TikTok reportedly developing new app to rival Instagram

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TikTok reportedly developing new app to rival Instagram

TikTok is reportedly developing a new still image app to compete with Instagram.

Eagle-eyed observers have spotted new references to “TikTok Photos” within the back-end code of the app.

The code appears to suggest that TikTok users will soon start receiving prompts, encouraging them to share still images in the new app to “reach like-minded people who enjoy photo posts,” according to The SpAndroid.

Why we care. If TikTok were to launch a rival to Instagram, it could offer marketers another chance to reach and connect with Gen Z, given TikTok’s popularity among this demographic.

Launching soon? In the backend code of TikTok, developers have spotted a new welcome message hinting at the possible existence of the reported Instagram competitor, that reads:

  • “TikTok Photos will be launched soon, we hope to help you gain new audiences in the new app. If the switch is on, we’ll sync your public photos to the new app, whether you close the pop-up or not.”

Hints. The news comes after TikTok launched a dedicated “photo mode” for still images in-stream in 2022. The platform said at the time:

  • “Photo Mode allows you to share carousel posts of still images that automatically display one after another. You can add music to soundtrack the images, which viewers can swipe through at their own pace.”

More recently, TikTok has also been encouraging users to share more still images, teasing this content has the potential to generate more comments, likes and shares. Lia Haberman, influencer marketing lecturer at UCLA, shared a screenshot of the prompt on Threads:

Haberman then commented:

  • “TikTok is running an in-app promo encouraging people to post photos, which they claim, compared to videos, can get: 2.9x more comments 1.9x more likes 2.6x more sharesInteresting move for the app formerly known as the short-form video app.”
  • “Once I posted this on LinkedIn and Twitter people told me their carousels are performing really well so I guess the algorithm boost really does help.”

Why now? Xiaohongshu, China’s version of Instagram, has notably been doing extremely well after introducing eCommerce features to the app. In 2023, the platform made over $500 million in profit, way more than expected, and now has over 200 million users in China. Given its success, it makes sense that ByteDance, the company behind TikTok which is based in Beijing, is working on a similar platform to tap into this market.

Moreover, with TikTok facing a possible ban in the U.S., it’s logical for ByteDance to accelerate the launch of a new platform before any potential ban takes effect.

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What TikTok is saying. TikTok did not immeidately respond to Search Engine Land’s request for comment.

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