Instagram has just launched a new addon service called Instagram Reels, and it’s built right into the Instagram app. An Instagram reel is simply a short video ranging anywhere from 3 to 15 seconds, and reels live in a separate tab in your profile just like Instagram TV videos. If you’re familiar with Tik Tok at all, you’ll feel right at home with Instagram reels. If not, you can think of reels as another attempt by Instagram to maintain dominance in the social video landscape.
What Is Instagram Reels?
Instagram reels is a short video-sharing platform integrated within the Instagram app. The Reels provide Instagram users to create short videos of up to 15 seconds to share with their followers or to the whole Instagram community.
Users can use various filters, music, stickers, gifs, and many other creative tools to create a single multi-clip video.
You can share the created reels videos with your followers on your feed if you have a private account or if you have a public account then you can have a much broader reach of the content to the whole Instagram community. Reels are very effective to get more organic Instagram growth.
Instagram has launched the reels feature on the 5th of August in more than 50 countries around the globe, the US, UK, Japan, and Australia, on both iOS and Android. Unlike TikTok, which is itself an app, Reels is an extended feature of short videos integrated within the app.
Recommended: Best TikTok Alternative Short Video Apps
Where to find the Instagram Reels Option?
The Instagram Reels is not a separate app from Instagram for short videos like the IGTV app. Instead, there is a dedicated section for Reels within the Instagram app itself. To access reels, first, make sure your Instagram app is up to date.
- Now just simply open the stories camera what you usually do to create new Instagram stories. You will notice that the interface is a bit new and simplified.
- There will be 2-3 options to perform your desired tasks. One will let you create stories, one will make you live, and the third one will be Reels options.
- By selecting the reels option, you will be allowed to create short videos of 3 to 15 seconds videos called reels.
How to Use and Make Instagram Reels?
After locating the Reels option now, it comes to how you will shoot your very first Reel video. It is straightforward and easy.
How to Record Instagram Reels
- Once you get to the Reels shooting interface, you will see a large shoot button to shoot your reel videos. And yes, this record button allows you to zoom in and out by swiping up and down respectively.
- You will also see options on the mid-left side of the screen. There are four actions there.
- The audio which lets you select a song from the Instagram catalogue of music choices.
- The Speed control to select how fast or slow your video records. It ranges from 0.3 x to 3x.
- The Effects option to add the filter to your video. Just keep swiping left to explore all the available effects and filters.
- The timer option to select the duration you want a clip to record for. You will also get a countdown timer before it starts recording the reels.
- While recording the reel video whenever you will pause your shoot, you will see the fifth option as well. That is the Align option. This option allows you to align your frame with the last frame of the previously shot part.
How to Edit Instagram Reels
- You can preview and trim the previously shot sections of the video by tapping on the back button located to the left of the record button. You can also navigate through various recorded parts by tapping on the left and right sides of the screen accordingly. It is just like browsing through Instagram stories.
- You can also browse your gallery in order to upload a video from your smartphone. You can do so by swiping up on the shooting area or by tapping on the gallery icon on the bottom-left corner.
- You can also switch b/w front and back camera by tapping on the flip camera icon on the bottom-right corner.
- When you are done with the shooting of your video t”ap on the forward arrow” located right next to the record button. Then, you will be able to see your recorded video in the form of a single timeline along with a bunch of extra features like stickers, doodles, emojis, text, etc. just like you do with your standard Instagram stories. But remember that options like adding polls are not available for obvious reasons.
- Now again tap on the forward button to add the caption and tap on save to publish your reel video.
How to Watch Instagram Reels?
The reels option is not visible anywhere on the main scrolling page. But you can watch the reels via the search page or by going to the specific profile to watch his/her reels. Here’s how you can do that.
From the Search Area
- Open your Instagram app and tap on the search option available right next to the home option at the bottom.
- Now in the search section, you will see various popular posts along with a large square section dedicated to some video playing. Tap on that video.
- That’s it. You are now in the reels section of Instagram where you can watch tons of short and entertaining videos. Swipe up or down to browse through videos, double-tap to like and enjoy.
From Someone’s Profile
- Open the Instagram app and go to the Instagram profile of whose reels you want to watch.
- Now you will see the reels icon next to the IGTV icon. Tap on it, and there will be all the reels made by that Instagram profile. You can also swipe left to go to the reels section of that profile.
- Tap on any reels video to watch. Please note that this method will only show you the reels of that particular Instagram profile.
