Getting Real with Instagram Reels

TikTok has found its way back into the spotlight, but this time it’s because of its forever rival, Facebook, on their release of a brand new Instagram social feature; Instagram Reels. If you’ve already seen reels start to appear on your feed, or had a brief (or endless) dabble in the continuous scrolling timeline, you probably will have noticed that the feature is quite familiar. Actually, it’s extremely familiar, in that it is a near-exact copycat of the popular platform, TikTok.

If you’re curious about the TikTok tea, how to start reeling yourself, or just want to get savvy at swiping, our Associate Director of Social Strategy Nicole Wei has you covered with our Instagram Reels breakdown.

The Why

Leveraging the launch of Instagram Reels on the back of the TikTok crisis is a clever move from Facebook. Whether or not loyal TikTok users will make the transition is another story. However, if Instagram Reels launch goes anything like the launch of Instagram stories in 2016, which currently has 500 million daily users, it could be a game-changer for the app.

The How

The new Reels Explore Feed (aka the For You Page) can be found on your Instagram Explore page and, just like TikTok, operates with a continuous feed. Like the aforementioned app, be prepared to sign away hours of your life to the endless scrolling.

Users can record and edit together 15-second video clips set to music and share them on stories, explore feeds, and the new reels tab. Are you tempted to make your own? Simply open your Instagram story camera and find the reels icon.

What Next

The feature is designed to be a fast, fun way to share creative and potentially viral videos with a broad audience. The social feature allows videos to show up on explore pages, reaching a whole new audience, and links directly back to your Instagram account. For brands, this could be an invaluable way to optimize Instagram’s 1 million active users and grow their following, one viral video at a time.

My favourite videos I’ve seen so far are this makeup tutorial from Sephora, a collaboration with @ryanbpotter, which gained over 1.9 million views. This clever use of influencer marketing from Walmart, and this smart use of creative editing to showcase products for Topshop.

Keeping it Reel

If you’re looking for more advice on TikTok, social media marketing, or just general social savviness, contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Thinkingbox is a global creative collective shaping the future of brands through craft and curiosity.