Instagram will no longer be a platform for sharing photos, according to the head of the company. Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram at Instagram shared the insights in a series of social media posts outlining a shift away by the business from their original core function and instead see the space as a place people come “to be entertained”.

“We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app” said the Instagram exec, signalling a dedication to building features for its four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging.

The news is part of a broader commitment by the Facebook ecosystem to have a greater focus on these areas as well. At the end of June, Facebook announced it was launching four new ecommerce features, saying it was focused on introducing new ways for online retailers to get their products discovered by more customers and increase sales.

The features would be an improved experience on its existing ‘Shops’ offering, which was launched in May 2020 as a means to help small and medium sized businesses better take advantage of the two main platforms through a single online store across both Facebook and Instagram.

The company reports that 74% of people use Facebook platforms to discover brands or products online, so it makes sense to double down on the monetisation of that discovery. While announced by the parent company Facebook, the enhanced features will extend further into the ecosystem to include Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp as well.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the new offerings would also introduce personalised ads in its Shops service, based on users’ shopping behaviour.

The move comes at a time where Facebook has come under fire from US regulators over its acquisition of both Instagram and WhatsApp, with the U.S. Federal District Court dismissing two antitrust suits against Facebook, while still offering a path for both claims to return at a later date.

While Facebook has flexed hard in it’s roll out of shopping options for users, the social commerce space more broadly has become a full-on arms race between some of the most popular social media apps.

Sleeping giant Pinterest has rolled out its shopping list feature to more countries in an attempt to allow users to shop directly from ‘pins’ and ‘boards’ with Twitter pointing to ecommerce as an important avenue for future revenue, though without the same clear path for integration on its platform despite recent trials.

‘Flix And Fashion

It’s not just the social commerce which is booming, either. Entertainment giant Netflix recently announced it was venturing into the commerce space with the launch of its own standalone shopfront, will sell exclusive, limited editions of “carefully selected, high-quality apparel and lifestyle products tied to our shows and brand on a regular basis,” according to Josh Simon, Netflix’s VP of consumer products.

Rather than build it’s own digital infrastructure to handle ecommerce, Netflix has instead partnered with digital darling Shopify to develop and launch the ecommerce site.

While the company already has licensing deals for a broad range of products based on its original programming, sold through mainstream retailers such as Target, Walmart, Amazon, H&M, Sephora and other retailers, will now bypass these channels to go direct to consumers.

Netflix of course has its origins in a more traditional commerce setting, where customers could rent videos by selecting their choice online and have a disc delivered to their door. Twelve months later, Netflix introduced a more familiar model to what we know today, where customers could rent DVD’s online for a fixed subscription fee per month.

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