Instagram Reels vs TikTok: Why Reels is Incomplete?
The TikTok is a fully-fledged app dedicated to just short videos; however, the Reels is an addon feature to the already popular Instagram. Facebook has also experienced a surge of 6% in its shares after the rollout of Reels. But in my opinion, Instagram reels still need some improvements which I can guarantee you will be provided in the coming future. But as of now, the content creators and users will miss Tik Tok even after the introduction of reels. Let me explain why.
The reels is an integrated feature in the Instagram app, and I don’t know why, but Facebook doesn’t have provided a convenient way of accessing the reels. You have to go to the discover page to find one of the trending reels videos, and by tapping on it will let you explore the reels world.
I would be much happier if Facebook has launched a separate app or at least a dedicated reels section, accessible via one tap.
The reels feature allows you to create and upload a video of a maximum of 15sec duration only. And this is just one-forth of what TikTok offers. Yes, Tik Tok allows the users to create videos of up to 1 minute. Maybe this to restrict the content creators from uploading their TikTok content there. But still, 15 seconds is way less, in my opinion.
No Duet Feature
Yes, reels have not provided the feature called Duet. This feature allows creators to make collaboration videos and is available on TikTok, but as of now, Instagram Reels is nowhere in this feature.
Video Editing Options
No doubt the reels feature comes with the massive list of music, filters, effects, doodles, texts, etc. But when it comes to the editing of the videos, the reels have nothing impressive like Tik Tok. There is just a simple trimming of the video that is available, and I seriously missed the transitions there.
There is a lot of room in the improvement, and it matters to the content creators a lot, to have a good video editing experience within the app.
Which one will get you the most views and (for businesses) revenue?
1 – The algorithm
Both platforms optimize for watch time. However, it’s not the percentage of the video viewing that makes a difference, but the time.
With Instagram, it doesn’t matter how long your video is. TikTok, on the other hand, prefers longer content.
Instagram prefers videos that are 6–10 seconds long. TikTok likes them to be between 25 and 60 seconds long.
2 – The description
On TikTok, there’s an 80-character description limit. On Instagram? The limit is 2108.
Users will read your Reels description while reviewing the video several times, so the ideal Reels formula would be a 6-second video with a long, interesting description.
3 – Reach
TikTok happily sends traffic to any new user. But while you might post one video and get 4M views on TikTok, that doesn’t guarantee consistency or growth.
With Instagram, you need to earn your growth over time, which means you have to post frequently for months before things “click.”
From there you can snowball… and your reach becomes more stable.
4 – Monetization
Instagram is better optimized for making money. You can build sales funnels through Stories, Highlights, etc.
However, gaining and building an audience on TikTok is much easier, and you can do it more quickly.
Long story short, while the two platforms are different, using one doesn’t exclude the other.
The best approach is to repurpose your content on both platforms and build on their strengths to grow your brand awareness.
No matter how halfbaked, Reels is great. It’s going to be used by a considerable amount of the population. There are many reasons for that. Firstly the controversial situation of TikTik in countries like India and the USA will surely encourage the creators to shift to a more reliable platform, i.e. Instagram.
And secondly, Instagram is already one of the leading social media platforms around the globe where almost every other creator has a good follower base. Hence, it will encourage the creators to post content of an already popular platform rather than starting with zero on a new app if Reels was launched as a separate app.
Snap and Facebook (Meta) CEOs agree that short video is the way to go
Facebook/Meta became infamous after losing more than $220 billion in market cap in one day when it reported its user growth results in February 2022.
What is Mark Zuckerberg planning to do about this?
Double down on video. “People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly,” said Zuckerberg on Meta’s Q4 earnings call.
Snap also published its earnings report.
In contrast to Facebook, Snapchat’s user base is expanding (they added 13 million daily active users in Q4 2021).
What’s interesting is Snapchat’s fastest-growing feature
Spotlight, which is essentially a TikTok clone.
People are spending less time watching Stories from friends and more time watching Spotlights, according to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel.
Furthermore, “the number of Spotlight viewers subscribing to a Creator more than doubled relative to the prior quarter”, according to Snap’s earnings report.
Will these platforms become more like TikTok in the future?
If you own a social network and release a TikTok-clone feature, you’ll probably keep doing it if it’s the fastest-growing feature on your network.
What this means for you
Short videos are likely to become even more popular as a content format in the future.
Don’t be surprised if you see more and more competitors experimenting with short videos, especially if you’re in B2C.