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Social Throwback 2022: The shift of Instagram from 'photo-sharing to video consumption'

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Paawan Sunam
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Social Throwback 2022: The shift of Instagram from 'photo-sharing to video consumption'


Here is a recap of important updates on Instagram for advertisers, users, and creators and major events that surfaced on the platform.

Instagram remains to be one of the top social networks around the globe, with a substantial chunk being from India. As a part of Meta-owned companies, Instagram has also made a significant push to bolster creators on the platform, with several features, tools, and a professional dashboard being creator-focused. Instagram for advertisers has also gone through one big change, increasing the consumability of the ads.

The Fall Of Authenticity

Instagram was a social platform where you would find photographic memories of intimate moments, long before we required the 'Close Friends' feature. After replicating Snapchat with Stories, TikTok with Reels and this year BeReal with Candid Challenges, several users on the platform have complained about the lost authenticity. After backlash from users and popular celebrities, a few of the changes were also rolled back.

The Rise Of Reels

After the ban of TikTok in India, Instagram swiftly launched a full-scale rollout of Reels in the country. It is one of the formats that gained the highest engagement on the platform and was responsible for boosting the following of several content creators and Pages that emerged during the lockdown. In 2022, the rise of Reels continues to grow high and it is the most consumable and engaging format.

This year Reels also transformed from initiating consumption to initiating conversion with paid partnership tags launched, and businesses now have the ability to run Reels as sponsored posts. More placements across the feed, Explore, and Profile tabs also ushered in.

The Integration Of Digital Well-Being

The Digital well-being of users had been one of the focal points for the platform this year, with a launch of features dedicated to managing the total user activity. If the users have been scrolling for a certain amount of time, they will be asked to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future. Along with being shown expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset. The reminders of the feature are built on Instagram’s time management tools including a daily limit.

Another one of the tools launched towards this initiative is the Family Center designed to enable parents and guardians to monitor and manage their kids’ experiences with supervision tools, across Meta platforms, starting with Instagram. Video tutorials on how to use the new supervision tools were also made available on Instagram.

Instagram For Advertisers As We Know

Ads on social media platforms/content consumption platforms have always been frowned upon by users, but the most important advertising update on the platform this year has been the ability to turn Reels into ads and add a paid partnership tag to this short-video format. The colossal growth of the format and the push from the platform has significantly impacted consumption inclinations on the platform.

The format has been widely consumed and circulated, and it being transformed into an ad format has been an important update for advertisers, as it seamlessly wraps the promotional objective into a content peg.

The Frequency Of Fluctuations

One of the major events for Instagram this year was various celebrities and influencers observing massive drops in their follower count, and users being locked out of their own accounts, with a notification that says their account is suspended, on a global scale on November 2022.

This was first touted to be a mass wipeout of accounts, and several memes comparing Zuckerberg to Thanos started surfacing, along with a wave of reactions, memes, and tweets that landed on Twitter. Instagram later informed users that it has become aware of this situation and looking into it. The platform also informed users that the change in follower count is temporary.

Global outages on Instagram got more frequent than before, the app also experienced an outage on September 2022, and it also affects brands and creators using the platform for business or professional purposes. Ads executed during this 9-15 hour window would fail on several metrics as the exposure of these ads is drastically affected by the outages.

Also Read: Social Throwback 2022: The LinkedIn transition from a B2B platform to a creator hub

Here are a few updates from the photo-sharing turned video consumption app that emerged during the year.

January 2022

  • Updates on addressal of harmful content are announced
  • Instagram tests reverse-chronological feed

February 2022

  • The new edition of Counter Speech Fellowship is announced
  • ‘Take a Break’, feature to help users better manage their social media experience is launched
  • The platform improves accessibility with more features

March 2022

  • Chronological feed is brought back
  • Family Center & Parental Supervision Tools are introduced
  • Creators Lab, & Live Moderation is launched
  • “Convert to Reel” feature for Stories Highlights is rolled out
  • Instagram launches tags highlighting creator credits
  • Feed Video and IGTV are merged into one tab

April 2022

  • Product Tagging & Ranking For Originality on algorithms are integrated
  • New features to support social movements are tested

May 2022

  • Instagram extends Reels duration to 90 seconds
  • A new brand identity with new visuals, UI, & more are introduced
  • The launch of digital collectibles on Instagram is announced

July 2022

  • Subscriber chats, exclusive posts, reels, and a tab were a few of the features launched for Subscriptions
  • The Maps experience is rolled out globally to enable business discovery
  • An option to shop and make purchases from small businesses directly in chats is rolled out
  • Subscriptions, a monetization tool for creators is launched
  • Creator Marketplace to connect brands with creators is rolled out
  • Reels API for third-party developers is opened up

August 2022

  • Meta explained the approach taken towards developing Instagram messaging on desktop
  • Several features such as immersive feed, and candid challenges,
  • resembling TikTok, and BeReal, the rival apps are launched
  • Cross-posting from Instagram to Facebook is enabled with a new feature
  • The platform announced that it will be collecting, and measuring demographic information, like race and ethnicity
  • Tool to transform Reels into ads is launched

September 2022

  • Instagram Parental Supervision Tools & a Family Center is launched in India
  • Adam Mosseri shares info on Professional Dashboard, a creator tool
  • A feature allowing users to reshare posts was tested

November 2022

  • Content scheduling tool for carousels, pictures, and reels, is rolled out
  • Celebrities, influencers, and users experience drops in their follower count and get blocked out

December 2022

  • New updates for professional accounts are launched to enable reaching non-followers

Social Throwback is Social Samosa’s marquee editorial property that recaps the important happenings of the industry from the year that went by. You can catch up with 2022 here.

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