Instagram struggles to repeat TikTok’s success
The Future. An internal Meta document titled “Creators x Reels State of the Union 2022” found that Reels is still far behind TikTok in popularity and engagement. That’s tough news for the social media giant when users, revenue, and stock are in decline. Although growth is slow, Reels is growing — a 30% increase alone in the second quarter — which means that Meta hasn’t lost the fight yet… but it may need to find a way of differentiating itself to supercharge that growth.
Coming up short
WSJ shares Meta’s own investigation into its losing battle with TikTok.
- Instagram users are only spending a total of 17.6 million hours a day watching Reels, compared to 197.8 million on TikTok.
- In the past month, engagement on Reels was down 13.6%, and “most Reels users have no engagement whatsoever.”
- That may be because only 2.3 million of the 11 million creators using Reels actually post on the platform each month.
Additionally, one-third of the videos posted on Reels originated from another platform (typically TikTok or YouTube Shorts), which is “downranked” by Instagram, so they don’t get as much engagement. That hurts when engagement is already below targets.
Meta probably didn’t want that internal document to leak, as it’s been working overtime to boost Reels.
- It started rolling out a $1 billion creator fund, of which $120 billion has already been spent.
- It changed its algorithm to what’s known internally as “Panavision,” which mimics how TikTok serves users content from people they don’t follow.
- It’s also trying to win back teens (and general public goodwill) — difficult, as Gen Z ditches the concept of the “everything app.”
Meta has positioned short-form video as being the revenue-generating engine of the company as it invests heavily in its metaverse ambitions. Still, the documents concluded that “creators still think of TikTok as being synonymous with SFV [short-form video] and prioritize it for the broad discoverability it brings them.”