Introducing Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels was a feature launched on August 5th 2020, that allows users to create and discover 15 to 30-second multi-clip videos with audio overlays.

While it may not sound like the most ground-breaking addition – Instagram has invested heavily in Reels, transforming its entire app layout as a result.

Now with a dedicated tab to solely house Reels content – this decision was clearly an integral part of Instagram’s plan to appeal to the masses.

With Reels, users can share these to their Stories, Explore Feed and the revamped Reels tab – making it the most widely accessible content format on Instagram.

While it is a relatively new feature that is now available in over 50 countries – Instagram put a lot of research behind this new format before going global.

A smart phone on a white coffe table showing loading an Instagram reel

After first launching in Brazil in late 2019 under the name ‘Cenas’, there was a noticeable spike in the feature’s popularity. Typically, Brazil’s Instagram users increased on average by 1% per month. Between October-November 2019 when Cenas was released, users increased by over 4%.

Since its launch across the world, Reels has gained positive responses across the board from its users, including influencers and brands.

Despite this undeniable rise in demand, many people have pegged Instagram as a ‘TikTok clone’. Or have even had people wondering ‘why is TikTok on Instagram?’. While this may look like Instagram following in TikTok’s footsteps – both are different in many ways.

A person using instagram reels on their smart phone
Instagram reels allow for 15-30 second clips while TikTok allows for 1 minute clips.
How to View Reel Likes and Plays on Instagram | Instagram | Instagram Hacks | Social Media | Shorts

Instagram Reels vs TikTok

Instagram Reels has been referred to as a direct competitor of TikTok. As TikTok was established first in 2016, this is an understandable assumption to make. However, both have their fair share of differences!

The essence of instagram Reels and TikTok is the same: providing users with a creative space to make and share short videos.

Both come with a variety of options, giving users the opportunity to personalise their video clips and make them in a convenient, effortless way.

In the recent Instagram update, Reels was given its own feed on the Explore page. On the Reels tab, instead of only seeing Reels from accounts you follow as you scroll – you will see trending Reels from other accounts on Instagram.

This is similar to TikTok’s For You page, where you are shown popular videos based on who you follow, what content you interact with and where you’re located.

However, the two also have significant differences. For example, Reels is only a feature within the Instagram platform. With Instagram, you have the option to post Reels, as well as static images. You can also choose to upload permanent, longer-form content through IGTV, or you can post temporary, short content through Stories.

Whereas, TikTok is its own platform that only showcases personalised short videos.

The length of video time also differs. On Instagram Reels, users can create video content that lasts between 15-30 seconds only. On TikTok, videos can last up to one minute. However, where Reels may not offer this – IGTV does instead, with content needing to be a minimum length of one minute.

When it comes to the lifespan of video content, Instagram offers more options. Reels can be either temporary, or permanent. Users can choose to share their Reels to Stories, which automatically disappear after 24 hours. Or, they can upload to their feed where they will stay unless deleted by the user.

With TikTok, all videos stay on the platform, and need to be manually deleted by the user.

One of TikTok’s main unique selling points is the duet feature, where users can collaborate with each other and upload songs directly to the app. With Instagram, duets are not available to use.

As you can see – the differences between Reels and TikTok are vast, with Instagram proving to be far more versatile.

Still unsure about Reels? Choosing which platform to take advantage of can be a difficult task – so we have sussed it out for you!

Instagram Reels is a great marketing channel to target generation Z.

Why Instagram Reels?

While both Reels and TikTok share similarities – one definitely has the upper hand.

Reels is a direct, proactive response to digital marketing trends. This proves that Instagram is dedicated to shapeshifting depending on how the world of social media develops.

This therefore strikes the perfect balance between versatility and competitiveness – meaning you have more of a choice over what content to post, while still being at the forefront of change. This can not only ease you into new practices, but help you see first-hand what is performing well on Instagram.

