Instagram Reels: What Brands Should Know

What is Instagram Reels?

Social media giant Instagram recently rolled out its newest feature: Reels. With this addition, users can now create, edit, and share short-form video clips of up to 30 seconds to a news feed within the app. Instagram is testing multiple placements of the Reels feed within the app interface. You may be able to access it from your home screen by tapping the “movie clapboard” icon, or you may have to navigate to the Explore tab by tapping the magnifying glass and select “Reels” from the lower-left corner of the dominant visual.

Where to access IG Reels

What Can You Do on Reels?  

Reels provide the ultimate creative outlet. After shooting a new video or uploading an old one, users can add filters, music, text, special effects, stickers, and audio to their Reel. Aside from creating, editing, and sharing your own videos on Reels, users can repost old videos, share educational content, showcase products or services, lead tutorials, show behind-the-scenes, announce brand news, take part in viral trends, and much more!

Find out how to get your brand ready for Instagram Reels.

How it is Different From Competitors?

Instagram’s Reels feature was created to take on the already established and incredibly successful TikTok app. While TikTok thrives on its popularity, simplicity, and ease of use, Instagram’s Reels has struggled to grab the attention of active users from their competition. Much of TikTok’s success can be attributed to its function as a standalone app. Instagram Reels, however, is built right into their platform as an additional feature, so finding and learning how to use it may take some time. As of now, the consensus is that TikTok has much more to offer as far as video editing, effects, and audio features go.

Instagram Reels vs TikTok visual comparison

There are some cases where Reels has an edge on TikTok. For example, Influencer Marketing Hub notes that “for Instagram influencers who already have a following on the app, Reels might be a better option than TikTok where it can be harder to gain and maintain traction.” In other words, if you have a strong existing following on Instagram, but no TikTok presence, it may make more sense to launch Reels for your audience rather than ‘starting from scratch’ with TikTok. However, if the past couple of months are any indication of longevity, it seems that TikTok is going to outperform Instagram Reels with its features and popularity for months to come.

Who is Successful on Reels?  

Brands across all industries have hopped on the Reels bandwagon. Reaching users that are already active on Instagram, many brands have been quick to capitalize on viral trends to entice user engagement. Twenty current NBA teams are actively using Instagram Reels since the feature launched in August 2020 according to Conviva. The same study has shown that these Reels using basketball franchises have seen a 22% higher engagement than the average standard Instagram post or story. One team, in particular, The Los Angeles Lakers, has the record for most activity on one Reel with more than 385,000 engagements and 4.1 million plays. Outside the sports world, designer brand Louis Vuitton pulls in an average of 7 million views across all their Reels. Make-up powerhouse Sephora averages 453,000 views on each of their Reels featuring tutorials, product demos, and even user-generated content. (stats here)

What are the Potential Implications for Brands?

Early Reels adopters can benefit from favorable exposure. Many social media platforms will prioritize content that is being created and used on their new feature. Some brands may even be able to capture a broader reach than before, as Reels content is often featured in the Explore tab. Social Media Examiner noted that users are even reporting higher reach and engagement on their Reels than other Instagram content, even when posting the same or similar videos.

Instagram Reels Example

Something else brands should be excited about is the ability to create retargeting audiences from Reels. While it is still new, Reels has yet to be monetized (meaning no ads are appearing in the Reels feed YET). For brands looking to grow their social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram, this is a great opportunity. Reels can be used to create video views custom audiences for retargeting, and ultimately lead to better, higher-quality views and engagements.

Should my Brand be Posting Reels?

In a perfect social media world, brands would ideally be creating content for all of Instagram’s placements – Reels / Stories / Posts / IGTV. Since that typically is not possible, brands must choose which placement they want to optimize their content for, and picking the right content for the right place is what marketing is all about. In general, if you have bite-size, mobile-friendly video, testing Reels could prove successful for the right brands.

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