There’s a new short-video game in town, and it’s called Instagram Reels. Similar to TikTok, Reels gives content creators a more dynamic way to entertain and engage audiences. And since many brands already have a presence on the platform, it makes sense to consider Instagram Reels for marketing to your followers and beyond.
What Is Instagram Reels, Exactly?
Instagram Reels is a feature of the Instagram platform that enables users to record and edit short videos up to 15 or 30 seconds in length. Reels can be a single video or multiple video clips, set to music, and use creative AR effects. Users can share Reels to followers, Stories, and the Explore Feed.
Why Use Instagram Reels for Marketing?
It’s worth giving Reels a try as part of your social media strategy. As it is, Instagram has more than 1 billion active users. This is a sizable audience to reach, and if you already publish to Instagram, then this is a nice extension to that work.
Another plus to using Instagram Reels for your marketing is these short videos reach not only your followers, but also the wider IG community if you have a public account. Once it appears in the Explore tab (tap the magnifying glass in the main navigation), Reels puts you in front of users you wouldn’t have access to in your regular Feed.
Here’s what the Explore tab looks like, with Reels prominently displayed from the very beginning:
Reels also have a longer lifetime, so you can feature them in your Feed and the Reels tab of your profile. If you share them to your Instagram Stories, they are subject to the usual 24-hour disappearing act.
Lastly, they’re fun! One of the best reasons for brands to use Reels is the entertainment value. Video is exploding this year, and Reels gives you a user-friendly way to leverage this fact for the benefit of Instagram users everywhere – who want to laugh, smile, and see more exciting content from their favorite brands (and those they don’t even know of yet).
How Does Reels Compare With TikTok?
Reels is a relatively nascent technology. It was first launched in Brazil in 2019, then pushed to the U.S. and 50 additional countries in August 2020. While it’s likely a direct response to the growing popularity of Tiktok, Reels is harder to find within the Instagram app—so it’s not necessarily as intuitive. The algorithm also isn’t nailed down, so users can see short videos from brands they follow just as easily as accounts unfamiliar to them, but probably based on their interests.
One other advantage TikTok has over Reels—the number of features available for short videos, like effects, sounds, and editing tools. Of course, TikTok’s sole focus is short-form video, so it makes sense they would have the upper hand.
Overall, Reels is not yet a direct competitor of TikTok, but it does draw some comparisons. Plus, it’s easier to acquire and maintain traction on the Instagram platform, so it could be a no-brainer to integrate Instagram Reels for marketing purposes.
Wait, What’s This about IGTV Video?
IGTV video is a separate feature of Instagram that was introduced in 2018. It’s one of the top trends on Instagram, but it’s completely different from Reels. IGTV operates more as a video series feature, giving content creators the option to publish videos up to 10 minutes in length. Audiences typically tune in to each “episode” of a brand’s IGTV channel, whereas Reels are much shorter snippets of informal video content.
Instagram has created a ton of exciting features in its first decade, and Reels is positioned to be just as successful. IG users are already primed to watch video content on the platform, and short form videos are extremely popular on social media in general. As long as IG makes it easier to find Reels– they’re considering adding to the main navigation– the future looks bright for this new feature.