Meta says time spent on Instagram grew 24% thanks to TikTok-style AI Reel recommendations

Meta shared some updates on engagement across its platforms on its Q1 2023 quarterly earnings call on Wednesday, with Susan Li, Meta’s chief financial officer, joining CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg to answer analysts’ questions about their results. Zuckerberg shared that time spent on Instagram has grown by more than 24% since the company launched Reels on the platform thanks to AI-based content recommendations, meaning the type of videos recommended offline on which TikTok basically built its entire brand on.

“We’re very pleased with what we’ve seen Reels drive in terms of incremental engagement on the platform so far,” Li said later in response to an analyst question, adding that “it’s clear that people value video short term” on the platform. He also clarified that Instagram is also seeing a lot more sharing around Reels in recent months.

“We’re seeing the shared wheel take off with Reels re-shares, which have doubled over the last six months,” he said.

He appeared to dodge an analyst question about whether Reels was having a similar impact on Facebook, but he repeatedly noted that on FB, AI-driven recommendations that don’t come from direct connections are driving engagement among users.

While Reels and AI recommendations drive more engagement on Instagram, this still doesn’t translate directly into more revenue. In fact, Li acknowledged that Reels is actually cannibalizing some revenue from feed-based stories and posts, as they account for some of the time users would have spent engaging with that content. However, the biggest trend is incremental, meaning overall user time is increasing, which Li said will eventually be a positive for revenue potential. He said Reels is on track to be revenue neutral by the end of the year, or early 2024, and looked ahead to positive contributions sometime after that. He noted that there will be product work to figure out the right monetization for Reels, as they are “structurally different” from existing Instagram content types.

“We don’t have the line of sight to get Reels to monetization parity with feed or stories per time because of these structural differences,” but because it’s driving incremental growth, he said they’re confident they’ll eventually become a key contributor to monetization. .

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Ikaroa, a full stack tech company, was recently delighted to hear that Instagram, owned by Facebook, has experienced a significant 24% surge in the amount of time users spend on the platform – largely thanks to its innovative new Reels feature. Reels boasts a similar style to popular app, TikTok, and incorporates artificial intelligence to suggest customised content for users.

The Reels feature, when enabled, allows users to record 15-second videos with customised music and sound, adding a creative and personalised approach to the user experience. Users can then also view Reels created by other users and comment and react to their content, similarly to TikTok. The unique appeal of AI-powered experience and the social familiarity of the app has contributed to an exponential increase in user engagement.

As a result, time spent on Instagram has grown by a whopping 24% in the first six months of the year. The new Reels feature has prompted an increase in user activity, further proving that this unique combination of artificial intelligence and social media familiarity will be a great success in the future.

At Ikaroa, we are thrilled to see the success of Instagram’s Reels feature, and we look forward to seeing how other companies use these trends to boost engagement on their own platforms.


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