You know how when you log onto TikTok, the first thing you see (besides maybe an ad) is a full-screen, vertical video? Instagram is testing a feature that would offer a similar, instantly immersive experience, which it says is designed to “bring video more front and center.” Seems to be a recurring theme over at Meta!
Of course, the subtext here is that Instagram is continuing its quest to capture our attention away from TikTok. Meta, parent company to Instagram, noted in its earnings call last week that Reels, its TikTok clone, now makes up more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram. On Facebook, videos of all kinds make up 50% of time users spend on the platform.
TikTok jealousy aside, this test also impacts the way photos appear in the feed. Any time Instagram messes with the dimensions of image posts, it’s bound to cause some controversy.
In the test of the full-screen home feed, you can still use the bottom navigation bar to access the discovery tab, Reels, shopping and your own page. The icons to switch accounts, create a post, check your notifications and browse your messages are still on the top bar, too. Though the test image we received doesn’t show where Stories appear, a representative from Instagram confirmed that Stories remain at the top of your feed — they just aren’t shown in this mock up, since the screenshot was taken after scrolling down past the top of the feed.
Stories is currently a bigger moneymaker for Instagram than Reels, since there is more infrastructure in place to sell ads on Stories. The company plans to add more monetization options on Reels, but said in its earnings call the push to monetize Reels will take place over multiple years.
Like Meta, Google is also competing with TikTok through its YouTube Shorts. At Google’s earnings call last week, the company revealed that it has started testing ads in YouTube Shorts. YouTube Shorts is generating 30 billion views per day, which is four times more than last year. Meta didn’t share specific numbers about Reels viewership, but the presence of video across Meta properties is increasing.
Watch Instagram head Adam Mosseri explain the feature here: