TikTok’s Development of a Potential New App to Compete with Instagram

TikTok, the popular short-form video app, is reportedly developing a new still image app to rival Instagram. This news has caught the attention of eagle-eyed observers who spotted references to “TikTok Photos” within the app’s backend code. The code suggests that TikTok users will soon be prompted to share still images in the new app, with the goal of connecting with like-minded individuals who enjoy photo posts.

The potential launch of a TikTok competitor to Instagram has marketers excited about the prospect of reaching and connecting with Generation Z. TikTok has already gained immense popularity among this demographic, so if they were to introduce a still image app, it could offer marketers another valuable avenue to engage with this audience.

The hints of TikTok’s new app have been evident for some time. In 2022, the platform introduced a dedicated “photo mode” for still images in-stream. This feature allowed users to share carousel posts of still images accompanied by music. TikTok has been actively encouraging users to share more still images, claiming that this content has the potential to generate more comments, likes, and shares. Influencer marketing lecturer, Lia Haberman, shared a screenshot of a prompt on Threads that revealed TikTok’s in-app promotion of photo posts. The prompt claimed that compared to videos, photos could receive 2.9 times more comments, 1.9 times more likes, and 2.6 times more shares.

The timing of TikTok’s potential launch of a still image app is significant. China’s version of Instagram, Xiaohongshu, has experienced tremendous success after introducing eCommerce features to its app. In 2023, Xiaohongshu made over $500 million in profit and now boasts over 200 million users in China. Given this success, it makes sense for TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to tap into this market by creating a similar platform. Additionally, with the possibility of TikTok facing a ban in the U.S., ByteDance may be looking to accelerate the launch of a new platform before any potential ban takes effect.

Search Engine Land reached out to TikTok for comment on these developments, but the company has not responded at this time.

In conclusion, TikTok’s reported development of a still image app to compete with Instagram has generated excitement among marketers and observers. With TikTok’s popularity among Generation Z, the introduction of a rival app could provide marketers with another valuable channel to connect with this demographic. The hints and promotions of photo posts within TikTok’s existing app suggest that the company is actively working on this project. Furthermore, the success of Xiaohongshu in China and the potential ban of TikTok in the U.S. add further reasoning behind ByteDance’s decision to create a new platform. As we wait for an official announcement from TikTok, marketers and users alike can anticipate the impact that this potential new app will have on the social media landscape.

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