Is Instagram really going after TikTok? Call me shocked and appalled – sarcasm alert.
Reels was response to the growing popularity of TikTok — which has surged in popularity over the last 12 months. According to research data from AdWeek, the percentage of US-based TikTok users aged between 25-34 increased from 22.4% in January to 27.4% in April, while the 18-24-year-old bracket fell from 41.1% to 35.3%
Imagine reels as the hybrid child of IGTV and Instagram stories. Instagram Reels can be shared on Instagram Stories, shared to users in DMS, or added to a new Reels tab on a user’s profile. Reels are dangerously similar to TikTok videos in their format. Users can record 15-second video clips set to music and share them to Stories. You can add your own soundtrack, specific songs and even a new suite of AR effect.
Seriously, the feeling of deja-vu has become staggering by now. The editing format of Reels will be found in the Stories tab, among other popular options such as ‘Create’, ‘Live’ or ‘Hands Free’. Top Reels will also collate all of the best-performing public Reels for an extra chance to go viral.
A few months back, Shops and Reels started taking up space in our Explore tabs. The takeover was official when both upgraded to their very own tabs. For both Shop and Reels this is huge — why is that, you may ask? Because it shows that Instagram is highly capitalising on both features.
What does this mean for you, as a brand?
Think about introducing more Reels content into your own strategy. Very similar to TikTok in the look and feel, Reels is a great way to create 15 to 30-second snippets of videos. From introducing team members to FAQs and product launches, Reels are incredibly versatile in the format.
How to post Instagram Reels
- Open the Stories tab and select the Reels option at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap on the Audio option and select the song to play in the background of the video, or use original audio by recording a video using your own phone. You can either upload a video or record by pressing the button.
- Add AR effects or edit the video using Timer, Speed, and Edit options on the left-hand side.
- After creating the video, you can share it with just your followers or everyone on Instagram.
How to View Reels
- Open Instagram and browse your feed till you spot any Reels video. You will see the Reels icon on the bottom-left of the video. Tap that icon and it’ll take you to Reels only. The video will keep looping until you swipe down to watch more videos.
- If you’ve posted Reels, you can also watch Reels by going to your profile page and tapping the Reels icon, the same for any other profile you follow.
- You can also watch Instagram Reels is to go to the Explore feed on Instagram by tapping the magnifying glass icon. You’ll see a Reels video featured at the top. Tap Reels and swipe down to watch more Reels videos.
How Instagram is upping the game
The folks at Instagram (and Facebook) are smart, I will give you that. Bringing as many features together to allow creators to express themselves in a variety of ways has been something that has constantly pushed them ahead of the curve.
Would this new feature be the end of TikTok? It is clearly too early to tell. Yet, as so many people are going back to their normal routine, it will be interesting to see how TikTok usage will shift in the coming months.
Only time will tell, yet I am excited to see what is coming next.
Are you new to TikTok? Find out more about why everyone is obsessed with it here.
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My name is Fab Giovanetti and I am a writer, author, marketing consultant, founder of the Creative Impact Group and professional troublemaker. I help people grow their online audience and monetise their content and unleash their potentials as creatives.