Meta’s efforts to match the popularity of TikTok by promoting short-form videos called Reels on its Instagram platform is falling short.
Although Reels is Meta’s fastest growing format for content, the amount of time Instagram users spend watching Reels is less than 10% of the time TikTok users spend watching videos on that platform, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (Sept. 12), citing a document published internally by Meta in August.
Beyond that, Reels engagement had fallen 13.6% in the four weeks before the document was published, per the report.
In addition, only about one in five creators on Instagram post on the platform at least once a month, according to the report.
“We still have some work to do,” Meta spokeswoman Devi Narasimhan said in the report. “But creators and businesses are seeing promising results, and our monetization growth is faster than we expected as more people are watching, creating and connecting through Reels than ever before.”
TikTok’s advantages in this arena include its platform being synonymous with short-form video and its strategy of showing users content recommended by an algorithm based on the sorts of videos they spend the most time watching. Meta, on the other hand, prioritizes content from their friends and those they follow, according to the report.
As PYMNTS reported in July, Instagram parent Meta debuted Reels on Facebook in 2021 and has been pushing video hard in response to the competition from TikTok.
However, users have complained about Instagram’s shift from images to videos.
Addressing these users, Instagram Head Adam Mosseri said in a video Tweet in July that the company will continue to support photos — which have been its heritage — but will move to video over time because that’s a trend that’s already happening, with or without the company encouraging it.
“If you look at what people like and consume and view on Instagram, that’s also shifting more and more to video over time,” Mosseri wrote. “So, we’re going to have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos.”