Is Instagram going out of style?
The social media platform has been an online hub for fashion for the better part of the past decade, but the algorithm’s shift toward video and suggested posts is alienating some of Instagram’s most stylish users. Many are turning to TikTok for minimal effort and high rewards.
Instagram survived the same criticism when it removed the chronological feed in 2016 and launched Stories in 2017, months ago. The video has been in the spotlight since June 2021, but it’s the frustration caused by the platform’s recent moves. It might be the biggest threat yet.
Instagram users have been complaining about their feeds being filled with ads and less interesting recommended posts. Updates to the platform’s algorithm have tried to make the app more video-oriented and descriptive – recommending content similar to Tik Tok’s own algorithm – but users want Instagram to rework Instagram. A recent petition doing the rounds on the app reads: “Stop trying to be TikTok, I just want to see cute photos of my friends. Greetings everyone.
“Everyone” includes Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, who shared the message with their combined 690 million followers. Their gesture prompted an immediate response from Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri. When Jenner last complained about the social media app, Snapchat had lost $1.3 billion in market value.
Mosseri said the platform is trying to be more “fun and engaging” and that Instagram is becoming more video-oriented because users want To feed more videos. He acknowledged that Instagram’s algorithm and recommendations still need improvement, and Mosseri explained that the app isn’t moving away from photos in response to the request. “I love photos,” Moseri said. “I know many of you love photos too.”
However, the backlash was enough for Instagram to manage a rare strategic reversal. The app is rolling back some controversial changes to its display and algorithm, in its push to find recommended posts and videos.
Hit the record
The Book of Death is what freelance social strategist Natalie Held says is the “silent death” of our favorite platforms. With the adoption of video, creators are forced to change not only what they post, but also who they are online. Being on camera requires being a personality, which sometimes involves expressing opinions on political and social issues. “Being an influencer isn’t just about posting endorsements anymore,” says Held Entry. “it is Show me your family, show me your lifeHe said. This demand not only requires more effort from creators, but also makes them more personal to pursue a more “authentic” relationship with their audience.
Across the board, we’re seeing a gravitation toward “real” content. Authentic photo booths are becoming increasingly popular on Instagram, with apps like BeReal and Locket encouraging users to share unfiltered photos with close friends. Community-based forums like Geneva and Discord were also gaining traction. Despite this, Instagram’s new direction has made it an app aimed at creators rather than the average user, and it’s far from “authentic”. “Normal people don’t want to see random people on Instagram,” says trend forecaster Mandy Lee. Entry. “I don’t think there’s an application for that.”
The updated Instagram app is “shameful,” says Lee. The only reason she still enjoys the app is that despite having 20,000 followers, she doesn’t take it too seriously. She has more than 400,000 followers on Tiki Talk, where she puts more effort. On the latter, Lee is known for analyzing (and promoting) fashion trends, and her clips regularly garner thousands and sometimes millions of views.
Similar content doesn’t translate as well on Instagram. “I think people don’t want chatty Instagram stories – they want cute videos [set to music]” says Lee. This could be the result of the photo origin of the application or the new algorithm. Regardless, Lee notes differences between the fashion content she sees on both platforms.
Instead of the highly edited videos on Instagram, TikTok offers a wider range of simple styled content. Most of the clips revolve around the creator’s personal style and personality while offering shopping tips, trend explanations, outfit breakdowns and “get ready with me” content. Lee says she hasn’t seen any of these more engaging formats used on Reels yet, and “When was the last time you learned something on Instagram?” she asks.
Still, trend forecasting requires a broader analysis of the community, including Instagram. “I don’t just look at fashion trends,” says Lee. “The most important part of the job is to understand what’s happening culturally and what people are talking about in every forum.” As long as people are still on Instagram, Lee sees it. But now, she says, trends are mainly being spread, followed and discussed on TikTok.
Swim or swim
Tik Tok’s niche algorithm is behind the most popular trends as it allows users to easily find their favorite content and creators. “I don’t think Instagram had the right kind of algorithm for something like this,” Lee says. Instead, there was a clear formula for how to succeed on the app through likes, hashtags, and reposts — a formula that didn’t last more than a decade.
To do well on Instagram, creators need to improve on the app side. For many, this means learning how to shoot and edit videos to please Instagram’s new algorithm, although this process is more time-consuming than working with photos. Lee cites food bloggers as an example. Instead of posting photos of the finished dish, such creators are now required to film the entire cooking sequence and edit it with on-screen sounds or a speaker. Of course, food bloggers can stick to images, but they can lose followers and subsequently income. A video could very well kill an Instagram star.
To survive the changing social media landscape, influencers must diversify their platforms rather than stick to one. Creators don’t want to have an algorithm determine whether their content is successful or not, and they don’t want to miss out on an audience waiting to be captured. In “now’s dynamic” influencer market, Held says, “it’s going to be sink or swim.”
Caught creates a lifestyle on TikTok and Instagram, but she noticed that her engagement has stalled in the end. Instagram isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — it’s a “slow burn,” she says. Influencers with app-based followers don’t leave them immediately; They only go after their audience leaves.
Instagram has been around for 12 years, a long time for a social media app to exist in today’s climate. This is done by keeping a consistent focus – photos – and it may have lasted too long to compete with TikTok. Fashion trends come and go quickly on the video platform, and the community of fashion enthusiasts, including trendsetters like Lee, is growing by the day.
An Instagram spokesperson said. Entry Features like suggested posts and reels are becoming more popular. The company is helping influencers change the landscape with the Creator Lab, which informs creators of the most watched audio and on-reel trends, and the Creator Lab, which provides advice from experienced creators. While Instagram’s long-time success formula has changed, the app wants to give its users the ingredients they need to thrive.
Instagram is still the biggest platform, boasting nearly 2 billion monthly users. TikTok claims to have reached 1 billion users by September 2021. But there is evidence that these statistics may be changing rapidly. TikTok surpassed Instagram in the first quarter of 2022, and Bloomberg It reports that the average US TikTok user spends 29 hours a month on the app. The most influential consumers, between 12 and 17, already use TikTok more than Instagram.
For now, Instagram has a strong hold on a huge number of users and brands, including those with a passion for style. According to an Instagram spokesperson, #fashion is one of the five hashtags they always use on the app. However, there is no disputing that TikTok is about to claim those fashionable users – and eventually it will be another platform to follow. It’s all about what’s trending (and what’s not).