Instagram is planning a user experience (UX) change sometime in February that will de-emphasize direct ecommerce on the app. In a blog post, the Meta (Facebook) owned social media giant said it will change the app’s “navigation to make it easier for people to share and connect with their friends and interests.”
Instagram will adjust the navigation bar at the bottom of the app by removing the Shop tab, moving the Reels tab to the right, and adding a new shortcut for creating content in the center. (See the yellow boxes at the bottom of this mockup graphic)
The company added the Shop tab in 2020 to expand Instagram into having a marketplace-like social commerce shopping experience.
Shopping through Instagram will still be possible, and users can continue to set up and run shops on the social media platform.
But this UX shift confirms reporting by The Information from last year that the company was drastically scaling back its shopping features to focus on driving advertising revenue from ecommerce on its platform.
An internal memo to staffers supposedly said that Instagram’s existing Shop page would eventually disappear, “given shifts in company priorities.”
These priorities appear to focus on boosting its short video platform Reels, which according to one study shows a 35% higher engagement rate than other content types.
Instagram to Become ‘Safer’ Alternative to TikTok?
Investing in Reels also helps Instagram to better compete with TikTok, which may encourage more advertising on its platform from businesses that are hesitant about using or advertising on TikTok.