What’s Instagram Reels? How To Use the TikTok Rival?

The app is gaining lots of traction lately.

In early August 2020, Instagram introduced a brand new feature within the application, known as ‘Instagram Reels’. The basic premise of the feature is to allow users to create and discover short videos on Instagram and share them on their stories along with the new Reels tab on their profiles, similar to TikTok.

Instagram Reels is now getting traction. It has its own feed, known as the Reels Explore Feed, which can be found on the Instagram Explore Page. Instead of just seeing Reels from your followed accounts, you will also see them from the trending accounts.

How To Make Reels on Instagram

To start creating Reels, select ‘Reels’ at the bottom of the Instagram camera. You’ll see some tools on the left of your screen to help you, including:

  • Audio: You can select a song from your music library, or record your own voice to use as sound.
  • AR Effects: You have the option of choosing from numerous augmented reality effects in the gallery, to create multiple short interactive clips.
  • Time and Countdown: Set the timer to any time you like and record your clip hands-free.
  • Align: Line up objects from your previous clip before you start recording the next one, to create a seamless transition.
  • Speed: Choose the speed of your clip, whether you want it to be normal or slow-motion.
instagram reels
Image: Instagram

It is totally up to you to record the clips one at a time, all at once, or by using video uploads directly from your gallery. Record the first clip by holding the capture button; you’ll see an indicator showing your progress at the top of the screen as you record. To end each clip, simply stop recording.

Difference Between IGTV and Reels

With Instagram moving towards the provision of more video entertainment for its users, it is normal to expect at least some confusion with regards to the differences between the recently launched Reels and IGTV, the feature Instagram launched in 2018. Here are the key differences:

  • Length: Since the aim of Reels is to let users create short content, they typically run from 15 to 30 seconds, whereas IGTV starts from one minute and can go up to 15 minutes, useful for users wanting to talk about something at length or host a Q&A.
  • Insights: IGTV has the capability to provide basic insights like views, likes, comments, shares and saves, while Reels cannot provide insights outside of what can be seen publicly, so it only provides views, likes and comments (if enabled).
  • Editing Options: Reels provide in-app features but also lets users create content outside the application and then upload it without using any of the in-app features. IGTV, on the other hand, contains no such in-app features and users have to create the content through the Instagram app only.
Image: Instagram

Ever since the launch of Reels, the feature has seen some big names from different industries opt to use it. Some of the biggest Reels users are:

  • Netflix: The streaming giant took to Reels to promote the release of the musical-comedy Work It, showing a 15-second clip to increase the hype around the film.
  • Red Bull: Red Bull became one of the earliest Reels users, uploading original content accompanied by the #RedBullKeepItReels hashtag, showing a variety of sports stunts such as skydiving.
  • NBA Basketball: 20 out of NBA franchise’s 30 teams posted Reels within a couple of months of its launch, resulting in 22% increased engagement for them. The short clips shared by the team contained a variety of content, from game recaps to clips promoting kit deals.

What Other Apps Are Competing Against Instagram Reels?

Apart from the obvious choice, TikTok, there are a few other applications that could be considered clear competitors of Instagram Reels. Let’s discuss them below:

  • Likee: It is a Singaporean short video creation and sharing app owned by BIGO Technology. It allows users to create and edit videos using many visual effects such as 4D Magic, and recreate famous movie scenes to share with their followers.
  • Byte: Launched as a successor to Vine, Byte is an American short-form video hosting service that allows users to create looping videos between two to sixteen seconds long. It also features a community forum where followers can chat with their favorite content creators.
  • Triller: This is also an American video-sharing app that allows users to create and share short videos. It uses an AI-based video editing tool that automatically adds special effects to the videos, such as overlays and slow-motion.
  • Dubsmash: A New York-based video sharing application, Dubsmash allows its users to choose an audio recording or soundbite from movies, TV shows and worldwide trends, and record a video of them dubbing over that audio to share with their friends. 

Keeping in mind the resounding success of TikTok, and the fact that Instagram didn’t allow users to create videos spanning less than a minute, the move to create Reels makes a lot of business sense.

With the variety of tools available for users to choose from within the features, as well as the in-app editing capabilities, Reels look all set to be a resounding success, giving other short-video applications a run for their money.

Let us know in the comments your favorite part of Reels!


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