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The Scoop on Instagram Reels

The Scoop on Instagram Reels

Since launching in August, Instagram Reels has been building momentum. It still remains to be seen just how popular this feature will ultimately be.  Thus far, it has taken off with certain demographics more than others, but it does present an interesting opportunity to explore a new method of sharing content through Instagram. For those who still aren’t quite sure what Reels is, or those who just want to learn a bit more, we’ve got a full explainer of Instagram Reels: What it is, what it offers, and what to expect going forward.

The Basics 

Reels is essentially Instagram’s response to the massive popularity of TikTok.  It offers the same basic posting concept: short videos set to audio clips.  With Reels, videos can be up to 15 seconds long.  They can be shared on your grid just like a normal Instagram post or IGTV. Instagram also added a specific “Reels” space on the Explore page, so you can access popular Reels and see what others are posting.

How did Reels even come to be?  Well, at the time of its launch, Tik Tok was facing an uncertain future, with rumors of it being blocked or disabled in the United States swirling constantly.  TikTok’s position has since stabilized, with the impending sale of its American operations.  Reels could have filled the void that TikTok left, but now it is looking to instead compete with the popular app. 

Features 

Reels does offer some interesting features that differ from those available for standard Instagram posts and stories.  As we mentioned above, videos can be up to 15 seconds in length.  There is an extensive audio library, or users can choose to create their own custom audio clips.  Reels offers a timer for hands-free filming, which allows for more freedom to post things like dancing clips, which are popular on competitor TikTok.  Reels also offers the capability to splice together multiple video clips, and to align them for seamless transitions.  There are a multitude of AR filters to use on videos as well.  Finally, users are able to slow up or speed down their audio, videos, or both for creative effect.  

Current Trends and Uses 

In many ways, Reels is currently being used very similarly to the way TikTok is.  The same demographic is targeted, and similar types of videos are popular.  However, Instagram Reels is currently being dominated by verified users and large lifestyle bloggers.  The vast majority of content being shared on the Explore page is from these sources, so some users feel that the feature is being hogged or clogged up by these verified users.  This is likely an issue Instagram will need to address going forward for the feature to really grow in popularity.  

Outlook for Businesses 

So as a brand, could it be useful to get in the game early with Reels? Maybe.  It is hard to tell at this point whether Reels will really take off and gain the level of popularity seen by apps like TikTok.  It has not been around long enough or spread quickly enough to say with certainty that it is destined for success.  

However, Instagram’s track record with new features in the past does inspire some confidence and provide a reason to believe Reels will become relatively popular and successful.  Instagram has a history of successfully imitating ideas from other apps.  Instagram stories were mirrored after Snapchat, and now are an integral part of most Instagram users’ experience on the app.  Based on their history, we have reason to believe Reels is worth investing some time into as a brand.  Figure out how to best apply it to your brand and get in the game early, so you’re ready if and when it really takes off.

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