Social media

Instagram’s Experimenting With a New Way to Engage with Trending Memes

Instagram’s keen to tap into the power of participatory content, as an avenue to get more people posting more often, this time via popular memes, and making them easier to interact with in the app.

Instagram meme stickers

As you can see in this screenshot example, posted by app researcher Radu Oncescu, Instagram’s working on a new “Memes” option within its Reels editing tools, which would enable you to add popular meme elements into your clips.

Instagram meme stickers

The meme option would give you access to a range of popular, animated meme elements, which could then be overlaid on your Reels to give them a more topical, engaging element.

Instagram meme stickers

That could be a popular option, providing a simple way for users to engage with trending meme templates. I mean, IG would also have to keep updating the listing regularly, in order to keep it relevant, but it could be another way to prompt more original posting, by streamlining the connection between users and meme culture.

Which is not overly surprising. Back in December, Instagram added “Stories Templates”, which it described as giving users a means to create their own “meme-able” interactive Stories elements, as a means to drive more engagement.

Instagram Add Yours Templates

The push towards participatory memes has actually been led by TikTok, which has made it easier for people to add their own takes on trends, via Duets and other options that are aligned with content creation. And because TikTok is generally aimed at public posting, it also gives people a means to gain more exposure in the app, which IG doesn’t naturally facilitate with its more enclosed, connections-based networks.

But Instagram’s trying to fix that. Because while usage of IG is on the rise, posting of original content is in decline, meaning that while people are watching more video content in the app, they’re less and less inclined to add their own stuff. In the short term, this likely isn’t a problem, as more time spent equals more ad exposure, and more revenue opportunities for Meta. But if creators stop posting, that leaves less original content for IG to get users hooked, while Meta also knows that it’ll need creators to power its Metaverse project, if that’s ever to take off.

So it also needs participatory content, which is why it’s looking to facilitate more sharing, and more engagement in its apps.

Highlighting trending memes could be another pathway on this, and it does seem like a good way to prompt more usage.     

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