Instagram is making changes to its home screen by adding two new tabs: Reels and Shop. Reels is described as a way to discover “short, fun videos from creators around the world,” and the Shop tab is designed to give users faster access to brands and products.
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced the changes on the Instagram Blog and stated that changes come as the company continues to focus on “young people and creators because they’re trendsetters.”
“This year, with the pandemic and much of the world sheltering in place, we’ve seen an explosion in short, entertaining videos on Instagram,” Mosseri writes. “We’ve also seen an incredible amount of shopping move online, with more and more people buying online and young people looking to their favorite creators for recommendations on what to buy.”
Reels, launched a few months ago, was clearly a reaction to the explosive success of TikTok. TikTok has grown in popularity through its focus on short, succinct videos. Instagram saw that explosive growth and quickly added Reels as a feature, but is now going out of its way to make accessing those Reels easier and more front-and-center.
“We’re rolling out the Reels tab to be a kind of a stage, a place where people can share their creativity with the world and have a chance to break out and find an audience,” Mosseri explains.
This feature launch is akin to how Instagram competed with Snapchat with the Stories feature. Snapchat saw meteoric growth from 2014 through 2018, but that growth has slowed considerably since. Instagram’s bump in daily active users accessing the Stories feature jumps at about the same time Snapchat’s growth slows. It is not a stretch to say that the Facebook company is hoping for similar results against rival TikTok with how it is pushing Reels.
The Shop tab will give users more direct access to products and brands, something that Instagram had been historically reluctant to add to its platform. Over the past few years, it has been easier to see advertised products directly inside the platform, but there was no “hub” of sorts to specifically browse products at users’ leisure. That changes with the launch of the Shop tab, and Instagram is clearly working more directly to push product recommendations through the app.
“With the Shop tab, we’re making it easy to get inspired by creators you love, shop on Instagram, and support small businesses,” Mosseri writes. “You can find personalized recommendations, editors’ picks curated by our shop channel, shoppable videos, new product collections, and more.”
At the time of publication, the changes to the Instagram Home Screen were not visible to PetaPixel editors. It is likely that the company will roll out this update to its over 1 billion monthly active users over the next few days.