Instagram: Reels helps Instagram profit from India’s TikTok ban

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Instagram has rolled back some new app features following global user backlash this week, including criticism from one of its most popular users, Kylie Jenner, that the photo and video-sharing platform from Meta tries to imitate TikTok.

However, Instagram’s attempts to replace TikTok appeared to have paid off in India two years after the Chinese app was banned here, as Instagram was the most downloaded viral short video social media app on the App Store. and Google Play in the country since January, according to data shared by Sensor Tower with ET.

Instagram saw 118,700,000 downloads in the country between January and June while Facebook saw 86,600,000 downloads and local popular short video apps saw downloads ranging from 24,200,000 to 40,800,000, according to data from Sensor Tower. .

Instagram was quick to capitalize on its Reels short video format following the TikTok ban. Two months after Reels was launched in India via a “broad test” after TikTok was banned, Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram had launched a separate tab for Reels only for Indian users in September 2020.

A spokesperson for Meta said that India is one of the main markets for Reels for Meta.

“Trends on reels transcend borders,” the person said. “Some global trends come to India and get a meaning of their own, then some of India goes global, like ‘Kacha badam’ which was sung by a peanut seller in Birbhum district of West Bengal and that creators outside of India have created .reels with this.

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The spokesperson added that brands such as L’Oreal and Maybelline have used Reels ads to increase recall among younger users.

On the new changes and discussions about it, the spokesperson said that to help make Instagram a “great” place for people to discover entertaining content, it is always working to show users the “good” balance between posts from friends and family, and people users don’t follow, as well as the right balance of photos and videos based on what users think they’d like to see. “We strive to ensure that every post is relevant and we give people control to shape their experience. Feedback from our community is essential to getting it right, and we will continue to iterate and explore new options based on what we hear,” the person added.

Since its launch in 2020, Reels has evolved with a range of features – 30-60-90 second reels, Reels tab, Remix, Reels visual responses and audio features such as save sounds and audio browser .

Industry watchers said advertisers are pushing for a lot more content on Reels, which has also led to an increase in influencer revenue.

Aditya Gurwara, co-founder of influencer marketing platform Qoruz, said that when it was operational in India, TikTok caused a behavior change in the way people used and consumed content.

“They proved that the short video format was here to stay,” he said. “Instagram capitalized on this with the ban on TikTok. Today, Reels is one of the most popular ways to consume content. 90% of influencer marketing is on Reels. Unlike other apps , Instagram already had a user base so they didn’t have to start from scratch, they also have years of experience with algorithms.

Prashant Puri, CEO of digital marketing firm AdLift, said all digital advertisers are embracing Reels. “It’s now a staple of the social media calendar for brands,” he said. “They used to ask for a story and a message and now Reels is a really big part of the mix. The traction they get through Reels is huge, and that’s because of the way the algorithm is structured. rolls are pushed harder from an algorithm perspective, therefore time spent and engagement on the app is greater.

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