It was inevitable, really. When Facebook sees a competitor on the rise, Zuckerberg has only two plays. One, he buys the company, piling up stacks on stacks on stacks in front of aspiring young developers who, history tells us, love to pocket the money and run out the door to their next venture. The other play is becoming more and more common. Instead of buying out the competition, Facebook simply copies it.
Stories on Facebook and Instagram serve as the manifestation of Snapchat into the Facebook ecosystem. With TikTok in the news and in the pockets of 800 million users, it was only a matter of time before the short video clip look and fell in line with the empire. If you’ve been on the ‘gram recently, you’ve no doubt had to flip past plenty of odd videos of dancing, jumping, and snapping teenagers. Instagram just got Reels.
Now that we’ve had a few weeks to monitor the impact of Reels, it’s time to dive in. First, what is it? Well, it’s TikTok; short, 15-second video clips that rely on filters, music, and plenty of creativity to provide Gen-Z users with a nifty way to post. Some of TikTok’s top creators have had a lot of positive things to say about the new Instagram feature and have been cross-posting material.
One of the perks of Reels is that those videos can be shared with Stories, though they’ll disappear in 24 hours, just like any other Story. That’s been a crucial feature in encouraging and acclimated Instagram users to the new format. Reels also have a dedicated tab in Explore, making it easier to casually peruse content and discover new accounts. If TikTok does have an advantage after all this, it’s the length. Reels are only 15 seconds, while TikTok videos have a limit of one minute.
What does the future look like for Reels? If the success of Stories is any indication, things are going to be big. Stories eclipsed Snapchat in daily users in less than a year, and with TikTok possibly changing hands this fall, it may not have even that long to survive.
Brands have already adopted the format, and there are a lot more uses than you might think. We’ve had a lot of success using Reels for product launches, instructional videos, recipes, installation how-tos, and even troubleshooting. Of course, if your brand already has TikTok content handy, you can recycle that into Reels to build your library. Make sure these videos stay fun and entertaining; this is a personal way to communicate and not every post needs to ooze advertisement, even if it is.