It started with the creation of Instagram Reels, an in-app TikTok alternative that sort of fell flat. Despite growing concern over the summer that the previous US administration would ban TikTok (which would subsequently find creators whose following depended heavily on the app with a sudden lack of platform), Reels never really took off in the same way – probably because Instagram has so many other things going on in addition to this new feature. But Instagram isn’t giving up the fight so easily.
According to Social Media Today, Instagram is working on a new vertical Stories feed, which would mean users would have to swipe up or down to view stories rather than the classic tap or lateral swipe we’ve all come to know and love. Vertical swiping is exactly how TikTok’s For You page is structured, making this the latest attempt by Instagram to mirror the Gen-Z beloved platform.
Let’s be clear – Instagram is by no means struggling to keep users using their platform. Instagram stories are reportedly used by something like 500 million people every day. Instagram isn’t scrambling to gain users back. It’s scrambling to try and keep up with TikTok’s growth and momentum.
There’s detailed research that suggests that TikTok users spend more time in the app than they do on any other platform, including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and of course, Instagram. And why wouldn’t they? TikTok’s For You page (more specifically, the algorithm that informs it)is literally designed to continuously show you content that you’ll be interested in, based on your past user behavior (aka, other things that you’ve liked, commented on, shared, or generally engaged with). It’s curated content, and it is entertaining as hell.
Back to the vertical scroll – when can we expect to see it in action, and what other information we have. The vertical scroll is currently in internal prototype testing, meaning that the kinks are still being worked out. It’s likely that when Instagram is ready for users to try this update, they’ll do a slow roll-out. Keep your eyes peeled and your fingers ready to swipe!
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