Instagram Tests Updated, TikTok-Like Full-Screen Format for its Main Feed

It’s been in testing for a while, but today, Instagram has launched an updated version of its new full-screen main feed test, which expands Instagram posts – be it static images, video or Reels – into a full-height, TikTok-esque swipeable flow of all different types of IG content.

As you can see in this example, in the new format, Instagram Reels and video clips are expanded to full-screen style, with the navigation bar, description and Instagram logo overlaid on the content.

That’s a change to the original presentation of the option, which was first spotted in testing back in March.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a Story about the updated presentation style, along with a note that ‘photos are still an important part of Instagram’.

Instagram post from Mark Zuckerberg

But not that important, especially given that Reels are now Instagram’s fastest-growing content option, with 20% of all time on Instagram now spent in its Reels feed.

Interestingly, this new approach would also move the Stories bar out of view, though the longer-term approach will likely see Stories also incorporated into this new presentation format, with a frame count bar along the bottom of the screen, encouraging users to swipe across for more.

The update reflects the ongoing influence of TikTok, which has changed the way almost every platform is now considering growth, with the continued rise of the app changing user behaviors, on a much broader scale than just within TikTok itself.

Indeed, a new report from The Verge this week revealed that Facebook is also looking at how to further lean into the short-form video trend, with the popularity of the format now altering user attention spans, and changing consumer expectations, which essentially means that platforms either move in-line with the trend, or lose audience by ignoring it.

Instagram is Meta’s most similar platform in this respect, and as such, it makes sense that it’s looking to ‘go full TikTok’ and switch to a more aligned content feed.

That’s also in line with what Instagram chief Adam Mosseri flagged in December last year, when he said that video would be a key focus for IG in 2022.

“We’re going to double-down on our focus on video and consolidate all of our video formats around Reels”

This seems like the ultimate next step on this front, and another re-positioning in its face-off against TikTok, in order to mitigate TikTok’s rising dominance in the space.

It’s not available to all users as yet, but more people will be seeing this soon – and from there, I’d be willing to bet that the next integration, including Stories, will be coming soon after, moving Instagram towards a much more TikTok-like experience.

For brands, if you’re not creating short-form video content yet, it may be time to start testing, as it’s going to become the thing on IG.

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