Instagram has added a new way for users to collaborate on feed posts and Reels, while it’s also adding some new music-focused, AR-aligned features to help encourage music engagement (*cough* TikTok) within the IG experience.
First off on its new ‘Collabs’ option – as you can see in these screenshots, users will now be able to invite others from the tagging screen in the post composer to collaborate on a post or Reel.
As you can see in the note in the third screenshot above, users will be alerted to collaboration requests with an in-app pop-up, which further explains that, if accepted, that collaborative post will then appear on both users’ profile grids, and be shown to each of their audiences in the app (based on regular algorithm parameters).
Both users will also appear on the final post/Reel, and each will be able to access organic insights, including view counts, like counts, etc.
Interestingly, Instagram is keen to point out that ‘this is not a way to co-create content, rather to co-author a post or reel’. Which makes sense, as the post will be coming from a single creator. But the underlying message here is that this is not a collaborative posting process, like a Brand Partnership post, but rather a means to tag friends, and maximize reach among connections in common in the app.
Which leans into the TikTok-type engagement approach of getting friends involved, and building community in the app. TikTok’s Duet option is a more overt, creative approach on this front, while TikTok also prompts users to tag others in the caption of their clips to build participation (note: Reels also includes a ‘Tag friends’ prompt).
Instagram’s collaboration elements align with the same, and will enable users to generate more reach and engagement by getting their posts seen by a broader, combined audience of each collaboration partner.
Which could also, theoretically, be applicable to brands. But again, Instagram already has its Branded Content tags and collaboration tools in place for these types of partnerships, so not really a brand tool, just for personal use. Though it’ll be interesting to see if, and how, it does get used for such purpose, especially given the FTCs recent crackdown on undeclared endorsements.
In addition to this, Instagram’s also adding some new music-focused creator tools, with ‘Superbeat’, which adds effects to a video, aligned to the beat of a song, and ‘Dynamic’ and ‘3D’ lyrics, providing new ways to display song lyrics during video clips.
Given the prominent role that music plays in TikTok sharing, Instagram is very keen to integrate the same, with the platform also adding a new ‘Audio’ tab to its search listings back in August, which enables users to find Reels that have utilized samples of any song.
And these new music effects do look interesting – but whether they’ll be a hit, and keep users from switching to TikTok instead… probably not.
That’s always been part of the problem with Instagram’s approach here, and Facebook’s more broadly – while they are able to create good-looking, even innovative visual tools and options, they tend to lack the cultural nous to catch onto new trends, and build tools that then lead to viral sharing and engagement.
Which is what I expect will happen here – these look pretty cool, and could, maybe catch on. But ultimately, TikTok’s robot voice captions will remain more popular, despite being far-less advanced, and TikTok or Snapchat will likely come out with another tool that looks less polished, and less advanced, but does essentially the same thing, and it will end up being a bigger hit.
Cultural awareness is key, and it’s difficult to hire for in tech roles. But as the trends keep showing us, again and again, it’s not just the best, most advanced features that win out, it’s those that catch on with users that drive the most awareness and value for apps.
Instagram’s new music features are being rolled out from this week, while its collaboration tools are now being tested with selected users.