A new report claims that Instagram Reels views are plummeting while photos are finally performing better on the social media platform.
According to a report from Adweek, views on Reels are falling as Instagram attempts to correct its overfocus on video for the past few years and improve engagement on photos.
Four social strategist sources told Adweek that Reels on brand social accounts have been performing worse in recent weeks — generating 20% fewer views in some cases.
However, the same sources say that photo performance has generally improved on Instagram in the past few weeks.
This has been frustrating for brands who are now being forced to suddenly change their social media strategy — shifting from creating Reels on Instagram and turning their focus to posting photos instead.
instagram aggressively deprioritizing reels overnight after making every brand completely pivot their social strategy will be my villain story ?
— Ashni Mehta (@ashnimehta_) February 13, 2023
“The annoying thing for me is that the beginning of the year is when most brands have just gotten their strategy and budgets approved,” independent social strategist, Ashni Mehta tells Adweek.
Mehta says that previously Reels had a minimum of 1,000 views across the five brands she manages, but in the past two weeks, that minimum is closer to 100 views.
According to Mehta, the five brand accounts have between 5,000 and 10,000 followers, although she has seen the same Reels performance with accounts with as many as 100,000 followers.
‘We Overfocused on Video’
Instagram has made no secret of its move towards video, and in particular its TikTok clone Reels, in the past few years.
In June 2021, Instagram head Adam Mosseri declared that the social media platform was “no longer a photo-sharing app.”
And since then, Instagram has pushed Reels as its main feature and completely redesigned its app to compete with TikTok — to backlash from photographers as well as the wider public.
Last year, data revealed that the average engagement for traditional Instagram feed posts, such as photos, had decreased by 44% since the app’s introduction of Reels.
Photographers were left scrambling to find ways to get the Meta-owned platform to push their photos in the algorithm again. While other photographers searched for Instagram alternatives.
However last month, Mosseri admitted that Instagram had pushed video too hard to its users and suggested that the platform would be rectifying this imbalance between Reels and photos.
“I think we were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos,” Mosseri explains.
“We’ve since balanced, so things like how often someone likes photos versus videos and how often someone comments on photos versus videos are roughly equal, which is a good sign that things are balanced.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.