What Can We Learn From Instagram Rolling Back "TikTok Style" Changes

William Meller - What Can We Learn From Instagram Rolling Back "TikTok Style" Changes
Following criticism from influencers, celebrities, and the general public, Instagram is rolling back some product changes.

The company said today that it has decided to roll back recent changes after a week of mounting criticism. 

The full-screen version of the app will be phased out over the next two weeks, and Instagram will also reduce the number of recommended posts as it improves its algorithms.

Rather than further innovating in the image space, Instagram seems to have gone on the defensive to build a multimedia presence and counter the mercurial rise of TikTok and video-based content.” - Kokil Jaidka, an assistant professor of communications and new media at the National University of Singapore, told VICE in this article.

Users have spent the last week complaining that those changes made the app seem too much like TikTok.

This is not the first time, right? Stories were implemented after trying to literally implement the Snapchat feature to the app.

Responding with Agility to the Fast Business Landscape

In uncertain, complex, and ambiguous operating environments, business agility is defined as agility in an organization's culture, leadership, strategy, and governance.

A company's agility is its ability to respond quickly and flexibly to customers' needs, adapt and lead change in a cost-effective and productive manner without compromising quality, and maintain a competitive advantage.

Businesses that are agile can respond quickly and effectively to opportunities and threats both internally and externally.

In today's world of constantly shifting customer expectations, that agility is vital for achieving consistent, sustainable growth.

"... Profit is like the air we breathe. We need air to live, but we don’t live to breathe..." - Frederic Laloux

One of the things you’ll notice when talking with organizations running initiatives to promote Business Agility is that most of them will begin focusing on the ‘Agility’ part and only then move on to the ‘Business’ part – meaning that they will prioritize the adoption of Agile practices within the IT teams and later on begin involving the Business Team.

That is why understanding how Value is generated in our organization is key. 

But what does it mean to be agile and assertive at the same time?

Canceling Changes Is Also Adapting Fast

The heart of business agility is no less than the very reason a company exists: the customer.

I’m glad we took a risk — if we’re not failing every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough,” Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in an interview. “But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. When we’ve learned a lot, then we come back with some sort of new idea or iteration. So we’re going to work through that.

A redesign often incurs the wrath of users who are hostile to change, but Instagram's own internal data corroborates the dissatisfaction, Mosseri said. 

It is true that users are watching more videos, and that trend predates TikTok, he said. 

However, it's clear that Instagram's design changes are disliked by people.

For the new feed designs, people are frustrated and the usage data isn’t great,” he said. “So there I think that we need to take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward.

When you discover something in your field that you didn’t follow before, there should be a high bar — it should just be great,” Mosseri said. “You should be delighted to see it. And I don’t think that’s happening enough right now. So I think we need to take a step back, in terms of the percentage of feed that are recommendations, get better at ranking and recommendations, and then — if and when we do — we can start to grow again.” 

But Mosseri made clear that the retreat Instagram announced today is not permanent.

Analyzing sales and marketing data is a good way to understand your customers, but what you do with this data separates agile and adaptable organizations from the rest.

What Are The Key Lessons?

Business decisions need data - Data-driven decision-making (or DDDM) is the process of making organizational decisions based on actual data rather than intuition or observation alone. As a result, every industry strives to be data-driven in order to make quick and assertive decisions.

Connect with your customer and your competitor - Customers will show what they need as the next step in your product, while your competitors will show what is happening in the market around you. Too much focus on one can lead you to lose touch with the business you are trying to lead.

You can follow the market and/or define the market - You must understand the market and business you are playing if you want to lead the business game. You also need to innovate and offer something that people don't even know they need or want. It is a strategic decision.

"... Some people say to give the customers what they want, but that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, 'If I'd ask customers what they wanted, they would've told me a faster horse.' People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page..." - Steve Jobs

Employ all you have learned and apply it to your product in order to make your customers happy. 

As a result, customers value collaborative teams that gather better information and respond quickly to changing market conditions.  

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