The new Instagram update and the “TikTokification” of the Internet

After the rise of TikTok over the pandemic era, we’ve witnessed -what I call- “The TikTokification” of the internet. First came Instagram, and created Reels (almost a carbon copy of the TikTok format), and soon after YouTube launched YouTube Shorts. Both formats have been an effort to push shorter videos like TikToks, and we were mostly okay with this “addition” to their base premises, which are “picture app” (Instagram) and “long format video app” (YouTube).

Alas, unless you’ve been living under a social media rock, you should have already heard people ranting about the newest Instagram update, which seems to have altered its basic premise quite a bit. Almost no one likes the update. In fact, everybody hates it, yet it is being tested on some accounts already and will be rolled out soon to all of us.


The new update messes with everything people like about Instagram, which happened more than often in the past. Only this time, it is foundationally different: Instagram is no longer a picture app. Seeing the worldwide trend to move towards video (and short video to be exact), they decided to completely tear the app down and rebuild it.

Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram) explains the update in his own words:

“We are moving Instagram to a place where video is a bigger part of the home experience”

The update will foster a 9:16 full-screen format of everything. So, say goodbye to your square grid of pictures you’ve built for years, they will be forcefully turned into full-screen images with a blurred background, as explained in this TikTok.

image credit: Instagram

But why make this change when almost none of Instagram’s users want it?” you may ask. Well, if we look at the numbers, everything makes a bit more sense. In 2020, TikTok shot past Facebook and Instagram, with users spending 4 minutes more on average than Facebook (38.6 minutes).

According to a recent forecast by eMarketer, TikTok is also expected to surpass YouTube’s view time in the US this year. If you think about the average view time of YouTube’s long video format and compare it to the (generally) very short videos on TikTok, this is astounding. Add on top the fact that over 40% of Gen Z spends more than 3 hours a day on TikTok, and you have an unbeatable social media giant here. Seeing these forecasts might definitely have been one reason for Instagram to do the jump, despite its user base being against change.

While others are busy copying TikTok, TikTok also doesn’t hold back: The platform copied Twitter with the introduction of a Repost function, Snapchat and Instagram with Stories, and Twitch with the desktop live streaming software.

TikTok’s Repost, Stories and Live features

Is the whole internet becoming different versions of TikTok? Are we soon going to watch TikToks on our TVs? Or will there be an anti-movement where people will start to be put off by short video content and go back to watching long YouTube videos? Who knows? For now, all we know is that the view time and ad revenue statistics of TikTok are making the mouths of all advertiser giants drool.



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Polen Erciyas

Polen Erciyas


Social media native interested in everything marketing, art, games and design.