Instagram Reels is now live in the US and offers users a new way to create and watch short videos. In fact, it’s a lot like the troubled TikTok.
Instagram Reels is now live in the US and allows users to create fun and engaging videos that are fifteen seconds long, and can be set to music. It is near impossible to talk about Instagram Reels without comparing it to TikTok and although TikTok has gone viral globally, it is currently facing the prospect of being banned or (forced to sell) its US operations, due to privacy concerns. If TikTok is banned in the US, then this is the perfect opportunity for Instagram Reels to take over.
Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 and the picture-sharing platform has over one billion active users. With rivals such as TikTok giving users fun ways to create short videos, Facebook had to come up with an innovative way to keep Instagram users on the platform. Instagram stories were introduced in August 2016 and although it was a welcomed tweak, it was very similar to Snapchat’s distinct story format that allows its users to post photos or videos to their profiles that expire and disappear after twenty-four hours. Instagram stories gained popularity as it is used by brands, celebrities, and influencers and now with the new addition of Instagram Reels, users are able to edit video content and share it on their Instagram stories.
Facebook introduced Instagram Reels on Wednesday, inviting users to try out the new feature by creating, editing, and sharing fifteen-second multi-clip videos. Videos can be set to music and there are a host of tools creatives can use to make their video engaging. The videos will be shared to a user’s feed. Instagram Reels in Explore allows public profiles to share their videos to a wider audience; users can use Reels in Explore to reach other users and penetrate new audiences. Anyone’s reel can be selected to feature in Explore; if selected, a user will be notified. Reels with the featured label are hand-picked by Instagram to allow users to discover fresh and exciting content. In terms of availability, Instagram Reels is live in the US, as well as more than 50 countries around the world.
How To Create An Instagram Reel
To create an Instagram Reel, tap on the Instagram Stories camera to open it and select the Reels mode in the bottom menu, next to Story. To access Reels, simply tap the Instagram Stories capture button whilst it displays the Reels icon. Users have a variety of options to choose from to make their videos more engaging, such as audio and AR Effects. Users are also able to use a timer and a countdown function to allow for hands-free recording or time to prepare. In addition, there’s the option to speed up or slow down videos or use the align feature to create cohesive transitions. Users can record multiple short clips by tapping and holding the capture button and releasing it when they want the recording to pause or stop. At the top of the screen is a progress indicator and after editing, the Reel is ready to be sent out into the world.
A Reel can be shared with followers or with a larger audience in Explore. When the Reel is ready, it can be saved as a draft, and the cover image can be edited. Users are free to add a caption and hashtags, as well as tag their friends. Instagram has edited its user profile format to include a place for users to store their Reels under the Reels tab; they can also appear on a user’s grid, if they shared the Reel on their feed. Reels can be shared to a user’s Story and they will disappear after twenty-four hours and can also be shared via DM. Instagram is very skilled at taking an already existing idea and refining it to make it a success on its platform and this TikTok-like feature may just be what it needs to give it an edge over the competition.
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