In early 2020, TikTok generated the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter. This highlighted that Instagram had a gap to fill in appealing to Gen-Z users.

It’s therefore no surprise that Instagram took quick action. With Instagram’s core demographic being Millennials – changes had to be made to make the platform more attractive to the younger market.

Now, Gen-Z takes centre stage as the largest user base, followed by Millennials who still have a massive impact in shaping the app. In total, 67% of 18 to 29-year-olds now use Instagram. This gives the app a competitive edge – with a diverse audience that can also be tailored using their ad targeting technology.

In fact, this isn’t the first time that Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, has attempted to launch a TikTok alternative. Facebook previously launched a standalone app ‘Lasso’, but it failed to take off.

However, what Instagram has proven is that it can seamlessly integrate new features without disruption. Similar to YouTube, IGTV has found its positioning as long-form, series-based content, where audiences can tune in to episode-like videos. Instagram’s own take on what was originally Snapchat’s ‘Stories’ has remained a strong favourite, with more than 500 million accounts using this short-form feature each day.

After Instagram’s successful adaptation of Stories and IGTV – this made it the perfect place to launch Reels. Plus, with Reels, this fills the gap of high-quality content that’s still informal, but has longer shelf life than 24 hours.

Compared to TikTok, Reels has a much higher chance of long-term success thanks to its prime positioning in the Instagram app, and the exposure and familiarity that comes with it.

Also, when it comes to audience numbers, there is no comparison. Since it was first launched in 2010, Instagram has amassed over one billion users. This is a huge difference to TikTok, which has 500 million users.

Plus, as part of the new update, Instagram has also created a new ‘Featured’ label. This means if content is ‘featured’, it has been specially chosen by Instagram to feature in the Explore feed. This fulfils Instagram’s aim to help people discover original content that they hope will ‘entertain and inspire’.

In terms of audience reach, content versatility and opportunities to be seen – Instagram Reels boasts many more benefits. Over the years, Instagram has tactfully positioned itself to be the leading one-stop shop for content that has only grown in popularity.

How To Download Instagram Videos On iPhone | Instagram | Instagram Reels | Social Media Marketing

What This Means For You

With Instagram’s ongoing success, it looks like Reels has a bright future ahead. Therefore, there’s no reason why users – whether they be influencers or businesses – can’t benefit from this.

When Instagram Stories first started in 2016, there were 150 million users. Now, just four years later, the feature has over 500 million users each day. If this is any indication, Reels certainly has the power to be Instagram’s most popular feature.

The trick is to stay ahead of the game. With Reels only debuting a couple of months ago, there may be a high number of users watching – but not as many creating just yet. It is therefore a good idea to jump on the Reels trend early, while the competition is still low.

Plus, as it is still new, Instagram is giving extra prominence to Reels content. What this means for creators, is that in order to provide continuous inspiring, original content, Instagram will favour Reels to be featured in the dedicated tab.

If you are an everyday Instagram user, you will undoubtedly benefit from the ongoing entertainment. If you are an influencer or a business, you can benefit from this new, innovative way to share and spotlight your content.

Whether you want to showcase B2B partnerships, influencer collaborations or user generated content – the possibilities are endless when it comes to how you can use Instagram Reels for business.

Also, since Instagram has introduced branded content tags on Reels, this ensures creators clearly disclose branded content. This increases transparency and promotes authenticity, making it easier for creators to follow best practice, and users to understand the content they are consuming.

Two people out of shot sitting at a wooden table talking.
Instagram Reels is great for entertainment but it is also useful for businesses to target potential customers.

Instagram Reels: Key Takeaways

With Instagram Reels, the main point of this update is to give creators a dedicated place to share creative content, and give audiences more genuine, authentic entertainment.

Reels is a method and space where everyone has the chance to be seen. As far as Instagram is concerned – the more organic traction the content receives – the more it will be amplified on the Reels tab. This is good for users with small followings, as it means there is no favouritism in the algorithm unless content is genuinely enjoyed.

