Does Instagram’s ‘Reels’ make a difference we truly need?
Instagram recently launched it’s direct competitor to TikTok, following-on from parent company, Facebooks‘ established business model of identifying established and successful approaches and integrating into their own apps.
Note: Does anyone remember Lasso?
And while some might question the clear lack of originality in launching a mirror-app, our question is, do we need another TikTok and what does Reels offer that TikTok, Triller and other short-forn video apps don’t already serve us?
Instagram Reels provides users the opportunity to record 15-second clips, with musical accompaniment. Sound familiar?
As Gen-Z continues to command control over the social media share, the need to build upon established ground is clear. Instagram has over 1 BILLION users and the last thing a business wants to do is stagnate, so heeeeeeeeeeere’s Reels!
What does Instagram Reels actually do?
Having been trialled in Brazil first (a popular testing-ground for many apps, including LinkedIn), Instagram has rolled-out its’ next video element, adding to Stories, IGTV, and Video Posts to most of the rest of the world.
The Reels feed can easily be found on the Instagram Explore Page and you not only see Reels from accounts you follow, but those Instagram views as popular and you might too.
Note: if you find the “Featured” notice popping-up, don’t be surprised, this is Insta’s way of directing you towards content you might like.
Pick your video, upload, edit, add music, pick an emoji or more, speed-up, slow-down, scribble here and there, add extra effects…the apps a playground for creatives to deliver something they believe their audience will enjoy.
Well, there you go…but what’s the point?
Wing Digital Marketing spoke with a number of social media experts to find out how they view the new wave of short-form apps in the stores, how they identify whether they’re worth their time and how they make the most of the features.
With the glut of short form social media, video apps available in the app stores, how do you decide which to use and focus your attention on?
“I like to try everything out and I focus my energy and time on the things that are bringing me the most value and where I’m seeing the most growth and progress.” Maayan Gordan, Tiktoker and Marketing Maven.
“As a social media personality and influencer, I have to focus my attention on the app where I have the biggest following, growth and potential to make money. In my case, that’s TikTok. It also helps that this is the app that combines my strengths and I truly enjoy posting and consuming content from the other creators.” Jennifer Cline
“I personally download every here and there 5 new apps from different markets (China, Europe, US) and I test them out to see similarities, differences and opportunities.
I usually stick with the ones I understand the most in terms of language and community, I see if they can be not only entertaining apps but actually potential marketing channels for our clients (even in the long run 6-18 months) and I discuss them with other professionals in our field.” Alessandro Bogliari
Instagram’s new ‘Reels‘ feature has been widely seen as a copy of Tiktok and Triller, and with Facebook’s “original” ‘Lasso‘ app failing to hit it’s stride, do you see Reels as a real competitor (pun intended) and are you using or planning to use it?
“Reels is a nice feature on Instagram to give a little bit more organic discovery to your posts, but it’s in no way a competitor to Tiktok or Triller.” Maayan Gordan
“Instagram’s new ‘Reels’ feature has been widely seen as a copy of tiktok and triller, and with Facebook’s “original” ‘Lasso’ app seemingly failing to hit it’s stride, do yousee Reels as a real competitor (pun intended) and are you using or planning to use it?
Reels is, for now, one of the main features of Instagram while TikTok is a dedicated app with a strong community and a revolutionary algorithm.
If Instagram will be able to focus more on Reels (and avoid to make the same mistakes made with IGTV) it can become a nice asset for those influencers that have a strong community on Instagram and also for those brands that prefer investing on a more solid and well-known social media (Instagram is definitely more mainstream for brands and companies compared to TikTok)” Alessandro Bogliari
“Reels is a nice feature on Instagram to give a little bit more organic discovery to your posts, but it’s in no way a competitor to Tiktok or Triller. A big reason why that’s true is it’s just a single feature within the app that users still have to find and engage with – it’s not the main feature of the app itself.
Also it doesn’t give the same amount of organic reach as Tiktok. I have not seen any reels videos doing millions of views and that’s one of Tiktok’s big advantages.” Maayan Gordan
“NO. Reels, in my opinion, is a totally watered down, not as cool version of TikTok or even Triller. There was no hype or instructions to Instagram users prior to its release and sharing my first video took at least a half hour to figure out how to access and post.
