It finally happened on 27 October 2021. We fired up our Instagram and there it was: the Reels icon. Instagram Reels had finally arrived in Singapore. And with it, a host of not-so-new features to let users create, edit, share and discover short-form videos.
Yes, I said ‘not-so-new’. Because a), IG Reels was rolled out in selected countries as early as January 2021. And b), IG Reels works very much like that other video sharing platform, TikTok.
And that is the point of it really.
Make no mistake: Reels IS Instagram’s response to the demand for more short-form video content, triggered by the wildly popular TikTok. And like TikTok, Reels lets you record and edit short videos, then ‘zhng’ it with snazzy visual and audio effects. Once done, your video can be shared through Instagram stories, direct messages, news feed and the reels tab.
Sounds straightforward enough. Question is, is IG Reels basically TikTok ‘Lite’, or have the folks at Instagram managed to roll out a platform that might just make TikTok go boom? And what can users and creatives get from Reels that they can’t get elsewhere.
Here’s the - wait for it - Reel Deal Breakdown.
Good news for brands already on Instagram
If you’re already on Instagram and looking for new ways to add depth to your social presence, Reels provides another means to connect with your audience.
Moving images are a game-changer in social content. And with IG Reels, you get lots of plus points compared to the platform’s existing tools.
More shareability, for longer – IG Reels, unlike IG Stories, won’t vanish after 24 hours. Which just means more chances that users will be able to view and share them.
Larger audience – IG Stories and IGTV are only visible to followers. A public Reels video sits on the Explore tab for all to see. And with Instagram’s algorithm, your content gets fed to many users. Simply put, it’s a new way to expand your reach and engage new audiences.
More trendjacking opportunities: IG Reels also appear on the pages dedicated to the songs, hashtags or effects you’ve added to your video. So use the latest trending audio track, hashtag or filter and even more people will get fed your content. Hello, next-gen media strat!
Shorter. Snappier. Better.
While IG TV offered a whopping 60 mins of video to work with, IG Reels has gone the other way with a compact runtime of up to 60 secs only. You can even do super quick 15-30 second videos. Chop chop.
Of course, that’s not nearly enough time to do decent how-to videos or full interviews. And that’s not what it's created for. IG Reels is ideal for short, snappy videos - the kind that are less likely to get skipped midway, ignored or swiped away. And isn’t that the kind of effectiveness every client wants? #RhetoricalQuestion
Of course, there’s no denying that Instagram is a little late to the short-form videos party. Still, IG Reels does level up the platform’s effectiveness and value to clients and agencies.
Let's talk about video and audio capabilities.
To speak plainly, IG Reels is playing catch-up in this aspect, at least for now.
TikTok has more music & sound options, while IG reels has copyright restrictions. Don’t get me wrong: Reels do have lots of audio options you can play with, just not as great. In fact, most of Reel’s audio is brought over from TikTok videos.
When it comes to video, Reels only has the filters used on Instagram Stories, and not as many effects compared to TikTok.
The verdict: Not great for short-form, but a must-have for IG users
For many social natives out there, TikTok is the OG short-form video platform that lets a generation share ideas, become creators, and even step out as a monetised influencer. By comparison, IG Reels pales.
But, as it stands, Instagram is still more widely used by brands compared to TikTok. And IG Reels can only get better. Sure, it’s Instagram trying desperately to stay relevant and win back its audience. Still, there’s no doubt that Reels is a useful aspect of the IG platform: one that both clients and agencies can get a lot of mileage from.
Our perspective: Get onboard, especially if your brand is already on Instagram. Video has always outperformed other formats, so now you have yet another platform to showcase yours. IG Reels will bring more reach to your content, and allow more users to discover you and your brand. And that can only be a good thing.