Instagram takes up a significant portion of the social media sphere. Not only has it got a large, loyal audience base – it does not restrict creators by having limited content formats. As Reels are being spotlighted, this therefore makes for a great opportunity to reach new people and boost awareness of your product, service – or even just your content.

Plus, if you want to reach a particular age category, Instagram is the ideal platform for targeting 18-29-year-old users. Using Instagram Reels, you can do this in a tailored way, by easily utilising the most effective marketing method in 2021 – the short-form video.

All in all, Instagram Reels is a new form of marketing to be truly excited about. Whether it be for you as an individual or a business – it is a fun, diverse method that’s worth trying out to see where it takes you.

How to Use Green Screen Hand On Instagram Stories | Instagram Stories | Instagram Tips | Shorts

Evolution of Instagram Reels: From Inspiration to Innovation

Instagram Reels, the platform’s short-form video feature, has carved its own niche in the ever-evolving world of social media. But amidst the glitz and glamour, understanding its lineage and unique identity is crucial. So, let’s dive into the Reels’ story:

1. Reels vs. Stories: Siblings, Not Twins:

Both Reels and Stories offer short-form content experiences, but they cater to distinct purposes. Stories present fleeting glimpses into daily life, often disappearing after 24 hours. Reels, on the other hand, focus on polished, edited creations meant to engage, entertain, and go viral. Think of Stories as backstage snippets and Reels as the final, dazzling performance.

2. The TikTok Shadow: Competition and Collaboration:

While Reels draws inspiration from TikTok’s pioneering success in short-form video, it offers a distinct experience. Instagram leans towards a broader audience, including demographics less active on TikTok. Additionally, Reels boasts features like longer video length, integration with existing Instagram tools (polls, music library), and a stronger brand focus. Ultimately, both platforms offer unique spaces for creative expression, catering to overlapping, yet distinctive audiences.

3. A Brief History of a Viral Star:

  • August 2020: Instagram Reels launches in Brazil, taking inspiration from TikTok’s popularity.
  • November 2020: Global rollout commences, with features like audio editing and effects boosting adoption.
  • 2021: Reels gains significant traction, with influencers and brands embracing its potential for engagement and marketing.
  • 2022: Instagram continues to prioritize Reels, adding longer video options, collaborative features, and integration with Facebook Reels.

Looking Ahead:

Despite its young age, Reels has cemented its place as a powerful tool for creators and brands. With continuous development and an unwavering focus on user experience, Reels promises to keep evolving, potentially blurring the lines between entertainment, education, and commerce. Remember, the story of Reels is still being written, and its future chapters will be shaped by both user preferences and platform innovation.

Types of Reels and Content Inspiration

Instagram Reels isn’t just a platform, it’s a playground for creative expression. But with so many possibilities, figuring out where to start can be daunting. This is where content inspiration comes in! Let’s explore popular Reel categories and unlock ideas for your own masterpieces:

Popular Reel Categories:

  • Comedy: Tickle viewers’ funny bones with relatable skits, parodies, and unexpected twists. Think bloopers, office humor, or hilarious product demos.
  • Educational: Inform and entertain with bite-sized lessons, DIY tutorials, or behind-the-scenes peeks into fascinating processes. Science experiments, cooking tips, or artist techniques can captivate audiences.
  • Behind-the-Scenes: Offer a glimpse into your world, showing your team at work, the making of your product, or a day in the life of your brand. Humanize your brand and build trust with viewers.
  • Challenges: Get everyone involved with interactive trends, dance routines, or creative prompts. Partner with other creators, encourage user-generated content, and boost engagement.
  • Trends and Music: Jump on trending hashtags and sounds to reach a wider audience. Use popular music creatively, add your unique twist, and ride the wave of viral trends.

