instagram reels

Instagram Reels: Everything You Need to Know from A to Z

Have you ever heard about Instagram’s new feature called Instagram Reels? Like many other platforms, Instagram presented it to its users during the pandemic to increase the reach and number of users within the platform. Some people describe it as a clone of TikTok by Facebook, as they have many similarities. 

In this article, we will talk about the benefits, features, and other ways of using it in your marketing campaigns, as many popular brands are already using it and generate huge traffic and conversions with it. You will find out the main advantages of Instagram Reels and understand how to use them to benefit your brand.  

What is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is a new feature of Instagram which offers a new way of creating short and creative videos. Reels allows its users to create and share videos with their friends and anyone on Instagram. You can record and edit up to 30-second entertaining videos with custom audio, effects, and filters. 

You can share Instagram Reels on your Instagram feed, and if you have a public account you can become a creator and your Reels can reach millions of users via new space in Explore.


Instagram Reels vs TikTok

As you may know, TikTok was launched in 2016 and since then it has more than 800 million users. The concept of TikTok was very interesting and attracted users very quickly. When Instagram Reels was launched, many influencers and creators started to create interesting content, use them to get Instagram followers, and engage them more. Let me present some of the similarities and differences.

  • Video length

TikTok users can record up to 60 second videos while  Reels has a maximum length of 30 seconds.

As the length of the video is longer on TikTok, it gives more creativity to its users while the users of Instagram Reels have to be more creative in less time.

  • Video editing

TikTok gives an opportunity to its users to choose from different effects, templates, and filters while creating videos.

On Instagram Reels  the video effects are more restricted and people can choose effects only from Instagram effects’ library. TikTokers can do voice overs on the videos they record, choosing different effects for your voice. Reels also allows you to add voice overs, however you are limited when it comes to adding special effects.

TikTok is the absolute winner when it comes to features duets, reactions and stitches features which Reels doesn’t have yet.

  • Algorithm 

Here I’m going to talk about the algorithm which affects the reach on both platforms.

TikTok’s  “For You” page is very customized to its users’ interests, accounts they follow, comments they make and content they create. But the main difference is that the TikTok algorithm works location-based. First your content will be shown to the audience based on your location, then if it goes viral it will be spread worldwide. 

As for Instagram Reels, it is not very clear how the algorithm works, but in contrast to TikTok, it is not location-based, and your chances to appear in the explore section is higher.

Also there is a “featured” video section which is a selection of public reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content that will entertain and inspire you.

If your reels become featured, the chances are high that it can go viral.

  • Analytics

If users have a TikTok pro account, they have access to all TikTok analytics and insights. TikTok gives you an opportunity to see your audience interests, what they are watching, what they are interested in and, what’s most important, you can see where your traffic comes from if your video is trending, which will help you to create content based on that analytics.

Instagram Reels doesn’t show any analytics yet, except views, likes, and comments.


Instagram Reels for brands

As we know, Instagram is one of the main channels for influencer marketing. When Instagram Reels was launched, many influencers and creators started to create interesting content and engage their followers. Then many popular brands started to use Instagram Reels,  and the results were very impressive.

Benefits of using Instagram reels in influencer marketing

Both influencers and brands want to represent their product or service in a creative way. Instagram Reels are the best way to do anything creative on Instagram. Though the length of the videos is limited, it also gives the opportunity to think about something that will engage and be interesting to people.

If a brand sends its product to an influencer, they can show it in Instagram Reels, so the content won’t seem so promotional. 

Now there are many brands, influencers, and creators that use Instagram Reels and gain huge traffic and engagement. Make sure they are using the perfect Instagram post size to make your images and videos fit perfectly on Instagram.

At first sight, TikTok wins in every sphere as Reels is very new and doesn’t have so many features yet, but there are a few big advantages that will make you understand that this is the right time to use Instagram Reels. As it is the newest feature of Instagram and it is in competition with TikTok, Instagram has increased the reach of Reels to make people use it more. So it means that videos posted in reels will gain more reach than usual posts. There are billions of videos uploaded on TikTok every day, as Instagram Reels is new,  there aren’t as many videos as on TikTok and your chances to go viral on Instagram Reels is way higher. So this is the right time to ask the influencers you work with to represent your product or service via Instagram Reels.

Brands and influencers successfully using Instagram Reels.

Let’s take a look together at brands and influencers who started utilizing Instagram Reels and benefit from it. Here we will provide some insights which will help you understand how to use reels for your brand and some ideas on what kinds of videos influencers can create for your products.

Louis Vuitton

One of the early adopters of Instagram Reels was Louis Vuitton. With Reels they got up to 8.6M views. 

Louis Vuitton has never appeared on TikTok, but it started to use a trend that is very popular on TikTok. In its reels models change their outfits in 30 seconds whilst dropping the phone showcasing the brand’s new collection. The audience likes these kinds of videos and the brand continues to record.


Sephora France

Sephora France also started to use Instagram Reels showcasing their products and makeup tutorials. They also implemented many TikTok trends on Instagram Reels and their customers liked it very much. They got more than 300K views and high engagement.


Maxie Elise

If you’re an owner of a high-end product and still think you don’t have much to do with Reels, think again Here is a good example of how an Instagram influencer showcasing Amazon finds in her Reels. Maxie Elise always shares very interesting content with her followers, showing everyday fashion, daily Amazon findings, latest tech toys and much more.  


Negin Mirsalehi

Here is another beauty influencer Negin, showing tricks to her followers via Instagram Reels simultaneously showing the products she uses. This reels gained nearly 2.5M views. Her followers liked it so much that asked her to continue recording Instagram Reels


How Does the Instagram Reels Algorithm Work?

Reels are a great tool that can skyrocket your reach and grow your engagement manyfold. But this is only possible only by becoming friends with the Instagram Reels Algorithm. As the Instagram Algorithm changes and perfects itself all the time, understanding how it functions and what kind of content performs in your niche is becoming more and more important for creators and businesses alike.

So how does Instagram Reels Algorithm work and how can it help you improve your performance? Here are a few insights

  • Don’t think of it as a single algorithm. Instagram itself said that it’s a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose”, so there is no one single way of going viral. You need to be ready to play around and experiment.
  • Brand yourself. This may come as a surprise, but a properly-designed profile, with a clear username and a beautifully crafted profile picture, will attract more clicks, and Instagram Algorithm factors that significantly. So, you need to have your account properly designed before you start creating your reels.
  • Focus on creating quality, visually attractive content. Maintain the standard of providing informative, yet engaging and fun content in your reels.
  • Start with a bang. As a rule, try to introduce the main topic of your reel within the first 3 seconds. People move through reels on Instagram pretty quickly if they are not hooked, and this negatively reflects on rankings.
  • Use the right hashtags. Research and find the most relevant hashtags for your niche that match the topic of your reel. This can significantly improve your reach and engagement. Instagram Reels Algorithm will consider this improved performance and will show your reel to more people. You can use up to 30 hashtags for your reels, but quantity doesn’t always mean quality, and you risk seeming spammy. Instead, go with 3-5 carefully targeted hashtags.

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Instagram Reels for influencers

Since Instagram announced shifting more toward video content in 2021, Instagram reels have blown up: everyone watches them, and they have proven to be effective for brands and influencers to grow their online presence and improve engagement.

Because the Instagram algorithm now favors reels over image posts, using them is no longer a choice. So, if you are thinking of jumping into the reels train, it’s about time. Let’s take a look at how exactly you can do it.

How to create an Instagram Reel: a step-by-step guide

If you’ve never made Instagram Reels before, it may initially seem overwhelming. But don’t be scared! Instagram has developed a plethora of tools designed to make the process as easy as possible. Here’s how you can create a reel in several steps:

  1. Open the Instagram app. From the Homepage or your profile tap the + icon on top and select Reel.
  2. Next, you can either capture a video by holding the record button or upload a pre-recorded video from your media gallery.
  3. If you decide to record a reel, it can be recorded as a series of several clips or one at a time. During the recording of the reel, you can leave the record button and then hold it again to continue the recording of the new segment. You can repeat this as many times as time allows. The Align button will allow you to line up the objects from the previous clips before continuing the recording process.
  4. Once your recording is ready or your pre-recorded video is uploaded, you can edit your reel using Instagram built-in tools available on the left part of the screen. You can add audio, use filters, edit the layout, adjust the speed, and more. After the editing is done, select Preview.
  5. Here, you will be able to look at how your reel looks, and edit the clips by cutting and reorganizing them to finetune your reel. Once you are happy with how your reel looks, hit Next.
  6. The final step is adjusting your reel’s settings. Here, you will change the cover photo of your reel by choosing a scene from the reel or adding a custom photo from your gallery. You can also add a caption, tag people, add a location, rename the audio, add polls and stickers, and decide whether you want your reel to appear in your feed.
  7. After all of this is adjusted, tap the share button at the bottom of the screen to post your reel.

