Instagram Reels are one of the most popular social media formats at the moment. Once again, Instagram saw that a competing platform was becoming popular with an innovative content format (before it was Snapchat’s Stories, now it’s TikTok) and they stepped up their game to offer a similar feature their users would love.
While Instagram has always been a valuable platform for businesses and marketers, Reels create new opportunities. The format is highly engaging, and it offers incredible reach and discoverability benefits that can help brands quickly grow their audiences.
What are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels are full-screen, vertical video clips on Instagram that typically include audio clips and visual effects.
Think of them as a mashup of Stories and in-feed Posts. They have a similar format and vibe as Stories. But like feed posts, Reels can include full-length captions that users can choose to expand. People can interact also interact with Reels by liking, sharing, and adding comments.
Reels make it very easy for users to follow an account if they enjoy the content. There’s a Follow button right next to the brand name, above the caption. As you can see in the example above, product tags can be added to Reels, too.
Like IGTV (R.I.P.), Reels are technically a “separate” type of content that lives in its own tab, while also showing up in users’ feeds, as you can see in the example below. When displayed in-feed, Reels are cropped to the standard vertical post format, but users can use the Watch Reels CTA in the bottom corner of the video to jump into the full Reels view.
The feature was expected to be so popular that Instagram created a Reels tab in the app’s main interface. When users click this, they see a feed of Reels chosen for them based on the content they interact with on the platform. They can scroll vertically to see additional content (typically from accounts they don’t already follow) — which can be highly addicting.