Instagram Reels is a content format that allows you to create and share 15-second videos with others in a new dedicated Feed on the Explore page. It’s Facebook’s attempt to compete with TikTok, which is also aimed at short-form video creation and is especially popular for Gen Z.
Introducing Instagram Reels
It is a new way to record 15 to 30-second clips set to music on Instagram.
First launched in Brazil in late 2019, Instagram Reels are now available for over 50 other countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan, on both iOS and Android.
Despite being criticized as a “TikTok copycat,” Instagram Reels has gained positive responses from influencers and brands. Many creators said they planned to experiment with Reels while maintaining their presence on TikTok. Brands like Sephora, Walmart, and Beardbrand are already using Reels.
So what is Instagram Reels, and how can you use them in your marketing strategy? Find out everything you need to know in our new article:
What is Instagram Reels?
Much like TikTok, Instagram Reels offers you a set of creative tools to create fun, engaging short videos on Instagram. In other words, you can record and edit 15-second multi-clip Reels videos with audio, text, special effects, and stickers, then share them with your followers.
In fact, Instagram Reels is a brand new way to create fun and engaging video content. Instagram’s latest video feature is available in the United States and 50 other countries.
With the latest app update, you can now find Instagram Reels at the forefront of Instagram — taking center stage of the new main navigation bar. This is a huge change on the app, and a significant push to have users browse and share Reels more often.
If TikTok has the “For You” page, Instagram gives Reels a dedicated landing spot at the top of the Instagram Explore page. Just tap the first reel at the top, and you can access the Reels feed. From here, you’ll see Reels from popular and trending accounts on Instagram.
Instagram Reels vs. TikTok
Since Instagram Reels is TikTok’s rival, it’s worth discussing how they’re similar and/or different.
The essence of Instagram Reels and TikTok is the same: providing users with a creative space to create and share short videos with others. Moreover, they come with creative options, allowing users to make their best possible clips.
However, they also have significant differences, as shown below:
|A new feature inside the overarching Instagram ecosystem||A platform|
|Users can create a 15-second video only||Video time limit up to 1 minute|
|Reels shared to Stories will disappear after 24 hours||All videos stay on TikTok|
|Duet and local file upload aren’t currently supported||Users can “duet” with each other and upload songs directly into the app’s system|
Why is Instagram Launching Reels?
If you’re thinking most of the features sound very familiar, that’s no coincidence.
It could be considered a direct response to the growing popularity of TikTok — which has surged in popularity over the last 12 months.
TikTok generated “the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in Q1 2020, according to Adweek.
How to use Reels on Instagram
If you’re familiar with Instagram and/or TikTok app, you’ll find it easy to create videos with Reels.
How to log in to Reels
To access Reels, simply open the Instagram Stories camera and choose REELS.
You’ll work with this button to create a reel.
How to create a reel
Instagram Reels gives you two options to create a reel: (1) press and hold the record button to capture footage, or (2) upload video footage from your camera roll. Reels can be recorded in a series of clips (one at a time), or all at once.
Follow these six steps to create your first reel:
Step 1: Scroll to REELS at the bottom of the screen and tap it.
Step 2: Use tools to prepare for your recording. Tap Audio to select audio from the library and add it to your video. You can even choose to add your favorite part only.
Tap Speed to change the speed of your video, tap Effects to apply special effects, and tap Timer to determine how long your video will be.
Step 3: When you’re ready, tap, and hold the record button to record a clip. In addition, if you set a timer early on, there’s a countdown before the recording starts.
If you want to watch, trim, or delete the previous clip you recorded, you can tap the clip and edit it.
Step 4: Once you’re done with recording, you can add stickers, drawings, and text to edit your reel.
Done! You’ve known how to create a video with Instagram Reels. Let’s move on to find out how you can share it with your followers.
How to share a Reel
Once you’re satisfied with your clip, you can tap the Next button to access the Share page. Then, tap Cover to edit the cover photo with a video thumbnail or add a cover from your camera roll. You can write a caption, too.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to publish the clip right away, you can save it as a draft.
Reels allows you to:
- Share it to a dedicated space in Explore or post it to the Reels tab on your Feed if your account is public. When you share reels using certain songs, hashtags, or effects, your reel may also appear on dedicated pages when someone clicks on that song, hashtag, or effect.
- Share it with your followers only if you have a Private account. In this case, Reels follows your privacy settings on Instagram. Your followers won’t be able to use original audio from your reels and can’t share them with others who don’t follow you.
When you’re done with sharing, you’ll see your reel like these:
How to find a reel to watch
1. Use your Feed to find a reel
You can browse your Feed to see reels created by people you follow. A Reels icon appears as a small clapperboard in the left-bottom side corner of all reels. It’s meant for differentiating reels from other Instagram videos.
2. Use the Explore tab to find Reels
Go to the Explore page, and you’ll see a reel right at the top of the screen. Tap the video to watch, and then scroll down to see more reels. Some reels will have a Featured label, which indicates it’s selected by Instagram.
3. Find Instagram reels that use particular audio or hashtag
Tap the audio name or hashtag at the bottom of the reel you’re watching, and you’ll see a page with other reels that use the same audio or hashtags.
In addition, if you like the audio, you can click Use Audio to record a new reel with that.
4. Find reels by searching for hashtags
Type a specific hashtags into the search bar, and you’ll probably find reels using that hashtag.
To sum up, it’s true that Reels isn’t a perfect replacement for TikTok, but as more and more people use Reels it’s likely that Instagram will add more features and better functionality (and hopefully a Reels-only discovery page) to give TikTok a run for its money.