Instagram struggles as Reels’ popularity pales in comparison to TikTok, internal Meta docs reveal


Mark Zuckerberg is facing an uphill battle in his quest to make Instagram the go-to video platform, as new internal documents show that TikTok users are spending more than ten times as many hours on that platform as Instagram users spend on Reels.

Instagram users are spending 17.6 million hours a day watching Reels, which is less than one-tenth of the 197.8 million hours that TikTok users spend scrolling each day on that network, according to one document.

The document, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, was published in August internally and showed that Reels engagement had been falling, dropping 13.6% over the previous four weeks, and that ‘most Reels users have no engagement whatsoever.’ 

Meta characterized the viewing hours data as outdated and not global in scope, but declined to give the Journal different numbers. 

New internal documents show that TikTok users are spending more than ten times as many hours on that platform as Instagram users spend with Reels. Above: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg 

Instagram users are spending 17.6 million hours a day watching Reels, which is less than one-tenth of the 197.8 million hours that TikTok users spend scrolling each day on that network, according to one document

Instagram users are spending 17.6 million hours a day watching Reels, which is less than one-tenth of the 197.8 million hours that TikTok users spend scrolling each day on that network, according to one document

‘We still have work to do,’ Meta spokeswoman Devi Narasimhan told the Journal. ‘But creators and businesses are seeing promising results, and our monetization growth is faster than we expected as more people are watching, creating and connecting through Reels than ever before.’

The Journal interviewed a creator named Landen Purifoy, 22, who compared his experience sharing the same video across several social media platforms. 

Purifoy makes videos for TikTok and other platforms – many of which get millions of views on TikTok – of him using a device called a talk box to make funny sounds and music

Purifoy posted the same video across TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Snapchat’s Spotlight and Instagram Reels. It received millions of views on every platform except Instagram – where it got less than 100,000.

'We still have work to do,' Meta spokeswoman Devi Narasimhan told the Journal. 'But creators and businesses are seeing promising results, and our monetization growth is faster than we expected as more people are watching, creating and connecting through Reels than ever before'

‘We still have work to do,’ Meta spokeswoman Devi Narasimhan told the Journal. ‘But creators and businesses are seeing promising results, and our monetization growth is faster than we expected as more people are watching, creating and connecting through Reels than ever before’

In July of this year, the company was forced to roll back a series of changes that included full screen videos and photos after users - including celebrities like Kylie Jenner - berated it for copying TikTok

In July of this year, the company was forced to roll back a series of changes that included full screen videos and photos after users – including celebrities like Kylie Jenner – berated it for copying TikTok

‘Nobody’s going to make original content for Instagram,’ Purifoy told the Journal. ‘It just doesn’t make any sense.’ 

Instagram announced a creators’ fund that’s set to pay out $1 billion by the end of this year. 

The news comes at a challenging time for the California-based company, which launched Reels in August 2020 and said the new feature accounts for a fifth of the time people spend on Instagram.

In July of this year, the company was forced to roll back a series of changes that included full screen videos and photos after users – including celebrities like the Kardashians – berated it for copying TikTok. A photographer named Tati Bruening launched a petition that garnered over 250,000 signatures to ‘Make Instagram Instagram Again.’

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri told Casey Newton’s Platformer at the time that the some of the changes will be phased out, but while the number of algorithmically recommended videos people see will be reduced, he says the number will rise again when the company feels the technology has improved. 

‘I’m glad we took a risk — if we’re not failing every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough,’ Mosseri said. ‘But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we’ve learned a lot, then we come back with some sort of new idea or iteration. So we’re going to work through that.’ 

TikTok is also gaining on Instagram as far as monthly active users, with Instagram garnering 2 billion and TikTok already at 1 billion. However, across Meta’s family of apps – including Facebook and WhatsApp – the tech giant has at least 3.6 billion monthly active users. 

Meta announced in July its first ever revenue decline as it battled an advertising downturn and competition from firms like TikTok.

A few months prior to that, Meta had asked its users to stop resharing TikTok videos to Reels as a way to prompt more creators to make original content within its app. Instagram first said it would de-rank clips that feature watermarks from other platforms, including TikTok, in February 2021. 

‘TikTok is light years ahead of Reels,’ said Evan Asano, CEO of influencer marketing agency Mediakix, referring to TikTok’s powerful content recommendation system and the fact that the app is far more focused than Instagram’s. 

TikTok is also gaining on Instagram as far as monthly active users, with Instagram garnering 2 billion and TikTok already at 1 billion. However, across Meta's family of apps - including Facebook and WhatsApp - the tech giant has at least 3.6 billion monthly active users

TikTok is also gaining on Instagram as far as monthly active users, with Instagram garnering 2 billion and TikTok already at 1 billion. However, across Meta’s family of apps – including Facebook and WhatsApp – the tech giant has at least 3.6 billion monthly active users 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk