2nd July 2021

POV: Social Video


This week, Instagram announced that it is ‘no longer a photo sharing app’ as it revealed changes to video on its platform. The impact of TikTok on the rise of social video cannot be overstated with multiple social players now creating their own short-form video offerings.

Details and Implications:

This week, Facebook’s Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri posted a video on social media detailing that Instagram plans to start making more changes to become more video focused over the next six to twelve months.

It will start with showing users full-screen, mobile-first recommended videos in their feeds, in an attempt to embrace video formats more broadly on the app.

Instagram currently has two in-feed video formats (as well as stories): Reels and IGTV. Reels, launched in August 2020, are short-form 30-second videos that are much like the content found on TikTok and IGTV are longer-form videos.

Instagram now plans to integrate video more fully into the core feed. Whether this be by integrating existing formats is not currently clear, but the app will show users full-screen videos in some format in the feed, both from accounts they follow and as recommendations as well as from accounts they don’t follow. This is perhaps a nod to the success of the ‘For You’ page on TikTok where many TikTok users spend their time discovering new creators and content.

Mosseri also stated that more types of topic-based recommendations will be on the way soon and that Instagram intends to be transparent about the process of adding video to what has until recently been a mainly photo based platform.

This announcement comes at the same time that TikTok launches 3-minute videos to all users. The increased time limit (from 60 seconds to 180 seconds) has been in testing since December last year but will soon be available to all users. TikTok said that the longer videos are ‘one more tool people can use to captivate the community with their creative expression’.

As video becomes more popular within social platforms, the major players are continuing to adapt and transform their offerings in order to compete. Just as Snap was widely credited with pushing larger platforms to innovate, TikTok is now continuing this role.


As platforms like Instagram continue to lean more towards video content over the coming months, there may be interesting opportunities for creators, brands and advertisers to reach consumers using dynamic ad formats. TikTok has shaken up the social space with its dramatic rise in users and the race is on for the larger platforms to respond and to build more sophisticated video services to retain their user base.

Further Reading

CNBC | CNET | The Verge | Tech Crunch  | CNET (TikTok)

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