Instagram has released a new video feature called Reels, which is similar to the popular TikTok video app. Reels is a new format within Instagram Stories that allows users to make 15-second clips using various video editing tools and an extensive music catalog.
A leak in September revealed that Instagram was testing this feature, which initially appeared to be called “Clips”. The feature, first reported by TechCrunch and Variety, appears to be Instagram’s attempt to compete more directly with the Chinese social media app Tik Tok, which has rapidly expanded its user base globally.
Here are the most essential things you need to know about this new and exciting function. Read on to learn more about Instagram’s Reels.
How It Works
Users will find it right next to Boomerang and Super-Zoom in the Instagram Stories shutter tray modes. They can either record with silence, borrow the audio from another video they find by searching hashtags, or searching for a popular song.
Facebook’s vast music library received Reels from all the major labels and influences from many independent publishers. Users pick the chunk of the song they want, and then they can record or upload several video clips to fill up their Reel.
Instagram has also added some much-needed editing tools for Reels, such as timed captions, so words may appear in some scenes, and a ghost overlay option to line up transitions so they may look fluid. Nevertheless, Reels lacks some of the video filters and special effects that TikTok has.
Until users are happy with their editing job, they can post their Reel to Stories, or send people a message. If shared publicly, it will also be able to show up in the Explore tab’s “Top Reels” list.
Why Did Instagram Do This
If you find that some of these characteristics sound really familiar, that’s no mistake. Reels may be seen as a direct answer to TikTok’s increasing popularity. According to Adweek, TikTok created “most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in Q1 of 2020.
And the core demographic of TikTok is changing. Although once dominated by Gen-Z users, Millennials now make up a more significant share than ever before of TikTok’s user base — making the site a far more enticing proposition for advertisers.
According to Comscore’s recent data, the percentage of US-based TikTok users between 25-34 years of age rose from 22.4% in January to 27.4% in April. The18-24-year-old bracket fell from 41.1% to 35.3%.
How Instagram Adopted This TikTok Feature
Cloning TikTok is not all about the features, while Reels does an excellent job of copying the core features. For most Instagram users, producing scripted content is entirely fresh, and can feel too showy or silly for an app that is known for its seriousness.
TikTok is about acting 100 percent crazy just to make people happy. That’s the opposite of the carefully manicured image most Instagram users seek to project. It may feel more uncomfortable to act comedically in front of your real friends and fans than it does on a dedicated world stage.
After Facebook crossed a critical threshold by copying Snapchat’s Stories feature directly, all bets seemed to be off. All social apps started copying others to fend off competition. This was initially a shock to see Facebook so blatantly rip-off the concept of another site.
Since then, though, we’ve seen various other sites copy posts, comments, live streaming. Duplication became a much more viable, even acceptable strategy within the sector, after Instagram Stories.
Instagram’s Reels allows for broader sharing, and it places particular emphasis on Reels clips as an alternative feed of sorts. High-profile users who may have considered migrating to TikTok may stick to Instagram now.
This could be where Instagram can not only maximize reach, but also earn money from their on-platform efforts. The latest Reels functionality is interesting, and it will be equally fascinating to see if Instagram wants to bring Reels to more international markets.