This may not be great news for TikTok.
Two months after launching its TikTok-like 'Reels' functionality to users in India, following the ban of TikTok in the nation, Instagram is now adding a new, dedicated Reels tab on the lower function bar of the app for Indian users.
As confirmed by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri:
"Today we're launching a separate tab for Reels in India given the momentum we're seeing in the country"
What, exactly, 'momentum' means in this context is unclear, as Instagram hasn't provided any definitive user numbers, but TikTok, reportedly, had around 200 million Indian users at the time that it was blocked, with many influencers largely reliant on the app for their outreach. As such, those creators need to head somewhere, and while other video apps have gained significant momentum in TikTok's place, Instagram Reels too could now also be a major player in the Indian market.
Which could make it much harder for TikTok to regain its footing in the region, if indeed it's allowed back in at some stage in future.
Interestingly, some German users have also reported having access to the new Reels tab in their Instagram app.
You can see the new Reels tab in this screenshot, posted by user Pavel Gurov.
Instagram has only officially announced that the tab is coming to Indian users, but Germany was one of the three nations where Reels was initially launched. Maybe, then, Instagram has been using it as a testing ground, which could point to the same coming to more regions in future.
That could provide more significant momentum for Reels, which has been met with largely poor reviews in the US.
I mean, most of the criticisms are that Reels is just a rip-off of TikTok, which Instagram has pretty much straight-up admitted, so that's no surprise. But many have also noted that it's an inferior version, and with TikTok still available, it seems that it's not losing any usage because of the Reels addition.
Not yet, at least. The best-case scenario for Facebook would see TikTok eventually banned in the US, at least for a period, which would then able Reels to take its place, and become a bigger focus. As it may well now be doing in India.
Again, we have no definitive user numbers, but Facebook says that it's seeing significant usage, and creators are seeing significant growth due to Reels clips.
A dedicated tab seems like the logical progression - while Instagram is also apparently testing a redesign of its camera which would make its various posting options more readily accessible.
You may not care about Reels so much now, but maybe, it could become the next big thing yet.