Instagram Reels Is In Its Testing Phase: What Do Brands Need To Know?

Instagram Reels Is In Its Testing Phase_ What Do Brands Need To Know_

The app TikTok is changing how people use social media. So, other platforms are starting to take note. Instagram’s new TikTok-inspired Reels feature reflects this shift. Here is everything you need to know to be ready for Reels.

What Is Reels?

TikTok is an app known for lip-syncing and short-form videos. It is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. This year, it reached 500 million active users worldwide. So, Instagram is looking to harness the power of TikTok. That’s why it has introduced the Reels feature.

Reels allows users to create 15-second videos synced to music or other audio. It can be found in the Stories shutter modes tray. The feature is currently available to both iOS and Android users in Brazil.

This is part of an initial test phase. However, Reels will likely appear around the world soon. So, you want to be ready for it.

How Does It Work?

At its core, Reels is basically TikTok for Instagram. Users’ can record 15-second clips and add audio. They can also use audio snippets from Instagram’s in-app catalog. Users can find audio to use through the hashtag search or Explore tab as well. They can source audio by searching popular and trending sounds too.

Reels has a number of built-in tools to help users edit their short videos as well. TikTok has become well known for filters and special effects. So, of course, Reels must offer some too. As the rollout continues, more features will pop up. So far, these features include:

  • Speed
  • Time
  • A countdown clock
  • A ghost mode to improve transitions

The Rise Of Video Content

It’s no secret that video content’s popularity is exploding. Digital video content is overtaking the entertainment landscape. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. This is 15 times higher than in 2017.

According to a Google-commissioned Nielsen Study, 47% of 17 to 49-year-olds consider themselves “light” traditional television viewers. Also, over a quarter of them do not watch traditional TV at all. This means that more people get almost all of their video content online.

SEE ALSO: Why Video Is The Future Of Content Marketing

The Future of Reels

As video content gains popularity, platforms will find new ways to use it. At first, the videos made with Reels will mostly live in personal stories, the Closed Friends option, or in direct messages. However, eventually, they will become integrated throughout the app. Users will also be able to add Reels to their Highlights section.

Eventually, Reels will even appear on the Explore tab as well. This will add searchable video content to Instagram too. According to Instagram’s Director of Product, Robby Stein, over 50% of accounts make use of the Explore tab every month.

Bringing Authenticity Back To Instagram

Instagram credits TikTok for spearheading this format. However, they want make Reels an experience that is unique to Instagram. They say that the concept of sharing videos with music is universal.

This may be indicative of a large shift for the platform. Instagram’s glossy look is famous. This aesthetic dominated the internet for years. The platform is also a major influencer hub.

This look was widely influential and popular for years. Also, for a while, being an influencer was considered glamorous. Recently, the public may have started to change its mind.

Social media apps are often criticized for perpetuating toxic standards of perfection and “influencer culture.” Many consider Instagram to be the biggest offender. So, people have criticized the platform heavily for years. They have accused it of things like damaging the mental health of users and even making them boring.

The Public Loves TikTok

TikTok, on the other hand, is a place for self-expression. It’s thought of as fun. People feel pressure to perform perfection on Instagram. This is less true on TikTok.

There are influencers on TikTok. However, the platform is not dominated by them. Instagram is associated with influencers. TikTok is associated with creativity. TikTok is where internet trends are born. Business Insider even called it “beloved” in a recent article.

Instagram may be introducing Reels to try and get some of that creative spirit. Perhaps they want to get positive attention back on the platform. Brands could only benefit from Instagram’s overall reputation getting a boost.

Reels Offers Brands Opportunities

If Reels is successful, brands could have an entirely new window of opportunity. They will have new tools with which to craft their persona. They will be able to interact with their following in a new way too. As Reels introduces more and more features, brands will have more ways to make fresh content.

Most consumers seem to prefer video content. However, Gen-Z seems to specifically favor authentic content that’s creative and expressive. So, Reels will empower brands to create this on Instagram.

Reels Is Not All That’s New On Instagram

Instagram has started to take the criticism of the platform seriously. So, they are taking steps to remedy the situation. Reels is not the only big change on the horizon.

Instagram is also testing out hiding likes on posts in the US. This update has previously been tested around the world. This might seem like an odd choice for a site on which many people rely on public engagement metrics.

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri explained this move to Wired. He says that the goal is to “de-pressurize” Instagram for young people.

Final Thoughts

Two major shifts are occurring on social media. Brands need to know about them. Many platforms will likely make changes to adapt to these shifts. Instagram’s introduction of Reels reflects them both.

SEE ALSO: Why Facebook is Shifting to Stories (And Why Your Brand Should Too)

1) The Rise of Video Content

Video is a must for brands. More people are watching videos on their phones than ever. Also, fewer people are watching traditional television. So, social video content is critical to any digital branding strategy.

It is very likely that more and more social platforms will introduce video aspects. Eventually, some may even come to revolve around video. If your digital branding does not already include video content, it is time to create some. Reels will make this easier.

2) Social Media Users Crave Authenticity

Overall, the public opinion of Instagram is negative. However, the public opinion of TikTok is a lot rosier.

Why is this?

Remember, the “social” aspect of social media is key. So, the desire for connection is what drives people to log in in the first place.

The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over

The glossy images of Instagram have helped influencers build careers. However, the public is tired of them now. Many people are no longer drawn in by these images. Instead, they feel alienated by them.

Currently, many younger influencers are realizing this. So, they are abandoning the famous “Instagram aesthetic.” Could you imagine an established Instagram influencer posting a photo like this, even last year?

instagram reels

One day, the public might get bored with this too. When people notice something is popular, they hop on board. Because of this, trends become overexposed. Then the public loses interest. This is why trends change.

However, right now, this is the kind of content that connects. This is especially true when it comes to Millennials and Gen-Z.

So, in short: Unrealistic perfection is out (for now). Video content is in (likely for a long time).

Are you excited about Reels? Why or why not? Let us know below…

Written by
Juntae DeLane
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