You know how when you log onto TikTok, the first thing you see (besides maybe an ad) is a full-screen, vertical video? Instagram is testing a feature that would offer a similar, instantly immersive experience, which it says is designed to “bring video more front and center.” Seems to be a recurring theme over at Meta!
Of course, the subtext here is that Instagram is continuing its quest to capture our attention away from TikTok. Meta, parent company to Instagram, noted in its earnings call last week that Reels, its TikTok clone, now makes up more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram. On Facebook, videos of all kinds make up 50% of time users spend on the platform.
In the test of the full-screen home feed, you can still use the bottom navigation bar to access the discovery tab, Reels, shopping, and your own page. The icons to switch accounts, create a post, check your notifications and browse your messages are still on the top bar, too. Basically, they’re just getting rid of the Stories bar on the top of your screen. TechCrunch asked Instagram how users will be able to access their Stories with this new home screen set up, but didn’t hear back before publication. It’s likely that if you just scroll up, the Stories bar would appear, since it wouldn’t be accessible from any of the other tabs.
Still, it’s notable for Instagram to test a home screen where Stories aren’t immediately visible — Stories is currently a bigger moneymaker for Instagram than Reels, since there is more infrastructure in place to sell ads on Stories. The company plans to add more monetization options on Reels, but said in its earnings call the push to monetize Reels will take place over multiple years.
Like Meta, Google is also competing with TikTok through its YouTube Shorts. At Google’s earnings call last week, the company revealed that it has started testing ads in YouTube Shorts. YouTube Shorts is generating 30 billion views per day, which is four times more than last year. Meta didn’t share specific numbers about Reels viewership, but the presence of video across Meta properties is increasing.