Back in August, Instagram announced their TikTok competitor, Reels. Reels mimics the short-video format of TikTok (owned by Chinese company, ByteDance) which allows users to duet and record their own content with original or sponsored audio soundtracks. Reels’ debut came as President Donald Trump threatened to ban the Chinese-owned app in the United States over concerns it could be a national security and foreign policy risk following India and preceding Pakistan’s attempts.
How does it work?
Instagram Reels lives inside the Stories format that is already embedded into the platform which can be found as the middle icon in the newest Instagram update. When scrolling through your home feed or Explore page, you'll be able to tell which posts are Reels through an icon in the lower left-hand corner or when browsing a profile, an icon on the upper right-hand corner of a feed post or by navigating to the Reels section. To create a reel, you can search for a song from the Instagram music library or recod your own audio. Feel free to choose from the many Augmented Reality (AR) effects provided by original creators and designers from all over the world with the ability to use multiple effects within each clip! Choose different speeds and alignments for eye-catching transitions all from recorded series of clips or video uploads from your camera roll.
What if I’m already on TikTok?
The great thing about Reels is that is also allows you to repurpose your TikTok content on the platform! Instagram Reels uses the same ad specs as TikTok with same ability to find popular audio offerings or just use your own. Since Reels is fairly new, you may find that there are some discrepancies between the platforms. For instance, you can’t edit a caption after you’ve uploaded your Reel, and previews only show one line of text, so be careful if you have a long CTA.
How can I use it for my business?
Right now, Reels is a great organic opportunity to promote new product launches, existing items, ideas and engagement. Instagram is heavily prioritizing Reels in the Newsfeed portion of the app, so you want to get creative and upload your next video as soon as possible. If your business account is public, Reels can be shared to the Explore feed to make it easier for people who don’t already follow you to find your page. Plus, unlike Stories, this type of content isn’t just limited to your followers! This can go a long way when looking to your community management and customer relationship strategies on the platform. As always, share tips, tutorials, showcase products and partner with influencers to maximize your reach before Reels gets saturated. Instagram also boasts a diverse audience with 72% of people aged 13-17, 67% of people aged 18-29 and 47% of people aged 30-49, according to Sprout Social, whereas TikTok is primarily focused on 16- to 24-year-olds, which make up 41% of users on the app.
Reels has not started Alpha or Beta testing paid media integrations inside Ads Manager with Facebook, so we don’t know the specific types of paid offerings yet, but our Partnership Manager tells us we can hope to see this sometime soon in early 2021.