It’s incredible to think that Instagram Reels were only introduced just two years ago. While video content has been around on social media for years, the bite-sized, vertical Reels format has revolutionized the way brands, businesses and creators share content with their audiences.
Today, Instagram Reels are the hottest content format on the platform. These snackable, entertaining videos have skyrocketed in popularity, with Reels generating 67% more engagement than standard Instagram videos.
We know that the future of Instagram is geared towards vertical, video content (a.k.a. Reels). In the past few months alone, we’ve seen a stack of upgrades and improvements to the Reels format, such as extending the length of Reels from 60 to 90 seconds. It’s clear that the team from Instagram are banking on this content format dominating in the years to come!
Let’s dive into the history of Reels, why Instagram is heavily investing in this content format and a stack of tangible benefits you can expect from tapping into the power of Reels.
The rapid rise of Reels on Instagram
Instagram Reels was first launched on the platform in August 2020, giving creators a new way to produce fun, short-form video content.
The move came in response to the exponential growth of Instagram’s biggest competitor: TikTok. In fact, in 2020 alone TikTok saw a whopping 850 million downloads (and continued to see a 142% increase in revenue year-on-year in 2021)
But let’s get back to Instagram. In order to keep pace and retain users, Instagram took inspiration from TikTok to launch the Reels format. In a nutshell, Reels are punchy 15 to 90-second videos that include multiple clips that are spliced together, paired with audio, effects and text overlays.
What makes Reels different from other types of video content on Instagram is their vertical sizing that takes up a user’s entire screen space. Today, you’ll even find a dedicated tab in the Instagram app where you can swipe through an endless feed of recommended Reels content.
In 2022, we saw a string of major announcements from Instagram revealing exciting new upgrades to the Reels format. These updates have included:
- Instagram Reels Templates: allowing users to replicate the format and timing of existing Reels from other users.
- Interactive stickers on Instagram Reels: users can now use Polls, Quiz and Emoji slider stickers on their Reels (just like Instagram Stories stickers!).
- Import your own Reels audio: gain more creative control with the ability to import your own audio and music when creating an Instagram Reel.
- Pin Reels to your profile: make sure your profile visitors never miss your best content by pinning three of your favorite Reels to the top of your grid.
- Extending Reels from 60 to 90 seconds: giving you more time to connect with your audience.
Most interestingly, Instagram has revealed a massive change is underway with the platform experience. Instagram is now trialling a full-screen immersive feed where all content will appear in a vertical, scrollable feed that takes up your entire screen space.
This is the clearest sign to date that Instagram is moving away from its roots as a photo-sharing platform, and embracing a Reels-first future. This means that brands, businesses and creators need to keep up with the times and shift to a video-first social media strategy on Instagram.
By embracing the Reels format and thinking video-first, you can ensure your content continues to rank well in the Instagram algorithm. Plus, vertical video content is going to be the dominant content format in Instagram’s new immersive feed experience. By publishing high-quality Reels on a regular basis, you’re giving your brand the best shot of being seen and discovered on Instagram!
What is stopping brands and businesses from creating Instagram Reels?
But we get it: Reels and video content can seem like a mammoth investment of time and energy. If you’re yet to jump on the Reels or TikTok bandwagon, you might be intimidated by the prospect of dancing in front of the camera or coming up with engaging new video ideas.
Fear not: Instagram Reels aren’t as daunting as you might think! Let’s run you through some of the common roadblocks you might be facing, along with practical steps you can take to overcome them.
Roadblock 1: ‘I have nothing to film!’
Struggling to come up with Reels content ideas? You don’t have to go it alone! Here at Plann, we’ve got you covered with daily content prompts and caption starters that work across all industries and niches.
Here are a few Reels ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Film a behind-the-scenes Reel of your office or work routine
- Give a demo of a product you sell
- Share a round-up of your favorite productivity apps
- Empower your audience with a quick how-to video
- Jump on a trending Reels format (we publish trending sounds to our Instagram Feed each week to help you speed up your content creation process too!)
Remember: there’s always something to create a Reel about!
Roadblock 2: ‘I don’t have time to create Reels!’
Creating Reels doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. All it takes is a bit of planning and preparation to get the best results. In fact, some of the best-performing Reels on Instagram are no more than 30 seconds long!
Here are a few ways to speed up your Reels creation process:
- Jot down every potential Reels idea in a brainstorming document so you have a huge bank of ideas to come back to in the future.
- Plan out your Reel before you start filming (including your scenes, transitions, key points, sounds and text overlays).
- Film multiple Reels in one go to help you get into a rhythm and produce a bank of content you can share in the weeks ahead.
Did you know that you can schedule your Reels ahead of time using Plann? Plus you can now auto-post your Reels through Plann, making it easier than ever before to post Reels regularly on Instagram.
Roadblock 3: ‘I don’t have the skills to create Reels!’
Reels are designed to be quick, bite-sized videos produced and shot on a mobile phone. All you need is a smartphone and the Instagram app to bring a Reel to life!
Ready to create an Instagram Reel in 6 easy steps?
- Open up the Instagram Stories camera and select “Reels”.
- Click “Audio” to choose from Instagram’s audio library. You can even trim the audio to just your favorite part!
- Film or upload video footage. Remember, Reels can be a series of clips (filmed one at a time and spliced together), or all at once.
- Select the length of your video and set a timer.
- Once you’re done filming, add stickers, text, or even a voiceover to edit your Reel.
- Add a Cover Image to your Reel and hit publish!
3 reasons to tap into the benefits of Instagram Reels
Still wondering why your brand or business should be posting Reels on Instagram? Here are three unmissable benefits of jumping on Reels:
- Boost your organic reach: Instagram Reels are one of the best ways to increase your chances of appearing in the Instagram Discover feed. If you’re looking to boost brand awareness or get your products in front of hundreds of people, you need to be creating Reels to boost your organic visibility on Instagram.
- Reels humanise your brand: we know that users need to trust your business before they buy from you. By creating funny, relatable Reels you can showcase the personality of your brand and build valuable rapport with potential customers.
- Skyrocket your engagement rate: Reels are the most engaging content format on Instagram. From likes to comments to shares, Reels offer endless opportunities for your brand to boost your engagement rate and rank well in the Instagram algorithm.
Skyrocket your social media success with Reels auto posting on Plann!
Clearly, Instagram Reels are your ticket to growing your audience, boosting your engagement rates and ultimately driving sales and conversions. Now is the time to be experimenting with Reels and testing this exciting new video format to keep your social media strategy relevant.
PSA: you can now auto-post Reels through Plann! That’s right: no more mobile notifications or jumping onto your accounts after-hours to post Reels.
Ready to take your Instagram account to the next level? Sign up for a 7-day free trial of Plann Pro. If you don’t like it, you can keep using Plann for free.