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Is Instagram taking TikTok head-on?

Instagram Reels lets users shoot and edit videos and watch others in a scrolling feed. The feature poses a major competitive risk to TikTok. File picture: Instagram handout photo

Instagram Reels lets users shoot and edit videos and watch others in a scrolling feed. The feature poses a major competitive risk to TikTok. File picture: Instagram handout photo

Published Aug 1, 2022

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Johannesburg - Amid a social networking war over which platforms score the most users, it’s no secret that older social networks have become wary of the TikTok threat.

One of TikTok's rival platforms, Instagram, has steadily been taking aim at the platform through the introduction of scores of features that directly compete with those offered by TikTok.

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Last week, Instagram furthered its combat efforts with the launch of more features to complement its most powerful weapon against TikTok – Reels, its own short-form video-sharing tool in the app.

Instagram’s direct response to TikTok

Instagram recently expanded tools for Reel's Remix function to help users collaborate more efficiently.

The platform also announced expanded Remix layouts which will allow users to choose between templates of a green screen, horizontal or vertical split-screen, or a picture-in-picture reaction view.

All of these are already offered as features within the TikTok app.

However, it isn’t just new features that indicate Instagram’s volatility against TikTok. The launch of Reels alone was a strong telltale sign. At the same time, Remix offered Instagram’s response to Duet, React, and Stitch features provided for creators on TikTok.

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Instagram has also said that in the coming weeks, new video posts shorter than 15 minutes will be shared as reels. Videos posted prior to this change will remain as videos and won’t become reels.

Meanwhile, further attempts by Instagram to take on TikTok include layout changes that could be made to Instagram, making the app’s appearance more like TikTok’s.

Launched in 2010, Instagram is reported to see 1.3 billion active users. It has emerged victorious among other photo-sharing social platforms, allowing it to set its eyes on a new target – short-form video content.

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The introduction of TikTok undoubtedly spurred the popularity of short-form, portrait video content more so than any other platforms before it, like Vine and Tumblr.

In June this year, forecast and market analysis platform Insider Intelligence estimated the China-based video-sharing social network to have at least 655.9 million active users.

Given its launch in 2016, the platform has fared well in gaining popularity against its more mature rivals, such as the most popular social network, Facebook, which reportedly saw 2.9 billion users in April this year.

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In contrast, Facebook was launched in 2004 and became the first platform of its kind to reach 1 billion users by 2012. In the same year, Facebook bought Instagram four years before the launch of TikTok.

IOL Tech

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