Instagram Reels brings an opportunity for Instagram to rub shoulders with TikTok—and for Instagramers who use the platform to retain more of their content marketing efforts at the centre there.
Reels is uniquely a video-music remix Instagram functionality that allows people who use Instagram make 15-second video clips set to music & post them as Instagram Stories, with the capability to go live on a new Top Reels section of Instagram Explore.
Just like TikTok, people who use it can soundtrack their Reels with a huge catalog of music, or borrow the audio from anyone else’s video to create a remix of their meme or joke. Some audio snippets will even get their own pages showing off top videos made with them.
There’s also a handy video countdown timer and the option to adjust your video’s speed — just like you can on TikTok.
Instagram Reels can be shared on Instagram Stories, sent directly to specific users, or added to a new Reels tab on a user’s profile
And there’s a brand new discovery section in Instagram Explore: Top Reels, where the best-performing public Reels will have the chance to go viral.
Most cleverly, Instagram lets users add their Reels to their profile’s non-disappearing Highlights for a shot to show up on Explore even after their 24-hour story expires.
Reels, which takes inspiration from the Chinese short video making app TikTok, was first launched in Brazil last year as a pilot is rolling out access to France and Germany as at the time of publishing this post. Instagram has not revealed when or if Instagram Reels will be rolled out worldwide.
Reels are not Facebook’s first attempt at challenging TikTok’s growing popularity.
The Instagram parent company had previously launched short-form video app Lasso, but it has so far failed to gain significant traction. Currently available in the US, Lasso lets users record themselves dancing and lip-syncing to music, similar to what they can do on TikTok.
Facebook’s experimental app division has also introduced a new iOS app called Collab for making and mixing music with friends.
With Reels, however, Instagram is able to tap into its existing base of creators and leverage users’ familiarity with its video editing tools.
Google-owned YouTube is reportedly working on a TikTok rival called Shorts, to be introduced by the end of this year.