I would be interested in.
Instagram is acting as the middleman, allowing these businesses to have more touchpoints with their potential customers. Customer journeys may be increasing due to many social media platforms capitalising off paid sponsorships. This may largely benefit businesses as they have larger exposure on a platform, which is known for its younger audience, increasing the scope of clients.
Which is great for customers, but this is a social media platform. Key is in the word ‘social’. It's for sharing moments for your friends and family to see. It's for leaving a nice comment. It's for liking someone's post.
These new changes to Instagram are taking away the smaller voices who use Instagram for expressing their creativity and hobbies. It's now directed at the masses for the elite using the purchasing power of business to sell their new products on a fancy full-screen video.
Pictures have always been the way we share our hobbies and interests. Instagram was the ideal platform we wanted, to share our best moments. It's becoming the platform we do not want.
Adapting to Instagram
As marketing specialists here at Pixel Media, we understand if you do not pay for the product, you are the product. Instagram may be the new marketing platform, learning off its parent-company Facebook on how to attract you, capture you and persuade you to buy the product that is getting advertised to you.
Although it may be difficult for me personally to wave goodbye to the old Instagram we all know and loved, it is re-shaping the social media marketing landscape. Customer journeys may be getting extended with another available platform to advertise on, shaping the way we purchase products online.
So, my smaller consumer voice becomes even smaller but my social media marketing management voice is screaming with a new opportunity.