Today saw the launch of Instagram Reels: a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram aimed to knock TikTok off it’s #1 spot as the most downloaded app around.
Reels, launched today (August 5th) invites users to create “fun videos to share with their friends” or promote to their brand audience on Instagram. With media attention focused on TikTok and its touch-and-go relationship with regulators and privacy, Instagram’s launch of Reels is seen as the first true competitor to give ByteDance’s global juggernaut a run for its money.
Robby Stein, Instagram’s product director, told The Verge that while TikTok popularized the short video format, the two products are different.
“I think TikTok deserves a ton of credit for popularizing formats in this space, and it’s just great work…But at the end of the day, no two products are exactly alike, and ours are not either.”
With Reels, Users can Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and use new creative tools designed to steal some thunder from the meme-ready tools provided by ByteDance’s TikTok or Snap Inc’s Snapchat. Users can share reels with their followers on Feed, and, if using a public or brand account, make them available to the wider Instagram audience through a new space in Explore. Reels in Explore are a new feature designed to offer anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage, and offer brands another high-visibility channel to reach audiences through Reels Ads.
To create a ‘REEL’ for your brand or business, Select Reels at the bottom of the Instagram camera. You’ll see a variety of new editing tools on the left side of your screen to help create your first video, including:
Instagram Reels can be recorded in a series of clips (one at a time), all at once, or using video uploads from your gallery, there’s no end to the possibilities.
With Reels, brands can share with their followers and can be discovered by the huge, diverse Instagram community on Explore.
Once a reel is ready, move to the share screen, where you can save a draft of your reel, change the cover image, add a caption and hashtags, and tag other accounts. After you share an Insatgram Reel, it will live on a separate Reels tab on your brand profile, where users can find the reels you’ve shared.
If you also share to your Feed, your reel will appear on your main profile grid, though you have the option to remove it.
Whether you have a public or private brand account, you can share your reel to your Story, close friends, or in a direct message. If you do so, your reel will behave like a regular Story — it will not be shared to Reels in Explore, it will not appear on your profile, and it will disappear after 24 hours.
Instagram Reels in Explore showcases the best of trending culture on Instagram and can be an incredible way to kickstart your brand awareness on Reels. Users can see an endless and entertaining selection of reels made by anyone on Instagram, in a vertical feed customized for them.
Some reels will appear in the feed with a “Featured” label. If a reel is featured in Explore, you’ll receive a notification to your brand account. Featured reels are a selection of public reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content they hope will “entertain and inspire you”.
“We’re going big with entertainment and [making Explore] the permanent place for you to go lean back, relax, and be inspired every day,” Robbie Stein said. “It’s our hope that with this format we have a new chapter of entertainment on Instagram.”.
Want to talk about bring your brand to Instagram REELS? Drop us a line.