INSTAGRAM REELS -- WHAT BRANDS NEED TO KNOW
Updated: Aug 24
There’s a lot of uncertainty around TikTok and people are very excited about Instagram Reels, but what does this mean for your brand?
As an influencer agency we’re always talking with our clients about the latest and greatest so it’s no surprise that we dug into Reels and got to the bottom of Instagram Reels advertising and the impact on brand marketing. What makes this Instagram feature so buzzworthy? Why should you start using it immediately? And definitely, what can you as a brand do today to implement Instagram Reels into your influencer marketing strategy?
Here’s what we know right now:
Instagram Reels allows users to create sticky, 15-second videos full of AR features using a diverse music library
In the USA there are 114% more 18-24 year olds on Instagram than TikTok
Short-form video is here to stay
Reels currently allows for multiple touchpoints with an audience because content can be parallel posted to Stories or a native Instagram post in addition to Reels
You can expect the engagement rate of a Reels post to be similar to that of a native Instagram post
You can expect over 10X the views of Reels content compared to Story content although we expect this to change over time
Paid social is not yet an option with Reels
You cannot currently include a “swipe-up” or clickable link with Reels but we expect that to change over time
Integrated videos with creators is the only clear way to advertise on Reels
Initial brand engagement has resulted in +5M views for early adopting campaigns
Creative and original content is the most important part of advertising on short-form video
Will the fourth feature of Instagram compete with TikTok?
Reels is the new offering on Instagram, integrated into the app as part of the other features like Stories and IGTV. It might seem like the app is getting too cluttered and users might feel overwhelmed by all the content; but we can’t discount the influence and spending that Facebook has put into this feature and most likely will continue to invest in it. Take for example Stories, it initially was just a simple copy of Snapchat but it has evolved into a considerable size of the interest in Instagram. The editing capabilities in Reels isn’t there yet and according to some of the creators that we work with, the editing capabilities are just not there yet. We expect that editing features will grow and expand to become competitive with those on TikTok in the coming weeks and months.
Reels gives creativity the edge over technique
Keep in mind, Reels is only a feature of Instagram, so content still lives on the Instagram platform. There is a similar UI as Stories with videos taking up the majority of the screen. Captions overlay the video and are similar to a native post where they can contain clickable account tags. At the moment users don’t have the ability to add links or swipe up content, which is a huge drawback for brands. Take an hour to play around with Reels, learn the editing style and capabilities. You’ll honestly enjoy pairing a cooking video with your favorite 90’s hip hop song.
What’s up with the algorithm?
You can expect the algorithm to ultimately be similar to TikTok but, to entice creativity in the Reels community, Instagram is assisting the visibility of certain videos. The algorithm relies on your location, who and what you interact with, who follows you, and what’s trending/popular.
As a brand, what should you do if you want to advertise on Reels?
Although a paid social feature is not yet available within Reels, your brand can partner with creators to develop authentic content, allowing the creator to advocate for your brand to their audience. At The Outloud Group, we believe a paid feature will certainly come in the near future, but for now brands need to focus on building their creator relationships, and start having Instagram partners post content to Instagram Reels today in the form of integrated videos. We are that Reels posts are getting 10 to 11 times the number of views of a native post and similar engagement rates which is a fantastic incentive to start testing now.
Take advantage of the fact that Instagram’s community is curious in Reels from both the creation and consumption side, and take advantage of the fact that Instagram has the preexisting audience to support Reels. An early adoption of the platform is key to having a wealth of content, and don’t be intimidated by the current lack of data, reporting, and transparency. This will come soon. On this topic, we trust in Zuckerberg.
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