This past year, TikTok won the fight for our digital attention span. In response to the video app’s lightning-fast rise to the top, powerhouse Instagram launched ‘Reels.’

Though the initial reaction was mixed – the word copycat was mentioned a couple of times -, we’re here to tell you why now is the time to focus on Instagram Reels. Really.

@sistersandspice for Garden Gourmet

Remember when Instagram was just about posting a single photo, putting a – at the time – cool frame around it, and feeling ecstatic over every like? Ah, simpler times. Since then, the app has grown into a worldwide go-to favorite, and we find ourselves constantly refreshing for new content. Recently, there’s been a new player on the block fighting for our collective attention: TikTok. It’s clear that Instagram feels the video app breathing down its necks, as they’ve recently introduced ‘Reels.’ Not convinced? We are, and we’ll tell you why.

Comparable to TikTok, Instagram Reels are short videos that allow for plenty of creativity thanks to a catalog of sounds, effects, music, etc. Like the ‘for you page,’ Reels are also presented in one main feed where you can swipe through an endless stream of content. So you may ask yourselves: if Reels are just a copy of TikTok, why not stick to what you know? Why should you head on over to Instagram and invest time and energy in Reels?

Because Instagram has done this before, and with great success.

At the beginning of the Instagram Stories, most of us were hesitant as well, comparing the new format to Snapchat – which (again) it was obviously based on. Fast forward to 2021, and Instagram Stories have become indispensable while Snapchat is on the verge of irrelevance.

Instagram saw a formula for success, replicated the idea, and even improved it. It isn’t illogical then that they see TikTok as an opportunity to do this again.

And they are smart in doing so. With this new addition, Instagram now has five types of content (Posts, Stories, Live, IGTV, and Reels), pushing users to spend more time on their app instead of TikTok and other competitors. Offering an all-in-one platform will help with that.

The addition of Reels allows you to maximize your use of the app, improve the interaction with your audience and centralize all content marketing efforts. You don’t have to divide your energy over different platforms anymore; now, you can focus it all in one place. And your followers just have to open Instagram to see it all.

@museofgreens for Alpro

On top of that, Instagram is massively pushing Reels.

The recent update to the app’s homepage didn’t go unnoticed and upset many people, but it shows just how hard Instagram is betting on Reels. They are taking center stage of the new main navigation bar. This prime positioning in the app is an effective tactic to push users towards Reels.  

Plus, Reels successfully fills the gap of high-quality content with a longer shelf life than 24 hours. Sure, you can turn your Stories into highlights, but Reels offer a more dynamic and creative opportunity. Plus, with over 1 billion users already active on Instagram, it’s a great way to reach more and new audiences.

So why not try it? Reels have a lot of benefits:

  • They’re easy to create

Reels are designed to be short videos, so they don’t require a lot of production or investment, and they can be created inside the app.

Think funny clips, but also quick tutorials or other educational content. This allows your followers to get to know you better and positions you as an expert on a topic within your community.

  • They’re very shareable

You have to be tagged to be able to share a Story, and you can’t share a Story to your feed. The reach and possibilities of Stories are thus limited.

Reels, on the other hand, are very shareable. You can share them with your Story and your grid, and viewers can do the same. This instantly widens your audience and possibilities.

  •  They’re shoppable

You might’ve already noticed, but Instagram is also betting on shopping. The app is now pretty much covered with shopping content. The same goes for Reels, which means you can now showcase products, tag companies, and allow people to tap through. If you have a shop, you can increase sales and traffic, and if you’re working with sponsored content, this allows more referrals as well.

@hanne_dem for Imperial