What are Instagram Reels?

The latest video feature allows users to create and post videos of up to 15 seconds with music in the background.

If you think this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! A lot of people are comparing it to TikTok. Instagram’s latest addition is available in more than 50 countries, and they’re rapidly expanding that.

It’s a great place to share styling and fashion videos, traveling clips, beauty videos, and just about anything and everything else!

Instagram reels don’t post directly to your feed in the same way as posts and videos (although you can select this as an option) Instead, they have a separate section on your profile, in a similar way to IGTVs the shop function.

Watch our short IGTV tutorial on how to create a Reel!

How do Reels work?

Instagram Reels have their feed section within the app. You can access the Reels by going to the Explore tab.
You can browse and interact with reels in a similar way to how you view your Feed now.

The algorithm of Reels isn’t set in stone yet. The videos that come up on your feed will be of those users you already follow; while those in the Explore page will be similar to people you already follow and the kind of content you usually like.

You can like and comment on Reels in the same way as posts and share Reels to your Story or send a Reel to others via DM. You can also tell Instagram that you’re “not interested” in a Reel by clicking on the three dots below the caption.

You’ll see some “Featured” Instagram Reels, and these are “a selection of public reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content we hope will entertain and inspire you.” If your Reel has been chosen to be featured, you will be notified.

How to make your own Instagram Reel

To start making a Reel, you’ll need to go to your homepage feed, and swipe to the right, as if you’re creating an Instagram Story.

From here, select the ‘Reel’ option and start making your Reel! There are several video editing options to choose from, including speed, a range of special effects, and a timer for making each section of the Reel.

You can find sounds and effects and use them directly from other Reels, similar to TikTok.  You can also view other Reels that use the same sound like the one you’re viewing by clicking on the sound. From here, you can use the audio to make your own Reel. There is the option to select a sound from the huge library of songs and sounds, or even upload your own!

For special effects, you can save the ones you see, such as with Instagram Stories, or browse effects. The same applies to sound and music – you can see tailored ‘for you’ songs, browse genres, or search for specific songs and artists. 

To start filming, select the length, press the capture button, and begin recording after the countdown.

Once you’ve taken the clip, you can crop it or bin it entirely if you’re not happy with it. You can film several clips and combine them into one Reel. 

Once you’ve made your Reel, you can add stickers and text in the same way as you add them to an Instagram Story. Next, you can select which parts of the Reel that the text appears on. The text will appear faded on the screen for the parts of the reel that you don’t want text on. 

When you’ve finished your Reel, you can post it as you would normally with a post. Add a short caption and don’t forget to include relevant hashtags!

Will Reels be the next big thing?

With the current controversy around TikTok, especially in the US, it seems likely that Instagram Reels will be a massive hit, but nobody seems sure whether it’ll be more successful than Tik Tok.

In the beginning, there was also hesitation around Instagram Stories. However, those turned out to be a valuable and popular tool.

As we explained in our webinar on the Instagram algorithm, we know Instagram rewards behavior that keeps users longer on the app. It also rewards if you make use of all tools that Instagram has to offer. It makes sense you should create Reels, as an additional tool to create content with and engage your audience.

So far, we’ve noticed Reels have good engagement and high impressions. It doesn’t hurt to try it out and see for yourself!

As we learn more about Reels, we’ll share our learnings with you in our upcoming blog posts!