What Would You Do - Where did Instagram go wrong?

You may have heard that Instagram is getting a lot of criticism for trying to be too much like TikTok. Users of the platform are not happy and Meta (IG’s parent company) says they’re listening and are willing to make changes, but is it too late?

Did they already miss the window of opportunity to get user feedback to inform the platform’s future experience?

If you were the PM for Instagram, how would you have approached evolving the platform to make it more engaging versus copying another platforms UX/UI?

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This is a great topic @Marjorie! Thanks for starting this thread

I don’t think it’s too late for them to iterate and step back to regroup and listen to understand why their users go to their platform and what needs they’re fulfilling.

At the same time, I wonder how PMs at that scale would conduct user research for a platform that is popular with so many users from across the world with different needs, backgrounds, age groups, and so on…

I’d love to hear product opinions on this!

@RayoJoy - as a product leader I would love to hear your thoughts on this, as well!


Hi there! Thanks for reaching out, I’m happy to share my insights :slight_smile:

I believe there are lots of ideas waiting to be discovered and explored. I am not a user of TikTok so I can’t really say much about Instagram’s attempt to imitate TikTok, what I would say is that, it’s never too late to re-invent Instagram through user feedback and idea generation in order to boost its user appeal and engagement

I would examine Instagram holistically, i.e. internally and externally. On a high level I would identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the brand. It has a strong global brand, great capacity for content creation; advertorials and marketing, and a mass appeal especially among the younger generation, but there is also intense competition from rivals like TikTok, SnapChat, etc

From an external perspective, I would review measurement metrics like engagement, conversion, customer care, revenue and growth metrics

I would examine Instagram in relation to its major competitors. Who are its competitors users? what are they doing differently? what are their users complaining about?

I would look at the needs of Instagram users and how the needs are evolving especially with the lifestyle changes that have happened since the pandemic
I would segment our users based on geographic location and demographic segments. Send out surveys and conduct interviews to re-discover their needs. For example as an instagram user, one of the things that would be nice to have is the ability to edit a comment after it has been posted

I would identify and analyze trends locally, nationally and globally and how they affect users

I would look at the latest economic, social, political, technological and environmental regulations and factors that affects use of social media

I would also brainstorm for fresh ideas from other sources

Based on my findings from all this research and analysis, I would be able to give specific suggestions to senior leadership that can improve Instagram’s brand and appeal

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I love this thoughtful and measured approach you’ve laid out here @RayoJoy!


Thank you Marjorie. It was a pleasure!

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