Oh look, Instagram is once again following the lead of TikTok with a new feature, what an amazing surprise this is.
Today, Instagram has launched a new one ‘Add your’ sticker to stories, which allows users to ask others to respond to their stories content to create more engaging response threads to stories posts.
As you can see here, users can now add the new ‘Add Yours’ sticker to their story frame, with the example of using an ‘outfit of the day’ prompt that encourages followers to respond with their own #OOTD image.
When users respond, they are added to the profile bubble on the sticker, which, when pressed, allows users to review all the other responses to the thread and build a response chain in Stories that can help create more engagement.
Which sounds a lot like TikTok’s Duet feature, which often sees many users add to a Duet chain and create long, interactive streams of content based on the original theme.
TikTok’s engaging, community-based creativity is a key element in its appeal, so it’s no surprise to see Instagram once again draw inspiration from its now most important rival. But at the same time, it’s a bit much – Facebook’s repetition sometimes feels like it’s going too far to try to keep up with these usage trends.
I mean, it makes sense – TikTok is experiencing a huge engagement, and Instagram wants to join it where it can, to prevent users from migrating away from its app, and if it can use similar features, it should probably in it least test and see what results it gets. But that’s a pretty obvious replication here.
Maybe it works, so who really cares? But still, Instagram and Facebook (or Meta) are more generally not very good at coming up with new, original ideas in this regard.
Which will be a major obstacle to its new push to win back younger audiences, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently noting that it will make serving young adults a priority in its products rather than optimizing for older users. Facebook knows that it is necessary to maintain engagement with younger user groups to maximize the utilization of its advanced, meta-adjusted offerings, and the data shows that it is losing out on this front, where Facebook usage among people under the age of 24 is declining over last decade.
A key issue in this sense is that Facebook simply lacks cultural nudity and an understanding of what younger audiences are reacting to – which is why Snapchat is regularly able to trigger and lead new trends, and now TikTok has become the most important tool for the same. Instagram once had the cultural presence, the direct line of creative online communities, but over time – since Facebook took over – it has also lost touch. And while the graph above does not relate to Instagram use, you can bet that the same trends are likely to happen on IG as well, hence the renewed focus from Zuck on younger groups.
Which is relevant here because of the replication. Yes, Facebook has seen success in stealing features from Snapchat and TikTok to varying degrees, with Instagram Stories being the main winner, while Reels has also been a hit for Instagram, though the use still follows well after TikTok. But it does not help Facebook win the broader cultural shift, Facebook is no longer seen as the innovator, it has lost its cool factor in this regard due to the constant replication.
Or maybe not because of this, but it’s an element of the wider shift – Facebook has become very good at bringing these features to less web-savvy users who are not active in these other, newer apps.
But for those who are always across the next key trends – such as. younger audiences – Facebook’s replication just seems outdated and second-rate. It’s the seniors who catch up on things behind everyone else and then tell you about this cool new feature that you had already used long before they came across it.
It’s the inherent failure of Facebook’s replication approach that it constantly leaves it one step behind instead of being a leader – and if it’s not a leader, it loses its cool credibility and younger audience engagement as a result.
So it can work in a broader sense in terms of deriving in-app engagement based on these usage trends that stem from other apps. But in reality, it’s like the corporatization of these shifts, and unless Facebook can change things and start showing the way on some of these key trends, I can not see how it should win the youth back.
Instagram had been testing the ‘Add Yours’ sticker with some users over the last month, but it is now being rolled out to all users globally, on iOS and Android.