Instagram Gives Reels, Shop Permanent Spots On Nav Bar

By 11/12/2020
Instagram Gives Reels, Shop Permanent Spots On Nav Bar

Instagram has officially given Reels, its TikTok copycat, and ecommerce hub Shop permanent places on its navigation bar.

“This update represents how young people and creators are using Instagram and engaging with the world,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said on Twitter. “This year we’ve seen an explosion in short, entertaining videos. We’ve also seen more people buying online and looking to creators for shopping recommendations.”

Shop—where users can browse a range of products from Instagram’s brand partners—was introduced in May, and up till September was embedded within Instagram’s Explore tab. In September, Instagram gave it and Reels their own tabs as part of a global test to see whether users would embrace a revamp of the app’s long-unchanged nav deck.

Now, the full rollout sees Reels take center stage in the new bar. It’s in the spot where Compose used to be, while Shop has replaced the heart-shaped Activity button. (Neither Compose nor Activity are gone; they’ve been relocated to the upper right-hand corner.) Replacing Instagram’s core Compose button with Reels seems a clear attempt to push users toward the nascent video vertical. Not surprising, as Reels is–at least for now–very stripped down, and has reportedly struggled to entice people who are used to TikTok’s vast suite of editing tools and other capabilities. Meanwhile, giving Shop nav bar placement is just another step in Instagram’s pursuit of ecommerce, which is–at least for now–a noticeable weak point of TikTok’s.

Like it’s done before, Instagram touted Reels by naming a handful of popular creators who are using it, including @esty (71.3K followers), @cameronjhenderson (984K), @paperboytheprince (35K), and wheelchair dance team Rollettes (63.4K).

“We don’t take these changes lightly,” Mosseri said. “How people create and enjoy culture has changed and our biggest risk is not that we change too fast but that we don’t change and become irrelevant.”

The new nav bar is live to all iOS and Android users.