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Have you been Reel'd in?


TikTok has been a hot topic this week (check out our blog post about TikTok ads here). First it was the drama with Trump and now it’s the UK launch (and 50 other markets) of a new rival – Instagram Reels. Viewed as a direct response to the popularity of TikTok, the appetite for short video creation and viewing is huge. And, if Instagram Stories is anything to go by, (their copycat version of Snapchat), the potential is enormous.

What exactly are Instagram Reels? Much like TikTok, Instagram’s new service allows users to produce and post 15 second videos that can be set to music or other audio and can also use AR effects. Users can share their videos to their feed, to their Story, DMs or to the dedicated Reel space in Explore. Instagram will also select their favourites that will be visible under the “Featured” label. Instagram have done their own comprehensive breakdown which can be found here.


The launch time for Reels also couldn’t be more perfect. As TikTok’s future appears to hang in the balance, Reels has the potential to swoop in and steal this loyal fanbase. For TikTok’s creators and influencers, a ban would mean that they could simply switch to Instagram and continue to share their content via Reels. But at the moment, we will have to wait to see how this unfolds.

So, what does this mean for businesses?

At the moment, Reels does not have an ads option. Many believe that this is part of a deliberate strategy to build up a loyal following before making an attempt to monetise the service. And, after the flop of Facebook’s own version TikTok that they launched last year (Lasso), this may not be surprising. But Reels does present an opportunity for businesses to make their own organic content or partner up with creators and influencers to make their mark.

Another consideration to be had is that whilst TikTok’s audience is predominantly Gen Zers, Instagram’s main demographic is those aged between 25-34. With this age group already on Instagram and consuming it daily, businesses can start tapping into them immediately on a new and exciting format.

Those that are already using TikTok as part of their marketing strategy have a tough decision to make. Stick with the tried and tested and hope for that no ban is imposed or invest their time and money in Reels and hope that this takes off.

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