Instagram Reels, a new way to create and share 15-second TikTok-like videos, is officially launching in the US.
Reels shares many of the same features as TikTok, which is why it’s poised to offer strong competition to what is currently the fastest growing social media app.
With Instagram Reels users can:
- Create and share 15-second videos.
- Add their own audio to videos, or choose a song from a catalog of licensed music.
- Grab original audio from other videos and add it to their own.
- Popular clips will be housed in a “Featured Reels” section.
Reels can be shared on Instagram in users’ main feeds. There’s also a new section in the Explore tab dedicated to discovering Reels.
Reels in Explore gives users a chance to reach a wider audience of people that doesn’t already follow them.
Users can receive even more exposure if their video becomes “Featured” content in the Explore section.
Here’s more about how to create and share Reels.
How to Create Reels
Start by opening the Instagram camera and selecting Reels at the bottom of the screen.
From there you’ll see the following tools:
- Audio: Search for a song from the Instagram music library or record your own audio.
- AR Effects: Select one of the many effects in effect gallery.
- Timer and Countdown: Set the timer to record clips hands-free.
- Align: Line up objects from your previous clip before recording your next clip.
- Speed: Speed up or slow down part of the video or audio you selected.
Begin recording by pressing and holding the capture button.
Reels can be recorded in a series of clips, all at once, or using video uploads from your camera roll.
Once your Reel is created you can move it to the share screen. Once shared it will be added to a separate Reels tab on your profile.
Reels vs. TikTok
Unlike TikTok, which is a standalone app, Reels is a new feature built into the existing Instagram app.
So there is nothing new for users to install or sign up for. Instagram users will be able to access Reels simply by updating the app.
Having a built-in user base increases the likelihood that Reels will be widely adopted.
If that ends up being the case then Reels may prevent users from jumping ship to TikTok.
Reels also has the potential to bring back people who find themselves using TikTok more often than Instagram these days.
The addition of Reels may increase daily time spent with the app. Those who already use Instagram on a regular basis may find themselves using it even more.
An increase in average daily time spent would then make Instagram more appealing to advertisers.
I would be remiss not to mention the turmoil surrounding TikTok at the present time.
Parent company ByteDance has been given an ultimatum either sell TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft or get banned from the country.
That means Instagram may end up being the only place where people can get their fix of TikTok-like content.
Needless to say, Reels has a lot potential. And that’s all it is right now – potential.
Time will tell how widely adopted the feature becomes.
Instagram has a history of launching features that fail to reach a mass audience, such as IGTV.
Then again, Instagram managed to successfully copy Snapchat’s stories, which became one of the most important components of the app.
Instagram users can access Reels as of today by updating the app from their respective App Store.