On August 5th Instagram launched Reels in 50 countries. The new addition to the social media app allows people to record videos up to 15 seconds long and add popular music, as well as an array of filters and effects, over the top of them. Sound familiar?
As a short form video offering, Reels in itself is not unique but, as part of the Instagram full suite of services it gives brands and influencers a more polished approach to playful content.
Until now, TikTok has dominated with youth audiences (both for brands looking to engage the gen Z consumer and for teens fresh to social media, looking to amass an organic following overnight) but Reels now offers a new way to create and commission similar viral video content that is measurable.
As part of Instagram – a fully developed platform already ingrained in the lives of over 1 billion monthly active users – Reels gives influencers the capability to prove efficacy in a way that can’t (currently) be done on TikTok and so will be more easily included into third party platforms offering measurement and tracking marketing solutions. Reels also brings to Instagram a shift in performance metrics, introducing the importance of ‘views’ as well as the likes, shares, follows and comments we’ve been used to. For brands looking to activate through talent and prove measurable ROI this is incredibly appealing.
Reels may take time to be fully adopted by users (as with IGTV at launch, there’s likely to be a period of people copying across content from other surfaces/platforms) but as part of such an established platform it will soon prove to be an easy and fun way for influencers to build out their original content.
Ultimately, for brands looking to activate through talent – Reels adds a fresh and entertaining new layer to a holistic content partnership that can be easily measured, and may open up new audiences amongst Gen Z. However, depending on the campaign objectives, TikTok may well still be the platform of choice and is certainly the go-to-app for those new and emerging wannabe influencers looking to be the social stars of tomorrow. But for how long? With TikTok’s uncertain future in the U.S. it may be that Reels successfully lures creators away, and where creators go, brands will follow.