Instagram is pushing ahead with the expansion of Reels ads, with the new format to be made available in all regions from today.
As per Instagram:
"After testing in select countries, today we’re launching Reels ads to the world. Reels is the best place on Instagram to reach people who don’t follow you and a growing global stage where brands and creators can be discovered by anyone. These ads will help businesses reach greater audiences, allowing people to discover inspiring new content from brands and creators."
I mean, 'the best place' for discovery is probably a bit of a PR stretch, but the bottom line is that it's another surface through which you can reach your audience with your Instagram promotions, which could provide significant potential as Instagram continues to push Reels with a view to making it a bigger element in the app.
As you can see in the above example, Reels ads will be displayed in full-screen format, and will be shown in between individual Reels,
"As with regular Reels content, these ads will loop and can be up to 30 seconds. People can comment, like, view, save and share Reels ads."
It's hard to say how effective the format will be, as it largely depends on the creative, and how engaging your ad content is. TikTok ads, for example, perform better when they look and feel organic, so users don't simply swipe on past as soon as they come up.
But definitely, short-form video monetization is tough. Vine found this out the hard way, while no other platform has been able to effectively merge ads into short-form video streams, as users can easily skip by promotional posts, and there's no option to insert them mid-stream or pre-roll.
Instagram is probably hoping that this format, at least, does yield positive results for its ad partners.
Instagram first launched Reels ads in India, Brazil, Germany and Australia back in April, before expanding them to brands in Canada, France, the UK and the US late last month. The expansion is part of the broader Reels monetization push, with a view to building a more sustainable Reels eco-system, which will ideally ensure that Reels creators are able to get paid for their efforts.
But the true value of the format will take some time, and testing, to be determined.
Instagram hasn't shared any official numbers on Reels usage, but Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has noted that the option is growing "both in terms of how much people are sharing and how much people are consuming". Instagram has also said that Reels has seen specific usage momentum in India, where TikTok was banned last June (and Reels was launched just days later)
But it's still a fair way behind TikTok, and with a recent report suggesting that users are now spending more time in TikTok than they are in either Facebook or Instagram, Facebook will no doubt remain focused on promoting Reels usage, as it looks to stop its users from migrating across, and getting sucked into the never-ending vortex of TikTok's highly attuned video feed.
With that ongoing push, that could make Reels a good ad option, but individual results will vary, and the format will also likely evolve somewhat over time.