The ability to add popular music is a plus, but timing the audio clip to videos is not exactly easy. Let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for the success of TikTok, I doubt Instagram would have released IGTV and Reels.
Instagram has the opportunity to come up with unique ways to showcase our photos rather that playing catch up to TT. (I have suggestions!)
There’s still the issue with formatting, a video shared in Reels and also posted to our timeline cuts off our heads and any wording that was added.
As well, the 15 second cut off has left me chopping my TikTok videos in half.
I am only using it because it’s a new feature and I hope to reach a new audience. So far, it does appear to be working but has not translated into account growth as I’d hoped.
I’m also seeing a lot of videos with TikTok watermarks on Reels. There is no ability to duet or share original sounds, all of which make TikTok successful and FUN. Reels is lacking the FUN factor.
I do have a Triller account but basically use it to upload my TikTok videos in an effort to drive traffic to that app.
Triller to me is what MTV was to my generation. It seems to benefit the well known music artists and not small time creators.
Not being able to add music within the app is a major drawback as well as the limited categories when posting.
I don’t feel I fit into any of the options.
I spend very little time watching other creators and of the videos I’ve seen, it looks like TikTok has a major impact there.”
I had a Lasso account but only created it hoping to grow quickly as an early adopter. I got a lot of foreign content on my FYP and the videos were low quality.” Jennifer Cline – Artist, Flag Maker, TikTok Creator.
“TikTok is definitely the best one for many reasons, starting from the interface, passing by the algorithm and finishing with its community and creative aspects. Triller I think is more “corporate” and really focused on music (even if they added a “Social” tab); Reels has a big name behind (Instagram) but has still to find its own identity.” Alessandro Bogliari – CEO The Influencer Marketing Factory and TikTok Expert.
Of the current apps available, Tiktok, Triller, Lasso, Reels and others, which are you most hopeful for and what are the differences you see in their applroaches…if any?
“I still see Tiktok as having the most potential because if it’s organic and viral growth that focuses on delivering the videos to people who want to watch them instead of requiring people to seek out the content like other apps. I do also like Triller because it has a unique editing style and a robust music library. I think there are some new really exciting apps that are going to be launching next year and it’s always good to keep your eyes peeled for the next new thing.” Maayan Gordan
“TikTok is king as long as it doesn’t get banned in the US.
Here is what they are doing that the others are not:
The Discover page
When I am in need of ideas, I go to the Discover page to see the trends. Just the banners at the top alone create excitement, a sense of community, showcase causes, promote learning, etc. Then, if you scroll down you can see trending topics and sounds. The other apps lack this.
I signed up for the pro account which is valuable! I know what videos my followers are watching, the popular sounds, what time is best to post, and much more.
Sense of CommunityThere is a real feeling of community on this app created by daily trends, duets, and use of each other’s sounds.
Opportunity to make money as a creator
I have not made money from TT yet but hopefully that will change soon. I have been approached by several companies and received free products and compensation.
I don’t have a whole lot of hope for Lasso, I think I even deleted it from my phone. I think Reels will stick around for a while but I see no advantage in releasing it vs. IGTV.
Triller seems to be growing but I don’t spend much time there, I just post and ghost.
In my opinion, each app needs to focus on what makes them unique and come up with original ideas to differentiate it from TikTok.
If we have everything we need and like on TikTok, why go elsewhere?” Jennifer Cline
“I hope Instagram will give with Reels the opportunity to everyone to get the right organic reach they deserve (as it happens on the FYP on TikTok); also, they have to minimize the call-to-actions on the Story/Reels/Live section that is now confusing; in general, Instagram has to make a strong choice and decide if making Reels a priority or just another of its features.” Alessandro Bogliari
Rightly so, opinions are divided on this newest social video app, but it’s all in the pudding. Trial, error, retry, re…error? Facebook failed with Lasso, they “created” Reels.
The need to create is at the heart of users, the need to provide a relevant service is at the heart of all business models.
Should Reels disappear in a year, then I’m sure Facebook will bring us another platform, or Microsoft, or China…
If you wish to speak with us, visit Wing Digital Marketing and let´s make productive and successful changes together.