Instagram has released some new product expansions, including the addition of the mysterious ‘Reels.

We’ve been treated to a selection of new fonts for Stories – exciting enough by itself, considering it hasn’t been updated since Instagram introduced the short-form video sharing format. 

But now, things have gone one step further: a dedicated short-form video entertainment service, where you can get all the comedy, music, dancing and how-to videos in one app! 


how Reels works

You record a 15-second multi-clip video, then choose from the options below to edit it.

  • Audio – use your own or choose from the music library to bring your video to life
  • AR effects – what we’ve seen on Stories before, plus some fun new user-uploaded effects to play with
  • Timer and Countdown – set a timer to get in position before starting your video
  • Align – line up objects from your last clip before recording the next, for a seamless transition
  • Speed – speed your clips up or slow them down


wait, isn’t Reels just TikTok?

The eagle-eyed of you out there will have noticed some similarities between Reels and the infamous Chinese-owned short-form video platform TikTok. 

TikTok dominated the online video market over lockdown, with users flooding to share their lockdown dance routines, pranks and lip-syncing with the world. And to be honest, there’s not too much difference between the two platforms. Core differences will be how the algorithm works, which influencers” are on the platform and the overall security of the platform (TikTok collects a fair bit of data on users, and the US is having none of it).

why Instagram created Reels

Essentially, Instagram wanted a slice of the big old audience pie that TikTok has been enjoying for the last year or so. And how better to enjoy a good pie than to steal the recipe?

It’s not the first time that Instagram has pinched a competitor’s idea – remember Snapchat? Yeah me neither, because it’s all about Instagram Stories now.

Here are some tidy little stats about TikTok for you:

There’s speculation that Instagram has also “borrowed” the infamous format because of security issues in the US. President Trump isn’t a fan and wants it banned due to alleged Homeland Security concerns. So, if TikTok were to disappear from the US, there’s potential for Reels to fill a very large hole. Facebook (owner of Instagram and WhatsApp) is slowly eating up all the popular platforms and formats for itself. More eyeballs equals more money in Facebook’s coffers.


now for the fun bit: how can brands and marketers use Reels? 

If you’re already making video content, get yourself on Reels. If it’s going to be anything like TikTok, this will be a place for all types of content. You can go down the classic comedy route or showcase products and brag about your social purpose. You can take your audience behind the scenes of your business, or give short bursts of daily inspiration.

Some brands have hit the ground running – like Louis Vuitton, showcasing stunning slow-motion shots of their high-end fashion items. The fashion brand is currently averaging five million views per Reel. 

Red Bull France is pushing on its fun and wild brand by posting POV stunt videos of motocrossers thundering down a mountainside at breakneck speed.

ASOS is repurposing content posted on TikTok directly onto Reels. If it ain’t broke…

Netflix US has trawled its back-catalogue to pull out some meme-worthy clips – pairing them with relatable captions and encouraging sharing.

We’re talking about big brands with big budgets here – but for smaller brands, what’s the right content for reels?

  • Virtual tours
  • Product demos
  • FAQ’s
  • Q&A’s
  • Team introductions
  • News updates and insights


get your Reels on with Rooster

We create expertly scripted, storyboarded and art directed video content that pairs perfectly with our social media marketing services. For award-winning work that grabs your audience by the ruff, talk to us.