Instagram is returning to photos in 2023 after admitting to being “overfocused on videos” in 2022.
We’ve been watching this soap opera for quite some time, and can I just say in my broadest Yorkshire accent “Thank Chuff”
Instagram was keenly focused on combating TikTok’s growth and turned to videos, which irritated some of its traditional users. I for one had a major case of paralysis by analysis so just didn’t post. I absolutely was not down with titting about infront of the camera for all to see other than me because of course this would be far too mortifying I cannot even stand listening to my own voice.
They even declared that Instagram would “no longer be a square photo-sharing app” and tested a hideous feed that looked exactly like the Chinese competitor.
And now… it’s simply gone backwards… you know like it does when the powers that be backtrack.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri admitted that the app overfocused on video in 2022 and will return to photos in 2023.
Don’t get me wrong: Reels are fantastic. When developing a social media strategy, especially for Instagram, video content should be considered. The problem is that for a long time, a platform that was once known for a diverse range of content resources was prioritising only one type of content.
But it also piqued my interest. Why did Instagram reverse its decision? What, after all, can we expect from the app in 2023?
So heres what I am thinking!
Photos, videos, and more photos. What became of Instagram?
If you use Instagram, you are aware that the app has been attempting to slow TikTok’s growth and keep its users on the platform for some time.
To accomplish this, they introduced Reel templates, 60-second stories, cash bonuses for top creators, and even a TikTok-style app redesign, as well as a new algorithm that prioritised videos over other content.
The problem is that these changes not only did not halt TikTok’s growth, but also displeased a large number of users. It simply wasn’t working for anyone me to name but one.
And Adam Mosseri recognised it. “I think we were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos,” he admitted in a recent Q&A session with users.
According to Mosseri, Instagram has since worked to restore a more balanced approach, and internal metrics show that this is working.
“Things like how frequently someone likes photos versus videos and how frequently someone comments on photos versus videos are roughly equal, which is a good sign that things are balanced. If there is more video on Instagram over time, it will be because that is what is driving overall engagement. But photographs will always be an important part of what we do.”
So… what’s next? What can Instagram expect in 2023?
On the plus side, the Instagram CEO’s recognition that the app’s uniqueness lies in the variety of content types available in one place is welcome news. It will be interesting to see how Instagram content evolves this year, with a greater emphasis on content relevant to your brand and audience (whether videos or images), rather than relying on trending music for Reels.
However, I must admit that it still appears that Instagram has lost its way. It remains to be seen whether this shift represents a step towards more authentic experiences.
Instead of finding its own niche, Instagram has been too focused on trends and competing with other apps.
If I may offer you some advice, and if you haven’t already, don’t rely too heavily on Instagram as part of your marketing strategy. It’s a dangerous game to play with an app that hasn’t decided what it wants to be.
Continue to experiment with the app’s various formats. You will most likely see results if your audience is aligned with your content. Just keep in mind that the algorithm’s focus could shift at any time, so it’s best to keep an open mind about what direction Instagram might take in the future.