Instagram Doubles Down On Reels & Shopping
Instagram has unveiled a significant new redesign focusing on Reels and Shopping.
TikTok competitor Reels has been handed prize real estate within Instagram, while the Shop tab has also elevated. The Activity and Compose button have been moved to make room.
Instagram’s latest user interface reshuffle, further highlights the growing role for short-form video within Instagram for marketers, as well as Instagram’s growing eCommerce creds.
Shops has been designed to be the place for users to visit to find product recommendations, browse shoppable videos and more.
Back in September, Reels were announced to a mixed reception as creators gave it lukewarm reviews. It was designed to be a TikTok competitor, but it’s been used mainly as a TikTok clone as many creators repost their existing TikTok videos to Reels – complete with TikTok branding.
What’s The Point Of The Changes?
Previously, Reels were hidden within the Explore tab along with other photos and video content. This change brings it out of the crowd and gives new prominence to Reels and puts it right in front of Instagram’s users.
This new exposure may change the way users perceive and discover Reels – which is the hope of Instagram head Adam Mosseri.
“We’re in the catch-up phase, trying to build some of the basics and the fundamental creative tools … establishing that Instagram is a place for short-form fun video.”
With more people watching Reels and creating native content for Instagram, brands will have to take note, with organic reach on the wane within the main Instagram Feed.
Used in conjunction with IGTV, Stories and Feed, Reels offers additional marginal gains for those chasing unpaid exposure within Instagram.
Naturally, Reels Ads are also not now far behind, as Instagram aims to ramp up its ad placements and available inventory.
Are Reel Ads A Thing?
Mosseri confirmed that Reels will include adverts, but couldn’t provide a concrete timeline for their introduction. They aren’t available just yet but will be when Instagram can figure out how to make it a good experience for users and creators.
“We can leverage the story ad format because it’s the same immersive experience, so that’ll be helpful because you don’t need to get advertisers to create a bunch of new creative [ads].”
Good news for brands and marketers, who will be able to reach new audiences in a more engaging way than previously imagined. Production will also potentially be less costly and time-consuming to do so, although final judgement has to be reserved until more information is released.
Instagram Shopping Will Become More Important
Shopping is where it can get interesting for brands and marketers, offering a direct way to reach a brand new audience via a storefront that previously didn’t exist.
Again, Instagram and TikTok are fighting for the same slice of the pie – especially after the latter announced a partnership with Shopify.
The home screen placement will allow users to find Shops with greater ease, in which they can search for products via brands they follow on Instagram, product categories, be served personalised recommendations, editors picks or more.
Give A Little Slice Of The Pie To Facebook
The greater Shops focus will place renewed emphasis on brands to update and improve their Instagram presence, especially as profiles will now essentially be mini-storefronts.
Instagram’s Checkout feature (only available in select markets) will also enable customers to complete their purchase in-app and will remove a pain point from the conversion process. Instagram will, however, collect a selling fee.
But as far as we can see, that’s the only fee Instagram will charge.
While this will give the platform extra revenue, it’ll also prove to be a useful tool for stores to grow their sales. This move will also make more sense in the context of advertising products on Instagram. Customers can now see an ad and make a purchase, all within the app.
As e-commerce and online shopping continue to grow in relevance, this is an incredibly timely move by Instagram, and it could provide a significant boost to brands.
What Other Design Changes Are There?
There’s no doubt that Instagram has been brave with their design updates. It made fundamental changes to a platform that looked the same for years.
Alongside the headline changes to Reels and Shopping, the Activity (heart) and Compose button have been shunted from the top right of the app, and users who aren’t aware of the update can find it challenging to locate those two fundamental buttons.
Instagram’s primary focus is to share user-generated content, and placing the Compose button out of eyeshot is a surprising and aggressive move to promote Reels at the expense of that UGC.
The message button has also been given a cosmetic change, and it now looks like the icon for Messenger, bringing it in line with the recent merger with Facebook Messenger.