Instagram to Become a Direct Competitor to Pinterest
Social media giant Instagram appears to be positioning itself to go head-to-head with Pinterest as it files to go public. This is a very similar routine to the one which Instagram carried out against Snapchat, and there are clues which suggest a repeat performance is looming. A code has been discovered deep within Instagram which shows the company has developed an option for Android that will allow the creation of public Collections which can be contributed to by any number of users.
Instagram did launch a private Collections feature two years ago, which allowed users to save and organize their favorite posts, but with this new capability of making Collections public, Instagram sets itself up as a direct competitor for Pinterest. It is expected that public Collections offered by Instagram could trigger a whole new medium of curated content, for instance by having people use the feature to bundle together their favorite fashion items, works of art, travel destinations, and even favored memes.
This would reduce the volume of un-consented content stealing by providing an alternative to taking screenshots and re-posts of other people’s material. Rather than a simple expression involving your own content, you could attempt to express your identity via many of the things which are important to you, regardless of whether or not you actually photographed them. In light of the fact that Pinterest has an upcoming IPO valued at $12 billion, this competition with Instagram could be extremely problematic.
Why Instagram would launch public Collections
If Instagram were to roll out public Collections, it would facilitate a new kind of user engagement which would go far beyond simple sharing on users’ profiles. Just like Pinterest users, they would be able to build out their personal collections of posts which they like from across the entire site, and they would be able to save content from other accounts to augment their personal collections, all without re-posting.
This feature could also enhance their e-commerce functionality by providing companies with another method of fueling shopping habits and sales, which would take place directly via the app. Brands would have the ability to display curated collections of relevant posts, or posts which represented their brand particularly well.
What’s involved with public Collections?
The option was recently discovered by a specialist at TechCrunch, and even though it’s not available to the public, the Android code can be used to generate a realistic screenshot of the initial prototype. The prototype appears to have the ability to toggle on public visibility for any particular Collection and to tag all contributors who will be allowed to contribute to the Collection.
In the past, Collections was always a solo feature used to organize bookmarks which were gathered up through the Instagram Save feature that was launched late in 2016. In response to queries about the status of public Collections, Instagram delivered its standard response relative to products which are not yet available to the public and are still undergoing internal development.
In saying that they were not currently testing the feature, Instagram may have been indicating that it would still be a while before they concentrated on field-testing the new feature, and definitely longer than that before they could consider a rollout. It’s also possible that Instagram could scrap the feature and not allow it to go any further than its current internal status. However, it is a very logical option to provide users with so they can do more and share more on Instagram.
It also appears to provide some insight into the direction that Instagram is headed, recalling that in 2017 Facebook also launched a shareable Collections in the same style offered by Pinterest. There doesn’t appear to be anything in the Instagram for Android code regarding users having the capability of following each other’s Collections, although that would seem to be the most logical next step, as well as a very powerful improvement.
Instagram users already have the ability to follow hashtags, so they can see new posts associated with those hashtags get routed to their personal feeds. By providing a similar process for following Collections, many users could be converted into star curators without being forced to steal anyone else’s content. Interestingly, there was also some prototype code found on Instagram for IGTV picture-in-picture, which would allow you to continue watching a long-form video after having closed the app and gone on to something else.
Part of the big picture
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently commented that the long-term commerce strategy for Instagram might very well be fueled by Public Collections, as part of its broad approach to commerce. It has been reported that Instagram is working on a dedicated shopping app, and it’s known that the platform already has a personalized shopping feed in Explorer, so these Collections feature seems to be part of a bigger picture strategy.
It’s very easy to imagine magazines, brands, and fashion lovers all sharing their Collections of personal favorite shopping items which they’ve bought recently. For those who think the timing of this public Collections feature is too coincidental, it’s worth remembering that the platform rolled out its version of Snapchat Stories a mere six months prior to Snapchat going public. That move had the effect of slowing down Snapchat’s growth rate by a whopping 88%, and even two years after the fact, Snapchat is still not showing any signs of significant growth.
Its share price is also hovering at a mere one-third of its peak price. It’s true that Instagram is at least four times larger than Pinterest, having 500 million daily users and far above 1 billion users every month, and this new feature is bound to appeal to a whole range of current users on Instagram. Rather than trying to build a public Collections feature from scratch on Pinterest, loyal Instagram users are quite likely to make use of their Instagram account to build their own public Collections, because they already have the necessary tools and resources available to them.