Instagram Reels is finally here, after tests in Brazil, France, Germany and India, it has launched in over 50 countries, including the US, UK, Japan and Australia. Time to get up to speed with everything we know so far about the new Instagram feature.
It’s the new home for short-form video
Similar to TikTok, Reels lets users create and post up to 30-second video clips using editing tools that include AR effects, a countdown timer, a new align tool and, of course, music. But unlike TikTok, clips can’t exceed 30 seconds.
There are now four ways to upload video on Instagram:
They’re given pride of place on the Explore page
You’ll notice that your Explore page has a new look which puts Reels front and centre. Instagram’s choice of Reels now take up the majority of your phone screen when you hit the Explore tab, giving brands and creators a huge incentive to jump on the new feature. It also gives Instagram users an opportunity to discover Reels from Instagram’s community of over one billion people and get inspired to make their own.
You can record your own audio
If you do this, other users will also be able to use your audio clip in their own videos. If you want to use audio from another creators video, simply tap ‘use audio’ when viewing the clip. This is another feature that is similar to TikTok and helped kickstart many challenges there.
You can send them to friends directly
Users have the option to send Reels to their friends on Instagram directly. You can also save them to your camera roll, with sound if you have uploaded your own sound, or without sound if you used something from Instagram’s library.
You can’t view them on desktop yet
But this might just be temporary.
Captions are still important
Instagram said #dance #humour and #fitness were some of the most frequently used hashtags in their test countries. Just like posts and Stories, adding hashtags will help you Reels be discovered by a wider audience.
You’ll be able to access analytics
The data currently available is the number of people that viewed your Reel and the number of people that commented, helping you to know what performed best.
Brands don’t have access to music
Business accounts don’t have access to the same music creators and personal accounts do “due to commercial music rights restrictions”. Another reason they might look to influencers to create content on their behalf!
Everyone’s debating whether it can rival TikTok
Our Co-Founder Aaron Brooks shared his thoughts with AdNews:
“TikTok has a very loyal, very dedicated user base and they’re not easily swayed, as Facebook found when Lasso failed to set the world alight. TikTok became popular because it offered a point of difference, both in its functionality and in its aesthetic. Instead of the picture perfect social media we were used to, it was about fun and challenges. It offered something new and built a whole ecosystem around that. It continues to serve that corner of the market well.
“Right now, it’s hard for new platforms to make an impact as the ‘social media tree’ covers all the bases. But it would be unwise to write it off too quickly. Or mention Facebook’s Lasso failure without acknowledging how many Snap users converted to Instagram Stories.”
“Ultimately there are two big factors that could help Reels become a competitor. The first is the obvious ban threat which is looming over TikTok. If users can’t get their fix, they may seek the most obvious alternative.
“The second is brand opportunity. While TikTok has been slow to give brands shoppable options, Instagram has forged the way with features that make it a marketers best friend. They’ll likely prioritise the same brand functionality with Reels, but whether they get a big enough audience to make it worth their while remains to be seen.”