Content Ideas for Different Businesses:

  • Restaurants: Share food prep secrets, showcase customer testimonials, or create fun recipe challenges.
  • Travel Agencies: Take viewers on virtual tours, highlight hidden gems, or inspire wanderlust with stunning travel snippets.
  • Fashion Brands: Showcase new collections, offer styling tips, or feature customer transformations.
  • Tech Companies: Explain product features in creative ways, show behind-the-scenes development, or answer user questions in engaging Reels.
  • Artists and Creatives: Share your artistic process, offer mini-tutorials, or showcase finished pieces in compelling ways.

Brainstorming Tips:

  • Start with your audience: What interests them? What challenges do they face? Create content that resonates with their needs and desires.
  • Ride the trend wave: Stay updated on popular hashtags, challenges, and sounds. Add your unique spin to trending topics to stand out.
  • Collaborate with others: Partner with influencers, other brands, or even your fans to create exciting joint Reels.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment: Try different formats, editing techniques, and storytelling styles. Find your voice and showcase your brand’s personality.

Authenticity and Creativity are Key:

Remember, the power of Reels lies in its raw, genuine spirit. Don’t be afraid to show your imperfections, let your personality shine through, and inject your unique humor or expertise into your Reels. Viewers crave authenticity, so be yourself, have fun, and let your creativity run wild!

Advanced Features and Discoverability in Instagram Reels

Beyond the catchy tunes and vibrant filters, Instagram Reels offers a treasure trove of technical features to elevate your creativity and reach. Let’s dive into the details:

1. Interactive Elements: Engage and Go Beyond:

  • Polls and Quizzes: Spark audience participation with interactive stickers. Ask polls about product preferences, conduct quizzes on brand trivia, or even let viewers decide the direction of your next Reel.
  • Q&A Stickers: Foster direct communication with your audience. Host live Q&A sessions, address viewer questions in a fun format, or gather valuable feedback through interactive responses.

2. Collaboration and Cross-posting: Expand Your Reach:

  • Duets and Remixes: Collaborate with other creators by duetting their Reels or adding your own twist to their content. This encourages community engagement and broadens your audience reach.
  • Instagram and Facebook Reels Merge: Share your Reels seamlessly across both platforms, maximizing your potential audience and engaging your followers on their preferred platform.
  • Story and IGTV Cross-posting: Repurpose your Reels by sharing them to your Stories or IGTV. This leverages different content formats and keeps your audience engaged across the Instagram ecosystem.

3. Discoverability Hacks: Be Seen and Be Heard:

  • Hashtag Savvy: Research and utilize relevant hashtags that align with your content and target audience. Explore trending hashtags within your niche and use a mix of broad and specific tags to expand your reach.
  • Captions Matter: Write engaging captions that pique interest, tell a story, and add context to your Reel. Include a call to action, ask questions, and encourage viewers to interact.
  • Eye-catching Cover Images: Design a thumbnail that immediately grabs attention and reflects the essence of your Reel. Use clear visuals, vibrant colors, and relevant text to entice viewers to click.

Bonus Tips:

  • Leverage Reels Insights: Analyze your Reels performance through metrics like views, likes, comments, and shares. Identify what resonates with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Utilize Instagram Guides: Create Reels-based guides to showcase products, offer tutorials, or share helpful tips. This increases engagement and drives viewers towards product pages or relevant information.
  • Stay Updated: Instagram continuously introduces new features and tools for Reels. Keep yourself informed and experiment with innovative ways to enhance your creative expression and audience engagement.

Decoding the Data: Metrics and Analytics for Instagram Reels Success

In the fast-paced world of Instagram Reels, understanding your performance goes beyond just “likes” and “views.” Diving into Reels Insights unlocks a treasure trove of data, empowering you to refine your strategy and create content that truly resonates with your audience. Let’s break down the key metrics and discover how to leverage them for future Reels dominance:

Metrics to Track:

  • Views: This measures how many times your Reel has been watched, offering a basic gauge of audience interest.
  • Engagement: Likes, comments, shares, and saves paint a more nuanced picture. High engagement indicates viewers are connecting with your content and taking action.
  • Reach: This shows the number of unique accounts that saw your Reel, highlighting its potential impact and audience penetration.
  • Click-through Rates (CTRs): If you include links in your Reels, track how many viewers click through, revealing their intent and potential conversion into leads or customers.

