6 key takeaways from an interview with Instagram boss Adam Mosseri, from his approach to creators to the power of DMs and getting rid of features

  • Instagram’s new app, Threads, has dominated the discourse around Meta since its July 5 launch.
  • Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri sat down with venture capitalist Harry Stebbings in a recent podcast.
  • During the hour-long show, Mosseri touched on everything from Threads to paying creators.

Instagram and its top executive, Adam Mosseri, have been in the spotlight since the launch of Threads.

Mosseri, who has been on a media tour in conjunction with the launch of Meta’s latest app, was interviewed on a recent episode of the 20VC podcast by British venture capitalist Harry Stebbings.

“When you’re launching a new app, it’s always more likely to fail than succeed,” Mosseri said on the podcast.

Fortunately for Instagram, the launch went better than expected — even though usage and downloads have recently slowed.

“We’re very good at optimizing things, and we’re willing to go and adopt that format if we think it’s going to become an industry standard,” Mosseri said, citing Instagram’s stories feature as an example, which nearly every social platform has adopted at some point, from Pinterest to LinkedIn. “Part of our DNA is competitiveness — we are always concerned that the world will change around us and we will not change quickly enough to keep up.”

Mosseri shared several insights into his work on Instagram during the episode, from discussing how his previous life as a bartender influences his work in tech to why Threads’ release was rushed.

Here are 6 key takeaways from 20VC’s podcast episode with Instagram’s Adam Mosseri:

  • Behind the scenes, internal debates and shifted timelines shaped the launch of Threads. According to Mosseri, there were numerous internal discussions about Threads, including whether the app should import the same followers from Instagram and whether the app should be integrated into the Instagram app or stand alone. Mosseri said on the podcast that Mark Zuckerberg was “by far the most convicted” about launching Threads as a separate app. “We had actually wanted to launch earlier,” Mosseri explained. “The partnerships team had already engaged everyone and then we had to postpone, so they were ready at a moment’s notice.” We had hoped to arrive in time for VidCon.” Even after the official release date was set for July 6, release complications involving app store pre-orders and timing forced a change, with the company deciding to move the launch day up to July 5. Mosseri went on to say that the early-access period for creators and public figures in Threads was supposed to last much longer than the 40 hours it did.
  • Creators are still a top priority for Instagram. “We care about young people the most, and creators the most,” Mosseri said on the show. Creators, he claims, are a “bellwether” for the health and success of the apps he manages. That was especially true in Threads’ early days, according to him. He also stated that he understands that social media is a business for many creators, and that Meta has been “trying to figure out ways to support those businesses” for some time. “But I think you can’t just pay everybody who’s a creator, because if there’s tens of millions of creators, that just adds up to money, and that’s going to completely destroy your business model,” he added. This is why Instagram has increased its efforts to provide creators with “tools” to help them make money, such as subscriptions and the facilitation of brand deals. Instagram has yet to pay creators for posting on Threads, and Mosseri has stated that payment is not always a “scalable” measure. “As soon as you start, it’s a very slippery slope,” he explained.
  • Instagram seems pleased with the success of reels. According to Mosseri during the podcast, the short-form video feature accounts for nearly half of the time spent on the app. However, Mosseri pointed out that the reels feature isn’t yet as good as TikTok. “We’re catching up,” he said, later in the podcast adding that TikTok was the “most well-executing competitor we’ve ever faced.”
  • Reels were initially tested as a feature for Instagram stories. In fact, prior to the launch of Instagram reels in 2020, Mosseri stated that the team had “lost a whole year” working on a version of reels built on top of the stories feature. “This may be one of my biggest regrets,” Mosseri admitted. “It just didn’t seem to work.” Why? People post so much to stories on a daily basis that posting short-form video content there is unlikely to be seen, according to Mosseri.
  • Threads isn’t the only important conversation-focused feature for Instagram — DMs are also more important than ever. Mosseri is looking beyond TikTok to another competitor: encrypted messaging platform Telegram. According to Mosseri on the podcast, the majority of Instagram’s growth has come from stories and direct messages. Mosseri stated that he has shifted resources to messaging. “Actually, I think I put the entire stories team on messaging a couple years ago,” Mosseri added. DMs are also very important for younger users. “If you look at how teens spend their time on Instagram, they spend more time in DMs than in stories, and they spend more time in stories than they do in feed,” Mosseri explained. Young users under the age of 20 are also actively using Instagram’s Notes feature (think AIM status in the year 2000), sparking new conversations and driving up overall engagement on the app among teens, according to Mosseri. “But, the thing is, we’re not a messaging app,” Mosseri clarified.
  • Prepare to say goodbye to some Instagram features in the near future (but don’t start crying just yet, because you likely won’t miss any of them). Mosseri favors simplicity and admits that the Instagram app is bloated with too many features. Mosseri stated that he has discussed this with Instagram leaders such as its head of design and product leads, even suggesting that staff resources be dedicated to unshipping — aka removing — features that “aren’t used that much or don’t create that much value,” so that the Instagram team can “proactively look for opportunities to consolidate things to make them simpler and easier to use.” He mentioned an Instagram feature that was discontinued years ago, the activity feed, where we could once stalk our friends’, foes’, and exes’ likes on the app.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply