August 2022 Briefing note: What’s happening with Instagram

Briefing note: What’s happening with Instagram

Exec Summary:

Facebook/Meta sees Tiktok as an existential threat and are doing their best to make Instagram work exactly like TikTok. They will happily force this on their users and turn their back on their photo app roots. Facebook and Instagram have lost the younger demographic to TikTok and these changes will not have an impact.

Facebook is now the clown car

Mark Zuckerberg once called Twitter a clown car that fell down a goldmine. Facebook/Meta have taken their eye off the ball for their Facebook and Instagram offerings while trying to pivot their company to become the main provider of VR/AR virtual worlds (metaverse), wasting billions so far on this quest. In the meantime Tiktok’s numbers are growing and they are the main social app for those under 25 with Instagram Reels failing to gain popularity with younger people. (see Irish data further down)

Facebook/Meta’s Identity Crisis

Tiktok has pointed out that they are an entertainment platform not a social network. Facebook is a social network, there was even a movie about them called The Social Network. Their Mission Statement is: Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

For decades they’ve talked about their mission of connecting people but now they want to be Tiktok and that means a full DNA transplant. While at the same time wanting to be TikTok they want to be a metaverse first company too. Instagram has always been the vehicle to counter outside threats to the Meta/Facebook business but this time it might damage it.

Instagram timeline:

    • 2010 Instagram launches.
    • April 2012 Bought by Facebook.
    • August 2016 Instagram rips off Snapchat Stories with Instagram Stories.
    • June 2018 IGTV launched as YouTube competitor
    • August 2020 Instagram rips off Tiktok with Instagram Reels.
    • Mid 2021 Instagram starts adding posts from accounts you don’t follow into timelines.
    • October 2021 IGTV stepped down as a long-form video offering.
    • Early 2022 Instagram Reels videos from non-followed accounts forced into timelines.
    • July IGTV videos and existing videos converted to Instagram Reels
    • July 26th 2022 Instagram changes algorithm to push even more Reels videos into timeline and announces this will be the default.
    • July 29th 2022 Instagram announces they’ve paused this feature for now.

Data Manipulation as justification for changes

In their July 26th announcement Instagram used data to argue people wanted more video (Reels) in their timelines as this was the content they were watching more. However, Instagram changed their algorithm to give videos more priority so the data was of course going to show this. Facebook/Meta’s data can never be trusted, they have a lot of history with their “data”.

What comes next for Instagram and Facebook/Meta?

Facebook/Meta’s recent earnings and commentary show a company that’s in panic mode. Their big bet on a Metaverse with them having a monopoly on it seems to be a very expensive future for them and the coveted youth market they once had is lost to them. They’ve tried to clone TikTok and this is not working and they’ve tried to stoke fears and get it curtailed and this has failed too.

The latest announcement and climb back has been a giant misstep. When Instagram cloned Snapchat Stories, Snapchat redesigned their app and made their most popular features hard to use, pushing more people to Instagram Stories and hampered their own growth and dominance. It now seems Instagram is doing something similar by turning a beloved app into something else.

Opportunity for others

While Facebook/Meta said they’ll hold off on the timeline changes for now, they will bring them back and force them through. Tiktok is all they can think of now. Instagram was better at photos than Facebook and Facebook bought them and they used their resources to get them over a billion users. With Facebook/Meta now turning their back on the photo sharing element of Instagram, there are opportunities for other apps to pull in these audiences that Instagram seems not to want anymore.

TikTok, Instagram and Instagram Reels numbers

Monthly usage of apps/social apps in Ireland. These numbers are generated from the as systems of these platforms.

Tiktok in Ireland
2.26M users
13-18 not measured (the ad tool doesn’t allow you advertise to those under 19)
18-24 1.058M
24-34 562k
35-44 318k
45-54 184k
55+ 107k

Instagram in Ireland
2.6M overall
13-18 192k
18-24 653k
24-34 814k
35-44 560k
45-54 322k
55+ 231k

Reels overall 1.2M
13-18 70k
18-24 268k
24-34 394k
35-44 246k

Instagram Reels growth
August 2021 – 540,000
January 2022 – 930,000
August 2022 – 1.2M
(algorithm changes contributed to this growth too)

Instagram Stories 2.1M

This briefing document is from Mulley Communications – – 086 8258586