Utilizing Instagram Reels Insights:

  • Track Performance Over Time: Monitor how your metrics evolve over time to identify trends, understand seasonal variations, and gauge the effectiveness of different content types.
  • Compare Reels Performance: Analyze how different Reels perform against each other. Identify commonalities in successful Reels and learn from less successful ones to refine your approach.
  • Dive Deeper into Demographics: Understand the age, gender, location, and interests of your Reel viewers. This helps tailor your content to specific audiences and maximize engagement.
  • Discover Audience Actions: See how viewers interact with your Reels, whether they watch them fully, skip ahead, or replay certain sections. This helps you analyze pacing, editing effectiveness, and audience preferences.

Data-driven Strategies for Future Reels:

  • Content Optimization: Use your analysis to identify what type of content (comedy, educational, behind-the-scenes) resonates most with your audience. Refine your strategy and focus on what works best.
  • Hashtag Optimization: Analyze which hashtags attract the right audience and drive engagement. Refine your hashtag strategy to reach a wider and more relevant audience.
  • Call to Action Optimization: Track how different CTAs perform (Learn More, Shop Now, Visit Website). Experiment and iterate to find the most effective way to convert viewers into desired actions.
  • Collaboration Insights: Analyze the performance of collaborative Reels compared to solo ones. Identify partners who align with your audience and explore additional collaboration opportunities.

Remember: Data is powerful, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Combine your analysis with creative intuition, audience insights, and competitor research to develop a holistic Reels strategy that resonates and engages.

Bonus Tip: Stay updated on Instagram’s ongoing updates to Reels Insights and utilize new features as they become available. This ensures you have the latest data tools to analyze your performance and stay ahead of the curve.

By harnessing the power of Reels Insights, you can transform from a casual creator to a data-driven master of engagement. Track your progress, analyze your wins and losses, and continuously refine your approach to create Reels that captivate your audience and achieve your goals. Let the data be your guide, and you’ll be dancing your way to success in the ever-evolving world of Instagram Reels!

The Importance of Video Content

Video is no longer a nice addition to a marketing strategy – it is a necessity. Whether it be for social media in the form of Instagram Reels, a YouTube video or a Facebook post – video is where our speciality lies.

At ProfileTree, we are experts in video marketing. If you are interested in how we can help, or simply want to chat ideas – contact us today.


  • Do I need professional equipment to create Reels? No, you can create engaging Reels with just your smartphone and some creativity. Focus on good lighting, sound, and editing before investing in additional equipment.
  • How often should I post Reels? Consistency is key. Aim for 2-3 Reels per week to keep your audience engaged and build momentum.
  • Should I focus on short-term trends or evergreen content? A mix of both is ideal. Capitalize on trending hashtags and challenges, but also create informative, valuable content that stays relevant beyond current trends.
  • How can I track my Reels performance? Utilize Instagram Insights to see key metrics like views, engagement, reach, and click-through rates. Analyze your data to understand what resonates with your audience and refine your strategy.
  • I’m not comfortable being on camera. Are there other ways to use Reels? Absolutely! Create text-based Reels, showcase product demos, use behind-the-scenes footage, or leverage user-generated content. There are endless creative possibilities beyond being on camera.

Instagram Reels Conclusion:

The rise of Instagram Reels presents a thrilling opportunity for brands and creators alike. By embracing creativity, understanding technical features, and leveraging the power of data, you can unlock the potential of this dynamic platform to reach new audiences, engage followers, and achieve your business goals.

Remember, authenticity, innovation, and consistent effort are key. So, grab your phone, unleash your creativity, and start captivating the world with your own Reels magic!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *