Think Instagram Sucks Lately? Here’s Why – Reels Have Priority

Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao

Are you curious why Instagram sucks lately? It’s because of new changes that prioritize Reels over other types of content.

A couple of months ago, Meta announced it would be transitioning all videos under 15 minutes to Reels. The change means that all short-form videos that are posted to Instagram are automatically put in the Reels discovery feed. Instagram was a social network originally designed for connecting with friends and sharing photos (later videos). So why has the experience changed so drastically over the last few months?

In short, it’s Meta trying to catch lightning in a bottle again by copying everything TikTok does. Facebook failed to acquire the musical-driven start-up in 2017, and the company has gone to remarkable lengths to clone TikTok’s main offering. Reels started as a standalone app in Brazil before being integrated into the main Instagram experience. Now that they’re here, Meta seems to be promoting Reels content over other types.

Instagram sucks because of Reels

HypeAuditor analyzed 77.6 million Instagram posts to discover how different types of content flourish. The most popular type of content in July 2022 was the Image post, with 42.2% of posts analyzed being image posts. Reels took the third spot, with 22.1% of the content in July 2022 being Reels. Despite being in third place, Reels received the most engagement and estimated reach compared to other post types.

HypeAuditor suggests that only 5.7 million social media influencers posted Reels in July. That’s around 41% of the total number of annualized influencers. So around 59% of Instagram users aren’t making Reels; they’re just consuming them. Around 13.6 million global Instagram influencers were analyzed as part of the study.

Instagram is heavily favoring Reels content, which relies on the discovery algorithm. That means if you signed up for Instagram to see cute dog and cat pictures posted by your neighbor and those you follow – you’re probably not getting the content you wanted. Reels prioritizes the discovery of new content by letting an algorithm serve up content from people you don’t follow but that it thinks you might like.