Reels leave a lot of space to play around and use your imagination. Naturally, the more complex your final idea, the longer it will take to edit and post the reel, but the process is ultimately quite simple, and you’ll get the hang of it quite quickly.

How long can an Instagram Reel be?

The maximum duration of Instagram Reels in 2022 is 90 seconds. Initially, they could only be 15 seconds, then 30, then 60. However, since reels is a short-format content, always maxing out on all 90 seconds can eventually discourage people from viewing your videos. To avoid this, go with shorter, up to 30-second videos most of the time, and only occasionally opt for longer videos.

Instagram Reel features

Instagram Reels come jam-packed with useful and cool features you can use to shoot, create, and edit a video without leaving the app. These features include a hands-free camera timer, an option to shoot several clips in one try, align them, change the layout, adjust the speed by slowing the video down or speeding it up, add audio, reorganize the clips, add interactive elements such as polls and stickers, and much more.

What is a Reel Remix?

Reel Remix is a single piece of collaborative video that puts the original reel and the new video next to each other, making a single reel. The feature was introduced in January 2022 and essentially allows two users to mix together videos to create a brand-new reel. It’s in many ways similar to TikTok duets.
To create a remix, you need to tap on the three dots on the bottom-right section of the targeted reel, and select “Remix”, choose whether your remix should appear after the original video or with it. From there, you can then start recording your response to the video. The process is the same as in the case of recording a reel from scratch.

Tips to make better Instagram reels

To help you make better-performing, and simply better Instagram Reels, we’ve dug deep into some tested tips and best practices and separated some of the most effective ones. Here are they:

■ Use vertical videos

Instagram is a mobile-first platform, and the reels are by default designed to be viewed on smartphones. Therefore, when designing reels, always try to go with vertical videos, as they are a more organic fit to the platform.

■ Add good audio

Something to consider: people are ready to tolerate low video quality more than low audio quality. So, when creating your reel, keep the audio quality in mind. Whether you are adding original audio or using those available on Instagram, make sure it’s crisp and clear.

■ Use stickers, polls

Polls and stickers are a great way to boost engagement because people love sharing their opinion. Add them to your reels to make them much more interactive and let your followers know that their opinion matters to you, all while improving engagement with your content.

■ Use Original Audio on Instagram Reels

Instagram has a gigantic library of audio that you can use for your Reels. However, if you have a small budget you can dedicate it to creating original audio. While more resource-consuming than going with the ready-made option, original audio will significantly improve the quality of your reels. It will additionally put you in front of more people who can like and use your audio.

■ Tag relevant IG accounts and include hashtags

Hashtags and other IG accounts are a great way to improve your reach, so make sure to include them in your posts. As mentioned above, add a few relevant and carefully chosen hashtags, and tag relevant IG accounts to your reel. For example, if you are addressing it to someone, or made the reel with other people, tag them.

How to Earn from Reels With Instagram Reels Play Bonuses?

Instagram Reels Play is an invite-only bonus program developed by Instagram that lets you earn money on your reel content. Once you’ve been invited, you can start earning money through your reels. The logic behind is quite simple: Instagram pays you bonuses for the number of plays in your reels. The more your reels are viewed, the more bonuses you’ll receive.

Instagram Reels Play is a great way to earn through reels, and thousands of influencers use it around the world. However, it’s far from being the only way you can earn money through Instagram reels.

Another way is sponsorships and brand collaborations. Because of the rapid growth of reels, businesses are looking for ways to better incorporate them into their marketing strategy. As a creator with an established base of followers, you can reach out to brands looking for collaborations and offer them to promote their products through your reels. This process can be made much simpler through influencer marketing platforms like ViralMango, where brands and influencers meet for mutually-beneficial collaborations. There, you can look through brands looking for influencer collaborations in the form of images or reels, and pitch them your idea and offer without having to cold call brands on Instagram manually.

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Social media changes rapidly, and trends come and go in the blink of an eye. In that fast-evolving environment, it’s critical to be able to do everything at the right time and use every opportunity to grow before it’s gone. The same is true with the reels: as a content form they seem to be here to stay, but they rapidly evolve and gain new features, so it’s important that you keep your hand on the pulse of what’s going on. Instagram Reels is not an exception. Try to test it quickly, implement the trends on your brand to appear on the discovery page of users, and make sure you are creating content appropriate to your audience preferences. In this way, you as a creator will benefit greatly from Instagram Reels.