Instagram Reels For Advertisers: Essential 2021 Update

It’s official: Instagram Reels For Advertisers has gone global.

Instagram’s TikTok clone has started serving ads in all countries as of June 17th. This new format looks just like any other video on Instagram Reels — full-screen, sound on, up to 30 seconds long — and will appear sandwiched between other Reels.

With Reels, Users can Record and edit 30-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.

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 Instagram Reels ads.

How Instagram Reels Work

instagram reels

How To Create Instagram Reels

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:

  • Audio: Search for a song from the Instagram music library (these are location dependant, so be aware of what may not work for a global audience) . You can also use your own audio by simply recording a reel with it. When you share a reel with original audio, your audio will be attributed to your brand account, and if you have a public account, people can create reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your reel. As always, make sure you have any licenses needed to use music for your brand!
  • AR Effects: Much like Snapchat, you can select one of the many effects in the Instagram Reels effect gallery to apply in real time. These effects are created both by Instagram’s internal team and creators all over the world. Your brand can also create an AR effect to help promote new products or events.
  • Timer and Countdown: Set the timer to record any clip hands-free. Once users press record, a 3-2-1 countdown appears before recording begins for the amount of time you selected. These hands free tools are great for small businesses or creators to help be creative with tight resources.
  • Align: Line up objects from your previous clip before recording your next to help create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes, sight gags, or adding new users into your reel for TikTok like viral challenges.
  • Speed: Choose to speed up or slow down part of your REELS or audio you selected. This can help creators stay on a beat or make slow motion videos to add extra impact.

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.

UPDATE: Instagram Reels are now available to record up to 60 seconds for all users. Instagram has been experimenting with longer Reels for some time, after first extending Reels from 15 to 30 seconds last September.

Given that Reels #1 competitor TikTok now enables the upload of longer clips (up to 3 minutes), and Google’s YouTube Shorts can also be up to 60 seconds in length, this puts Facebook back in the running alongside it’s competitors.

How to Share Reels

instagram reels

With Reels, brands can share with their followers and can be discovered by the huge, diverse Instagram community on Explore.

  • If you have a Public Account: Your brand or business can share a reel to a dedicated space in Explore, where it has the chance to be seen and discovered by the wider Instagram community. You can also share your reel with your followers by posting it to your Feed. When you share reels featuring certain songs, hashtags, or effects, your reel may also appear on dedicated pages when someone clicks on that song, hashtag, or effect, so be aware of brand safety at all times!
  • If you have a Private Account: Reels follows your privacy settings on Instagram. While most brands will be business accounts, you can choose to share to Feed so only your followers can see your reel. Other users will not be able to use original audio from your reels, and people cannot share your reels with others who don’t follow you.

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.

How to Watch Instagram Reels

instagram reels

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.”.

Ads on Instagram Reels

The available Instagram Reels Ads are similar to Instagram’s ads for Stories. Ads can be up to 30 seconds (although you’re always better off keeping things short), and Instagram Reels users can interact with them the way they would with organic posts (including skipping them altogether).

According to Facebook:

Reels ads will be full screen and vertical, similar to ads in Stories, and will appear in between individual Reels. As with regular Reels content, these ads will loop and can be up to 30 seconds. People can comment, like, view, save and share Reels ads.

Reels ads will appear in the most popular places to access Reels content. This includes the Reels tab, Reels in Stories, Reels in Explore and Reels in your feed. Once a user taps into a reel from Stories, Feed, the Reels Tab or Explore, they will enter a viewer that exclusively shows reels that scroll vertically.



Ads may also include “shop now” buttons, according to screenshots shared by Facebook.

Want to talk about bring your brand to Instagram REELS? Drop us a line.

Abacus Agency
Abacus Agency

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