Meta has a lot of catching up to do: internal documents reveal how Instagram Reels is really doing compared to TikTok

There is no doubt that Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg feels threatened by TikTok. The short-video app has grown rapidly in recent years, and according to eMarketer, the average user in the United States spent nearly 40 minutes a day on the app last year, up to 10 minutes more than users spend on Instagram.

Instagram Reels is losing out to TikTok

Mark Zuckerberg is betting the social media giant's short-term future on Instagram Reels, the short-video feature he's offering as the company's answer to rival platform TikTok.

The company's internal research shows that Meta has some catching up to do. Instagram users cumulatively spend 17.6 million hours a day watching Reels, less than one-tenth of the 197.8 million hours TikTok users spend each day on the platform, according to a paper reviewed by The Wall Street Journal that summarizes Meta's internal research.

The paper, titled "Creators x Reels State of the Union 2022," was published internally in August. It reported that Reels engagement was declining - down 13.6% from the previous four weeks - and that "most Reels users have no interaction at all."

One reason for this is that Instagram is having trouble recruiting people to create content. Roughly 11 million creators are on the platform in the U.S., but only about 2.3 million of them, or 20.7%, post on it each month, according to the paper.

An expanded version of this story can be found at WSJ.com.

TikTok is the app where people spend the most time on average

In the chart above, we see that the average time spent in minutes for U.S. adult users using TikTok is 45.8 minutes per day, which is equivalent to YouTube alone. The most significant increase that TikTok achieved was during the pandemic. That's when TikTok got the biggest push.

The reason is obvious. Because of the closures and the pandemic, daily lives came to a halt. There wasn't much going on in our regular lives, so people started looking for entertainment and content. They quickly looked at the entire content library of streaming service platforms like Netflix, they started looking for different content, content from people they didn't know, and that's where TikTok filled a need.

A possible ban on TikTok in the U.S.

In September 2020, Donald Trump wanted to ban TikTok in the US (or at least do it in a way that would require parent company Bytedance to sell its US business to a US company). Since Biden became president, this ban has not come into force, but the problem is still there.

https://twitter.com/RihardJarc/status/1542239089805725696

TikTok has a problem with its connection to China. Specifically, Commissioner Brendan Carr sees the platform as a way for China to obtain and use information from US citizens. That's why, in late June this year, he called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores. Although neither company has done so, the Senate is still seeking a federal investigation into it. There is therefore a fairly high chance that TikTok will be banned in the US sooner or later.

DISCLAIMER: All information provided here is for informational purposes only and is in no way an investment recommendation. Always do your own analysis.

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