In case you didn’t know it, Instagram really, really wants people to give Reels a chance, as part of its broader effort to stop users switching over to TikTok instead.
The latest example of this in action is a new process which enables you to easily convert an Instagram Stories highlight into a Reels clip.
As you can see in this example, posted by app researcher @WFBrother, some users are now seeing an option within their Instagram highlights when enables them to tap on a Reels icon to convert the highlight over to a short Reels clip.
The process then enables you to synch the highlight to music, providing a whole new way to create Reels content.
If, of course, you want to. There would be some value to this, as another means to recycle your best posts, and boost your overall Instagram engagement. But the real impetus seems to be to get more people posting more Reels, which would then give Instagram more clips for the Reels pipeline, to help boost user engagement, while also ushering in more Reels creators. And if you generate a lot of engagement, you’ll no doubt post more Reels, and see more engagement - till eventually the very concept of TikTok will be a distant, fuzzy memory.
That seems to be the hope. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has re-stated many times that video content will be the key focus for IG moving forward, with Reels, in particular, being the central element.
As per Mosseri back in December:
“We’re going to double-down on our focus on video and consolidate all of our video formats around Reels”
Which makes sense, with Reels already rising to become the largest contributor to engagement growth in the app. But is it good enough to keep users away from TikTok? Is it even as good as TikTok at what it does? Does it have to be?
I guess, in most respects, neither Instagram Reels nor YouTube Shorts (or Snapchat Spotlight clips for that matter) need to be as good as TikTok, as they only need to stem the flow of users away from their respective apps. If each platform can offer a close facsimile of TikTok’s main functionality, that’ll probably keep a good portion of their users at home, while for creators, it also provides a supplementary connection option in each app, which they can then use to expand their overall presence.
And if these apps provide more pathways to monetization than TikTok, which YouTube and Instagram definitely do, then that could be all they need – so in this sense, it’s less about beating TikTok at its own game than nullifying it through replication.
And with both TikTok alternatives seeing strong take-up in India, the second largest user market in the world, there’s clear value there.
In any event, Instagram really wants you to try Reels out, and for marketers, this could be another way to eek more value out of your content efforts.
In other Reels news, Instagram is also apparently experimenting with longer Reels clips.
That could further expand your Reels options, while also contributing to the ongoing integration of the app’s once various video options.