Instagram is considering giving precious real estate on the app’s navigation bar to Shopping and Reels, the feature made to rival TikTok.
The company has started testing out a new layout for the app, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said Wednesday on Twitter. All three options for the horizontal menu would include the addition of two new tabs that would either replace existing icons or get added onto the bar.
The new tabs will be for two features Instagram has invested time and change into in 2020. Notably, the format change gives Reels, which was just released globally in August, center stage on the platform. The newly released Reels features are meant to rival the massive success of TikTok’s short-form video model, offering users the same music-based, mashed-together clips found on — and often ripped directly from — TikTok. A recent survey from content company Whistle found that 87% of the TikTok users said Reels was “basically the same.”
Meanwhile, the Shopping tab would serve as a homebase for the app’s e-commerce features that allow brands and businesses to sell products on their profiles, which users can buy right from the app. Although these shoppable features have existed since 2018, Instagram loosened restrictions on Shopping in July to allow any user with a business or creator account to turn their profile into profit.
Adding the Shopping feature to the home page would allow Instagram to put even more emphasis on its attempts to attract retail business and capitalize on the rich industry of influencers on the platform selling merchandise, artwork, and other products.
The emphasis on Reels, however, comes as TikTok’s future in the US is threatened and debated. Although it’s likely the app will not be banned in the US, the app faces turmoil over its potential buyer and what a sale could mean for the app’s coveted “For You” page algorithm.
An Instagram spokesperson told Business Insider that the platform will start testing these changes “in the coming weeks globally to a small number of people in our community.”