Instagram’s newest update has seen the launch of ‘reels’; 15 second edited videos overlaid with music that appear directly in stories, feed or on the new ‘reels’ section in the Instagram explore tab.
Sounds just like TikTok we hear you say? Well, you’re right. Even if you aren’t a serial TikTok scroller, you’ll know yourself that this new feature is a near clone of the app, which in recent months, has seen extremely high levels of success…
TikTok currently has around 800 million active users. It took Instagram six years from its launch to gain the same amount of monthly active users that TikTok achieved in half that time. With Instagram feeling that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), the launch of Reels is an obvious attempt to shift these users across the platforms to Instagram.
However, this isn’t the first time Instagram has tried to blatantly copy its competitors, as many of the apps other features seem a little familiar too. But which of them were recreated successfully, and which bits of FOMO became a flop?
You’d think that reels were enough for Instagram to take from TikTok, but it seems the app developers weren’t done there as they’ve also recently announced the launch of suggested posts. Usually, when a user has reached the end of their feeds and seen every post over the past few days from people they follow, Instagram shows them a message to let them know of this. Now, Instagram will show you content from accounts and industries that they think you’ll want to consume, similarly to TikTok’s ‘For You’ page. Instagram users follow pages they want to follow, in order to see content they want to see. Only time will tell if this will be a success…
Instagram’s launch of stories might be their most successful copied feature to date. Although first met with uncertainty by users when launched in 2016, stories have gone on to become the most-used part of the app. Many saw the addition of stories as a controversial one: Snapchat was the only social platform to have this feature and back then, the app was in the height of its prime. Fast forward four years and it seems Instagram’s cloning paid off as Snapchats users continue to decline, and Instagram users continue to soar.
It’s strange to think that we once couldn’t message our bestie on Instagram or send them somebody else’s post to look at, but before 2013, this was the reality. Instagram Direct launched with the aim to enhance the sharing of photos with users able to share them with one another privately whereas previously, communication was only available on comments of pictures. Many couldn’t see how this tool was a necessity, but looking back, it’s clear to see it became a vital tool to our photo-sharing experience.
Other Copycat Features…
In recent years we’ve also seen the launch of IGTV, a feature where the app tried to take some of Youtube’s viewers by allowing for videos longer than a minute to be shared on a separate section of the app. This feature is actually predominantly used by Youtubers themselves in order to share their content across the different platforms.
Although already owned by Facebook, Instagram took the ‘friends’ segment of the app by developing a close friend’s list for users to share their stories with. You can read more about that here, or check out some other of the app’s copycat updates here.
It’s clear to see that whilst Instagram has obvious FOMO and is always second in the race, this is very much a tortoise and the hare type scenario where it always comes out on top. Instagram users quickly adapt to updates they didn’t know they needed.
If you’re looking for a little more insight into how you can make the most of Instagram and it’s features then be sure to get in touch with our social media team.