Instagram has added Reels and Shop tabs in biggest redesign in years

Whether it's short clips or shopping, Instagram is trying to bring its latest and most lucrative features to the forefront of its platform.

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Starting today, Instagram is adding dedicated tabs for its TikTok-rivalling short clips feature called Reels, and another for shopping through the platform. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, explains that the new Reels and Shops tabs and accompanying home screens will enable Instagram users to browse viral clips and shop at their favorite brands and creator stores without having to dive deep into Instagram's menus.


Good feedback — The company says it's received positive feedback for these two features in test runs.

"We first launched Reels a few months ago – and we’ve already seen amazing reels from creators, like roller skating with @esty, comedy from @cameronjhenderson, motivation from @paperboytheprince, and wheelchair choreography from dance team @rolletes_la. Now, we’re rolling out the Reels tab to be a kind of a stage, a place where people can share their creativity with the world and have a chance to break out and find an audience," Mosseri explains.


With Shops, meanwhile, users will get personalized recommendations for new products, curated lists of editorial picks, and "shoppable videos."

Adapting under pressure — Instagram's Reels and Shops home screen tabs are part of its ongoing efforts to make the platform more user friendly. And, naturally, more profitable for the company Facebook famously acquired for $1 billion and then changed so much the founders distanced themselves from it.

In another move to entice users to stay longer on the network, Instagram introduced extensions for the Live feature. It's taken the previous one-hour limit for a live stream and cranked it up to four hours.

There's a commercial incentive behind wanting users to stay online for longer durations as concerts, literary readings, poetry sessions, cooking shows, and other series and events have turned to Instagram. It explains why, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic took off, Instagram reported a 70 percent spike in users relying on Instagram Live.

What Instagram says — In a press statement, Mosseri notes:

We don’t take these changes lightly – we haven’t updated Instagram’s home screen in a big way for quite a while. But how people create and enjoy culture has changed, and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too fast, but that we don’t change and become irrelevant. We’re excited about the new design and believe it gives the app a much-needed refresh, while staying true to our core value of simplicity.

Not too fond of options like Shops and Reels on the landing page? "We’ll continue listening to your feedback," Mosseri says, "so we can keep improving Instagram for you." Does that mean you'll be able to remove the new tabs? Not likely. But perhaps when the next big thing comes along and Instagram copies it, whatever it is will replace one of those tabs. You can't stop progress, after all.