Evolve or die: Instagram is transparent about shifting focus to creators, video, shopping, and messaging

Screenshot of Adam Mosseri's Instagram post announcing that Instagram is 'no longer just a square photo sharing app.'

Instagram head Adam Mosseri says the 'gram is “no longer just a square photo-sharing app.”

Last week, Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted a 2:26 video to his Instagram account to talk about the photo-sharing giant’s strategic plans going forward. Armed with survey data that says that Instagram’s users are there to be entertained, and faced with stiff competition from giants TikTok and YouTube, Mosseri announced that the company would be focusing on four key areas in the coming year:

  1. Creators - focusing on creators and helping them make a living
  2. Video - looking at new ways to play video—full screen, immersive, entertaining, and mobile-first
  3. Shopping - jumping on the online shopping trend that has grown by leaps and bounds during the pandemic
  4. Messaging - connecting people with their friends via private messaging rather than feed or stories

Instagram, acquired by social media juggernaut Facebook in 2012, has been jumping on trends as far back as 2013, when they added video sharing to the app, possibly in response to the popularity of the short-video-sharing app Vine. Then in 2016, they launched Instagram Stories as a direct response to Snapchat, followed by IGTV in 2018 to compete with YouTube, and Reels in 2020 to compete with TikTok.

You may already have seen some new things in your feed, like Recommendations—where the app will recommend posts or Topics you might like, based on who you’re already following or interacting with (similar to features already in place on Facebook and Twitter). Recommendations and Topics are both being tested right now, so if you’ve seen something new, count yourself lucky—and send us a screenshot!

So far, what Instagram (and the other legacy social giants Facebook and Twitter) does best is evolve, and they’ve made it clear that they will continue to do so if it keeps you in their app, looking at their ads, and following their creators and influencers.

Keeping up with all the changes to the various social apps can be exhausting and overwhelming. Trust me, it is what we do every day and it is always changing. Strategy around how to manage messaging, especially for companies, organizations and brands can make all the difference. We've been at it for over a decade. Need help keeping up with the trends, and developing or evolving your social media strategy? Message us on Instagram at @innovatebyday or by email at info@innovatebyday.ca We’d love to help.

James Woods is Innovate By Day's Senior Content Manager.

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