Instagram’s identity crisis produced a Tik-Tok looking feed

Instagram app

It seems that photos could take a backseat on Instagram as Meta once again changes the appearance of the social network’s feed as it tries to compete with the increasingly popular TikTok.

In the new test update, available only to a selected number of Instagram users, all content takes on a 9:16 aspect ratio.

It looks like the Instagram’s old default, 1:1 square aspect ratio with sizes up to 4:5 is set to become a thing of the past. Moreover, all content of such aspect ratios will get an automatically generated blur to fit the design of the new feed.

A format aimed at better ranking of videos

“We are developing Instagram into a platform where video content makes the majority of front page’s content, it is immersive and takes up more space,” so explained Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri in a video announcement.

The before mentioned follows Instagram’s vision in which they change the focus from photography to the video format, an idea they presented to the public in June 2021.

The changes will make it more difficult for photographers, creators and companies to get reach with their photos. The new look comes as a relief to video creators, while photographers will have to adapt even though Instagram was originally intended for them. It seems that Instagram is somewhat turning its back on the very creators who built the platform and reaching for the affection of the TikTok audience.

Phase that gives designers a headache

“The selection of existing vertical photo and video content that creative individuals use to create content is far narrower than it is for square or horizontal formats. This will make it much more difficult to create new visuals. Vertical formats are unnatural to the human eye, that is why we are used to horizontal formats in all other media. Increasing the practicality and speed of using the platform in this case will harm the quality of the content itself. In addition, insisting on a vertical format will force users to take photos and videos vertically, which will reduce their use outside the Instagram platform,” said Otto Kušec, co-owner of the 2Dizajnera design studio.

Among other things, the current situation in which one half of the users is shown content in one format and the other half in another, creates great difficulties for designers who have to know what averts one’s eye, what captivates the look, and where to place certain text. The practice where every second user has a different experience currently generates additional work for content creators.

Create Reels, keep an eye on ratios and avoid carousel posts

Instagram loves Reels, rewards successful creators and it is an ever more frequent format pushed on its users. In other words, everyone who wants to be “at the mercy” of the algorithm will have to create more Reels.

Also, with the new update, carousels will lose their importance. It will be necessary to add numbers, arrows and other guidelines to them so that it is clear to users that they have to swipe left – right, instead of up – down.

And most importantly – the 9:16 ratio should become imperative.

“Whatever you think about the changes that Instagram is obviously preparing for us, for all those who more or less professionally deal with content creation and/or digital marketing, there is nothing romantic about it. As is the case of all previous changes, the only thing left for us is to adapt as soon as possible,” told us Marin Zdelar, head of digital marketing at CTA communications.

Instagram testira novi feed

The Instagram algorithm still rules

In mid-March, Instagram boasted that it brought back the chronological view of posts, which it had abandoned in 2016, through the Following and Favorites features to seemingly give users what they want.

The real truth is that for the chronological feed one has to resort to additional options, hidden so that users activate it as little as possible and so that the algorithmic feed continues to keep users in the application as long as possible.

The novelty is that the algorithm will “push” additional content on the cover based on what Instagram thinks the user prefers. This does not come as a surprise as lately we have seen an increasing emphasis on recommendations.

It is unclear how long Instagram will take to test all these novelties and whether they will eventually be fully implemented. In any case, when they arrive, you will definitely notice them right away.