Instagram Reels Will Derail TikTok’s Momentum
Facebook dumps Lasso, an obsolete TikTok lookalike app to make way for another inspired Instagram video feature
Only recently, Facebook’s Lasso rolled out notifications to perhaps the very few active users and informed them that the app would be shutting down after the 10th of July.
For the uninitiated Facebook Lasso was a TikTok clone released in 2018 with a goal to compete with the viral social media app. It wasn’t Mark Zuckerberg's only attempt at capitalizing on a popular app as the Silicon Valley giant is known for blatantly ripping-off features and ideas from rival platforms, be it from Snapchat or when it introduced the new Facebook Messenger Rooms — a mix and match of Houseparty and Zoom.
Barring Instagram Stories which arguably is a better clone of Snapchat, Facebook has only seen colossal failures when it tries to copy other apps, with Lasso being the latest addition to the feather.
As Facebook dumps Lasso, one would think that they’ve finally thrown in the towel in its war against TikTok.
But there’s always more than what meets the eye and the above announcement by Facebook has come right at the heels of Instagram’s new Reels feature.
Instagram Reels was introduced at the end of 2019 in Brazil and without a doubt is heavily inspired by TikTok. Facebook certainly has bigger plans this time around as it gears up to expand Reels worldwide. Going by the looks and timing of this launch, there are more than a few reasons to believe that Instagram Reels might just give TikTok a stiffer competition.
Reels Would Immensely Benefit From The Instagram Brand
As history already shows, Facebook hasn’t had much success with independent apps outside of Whatsapp and Instagram( though both of them were acquisitions).
From Slingshot, a Snapchat rip-off, to Bonfire, and Facebook Places which were heavily inspired by HouseParty and Foursquare respectively, the company has only ended up shutting down each of their standalone apps.
This makes the inclusion of the Reels feature under Instagram, a safer bet from Facebook’s perspective. Instagram for long has been the most popular application amongst young users and Facebook has heavily relied on it for expanding the business.
Reels would not only benefit from the million active users of Instagram but could also leverage the new in-app IGTV monetization services to attract audiences right from day one thereby giving TikTok a good run for its money.
The Timing of Instagram Reels Expansion Couldn’t Be Better As India Bans TikTok
India has just banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps citing privacy and surveillance issues as the data was transmitted to servers outside the country.
While it’s understandable that the recent border tensions between India and China might have played a big role in the ban, but the void left by TikTok’s disappearance could be a blessing in disguise for Instagram Reels.
India provides a huge user base for social media apps and was TikTok’s biggest market outside China. The content-creators who were earlier busy making their 15-second videos are now on the hunt for other platforms.
The launch of Instagram’s Reels feature in India(which as per rumors is being quietly tested) would present the perfect opportunity for Facebook to capture and capitalize on the video content creation market and derail TikTok’s momentum.
The Instagram Reels expansion might not be that smooth as the parent company continues to face anti-trust scrutiny concerns. Also, the recent advertisement boycotts could spell trouble for the social media giant leading to revenue dips and perhaps bigger repercussions as well.
However, the brand Instagram would ensure, Reels gets a headstart in what clearly looks like Facebook’s second attempt at beating TikTok in its own game.
It’ll be interesting to see how Reels blends between Instagram Stories and IGTV.