As you’ve spent the last 5 months at home with your kids, you have surely seen the TikTok viral dances and lip sync challenges, practiced and filmed around the house. In just a few years of its existence, TikTok has become an online staple and a must-have app for Generation Z, and has more than 2.3 billion all-time downloads. In fact, TikTok generated “the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in Q1 2020, according to Adweek.
Since its domestic launch in 2018, TikTok users have surpassed 100 million users, and it was only a matter of time before Facebook stepped forward to join the short-form video phenomenon.
Last week, Instagram Reels launched in the U.S., allowing users to record and edit short videos with audio and music layovers, which users can share with friends and followers on the app. Reels gives you access to a range of new video features, including editing tools, timer, speed controls, AR effects, countdown and a new align tool. You can create a Reels video using multiple clips and then add your own audio or pull in music from Instagram’s library. Instagram is not new to video – its IGTV features more of a series-based content. But with Reels, it is showcasing high-quality content that’s still informal, but lasts longer than 24-hour Stories. There will be a dedicated tab for Reels on users’ profiles and it can also be shared in Feed, through Stories, Close Friends or just with friends over DMs.
Reels will make it easier for your content to reach new audiences and even be discovered on a global stage. Instagram users with public profiles can use Reels as a new way to build a following, as it has revamped its Explore page to add a specific landing spot for these videos, similar to TikTok’s “For You Page.” With more than 50 percent of Instagram users using Instagram’s Explore page monthly, there is real opportunity for creators to find new followers.
Reels VS TikTok
Reel’s biggest difference from TikTok is its connection to the rest of Instagram’s capabilities – the user has multiple tools and outlets in one existing network and doesn’t have to swap apps. Reels isn’t its own world like TikTok, Vine or Snapchat. It is built to be another thing to do on Instagram through Stories and our Feeds. Additionally, Instagram understands the importance of music to TikTok users, and has given users access to their robust library. Users won’t be able to upload songs directly into the app, but there are work-arounds for musicians whose songs are not in the library, such as recording the original audio in the clip. Lastly, Reels gives the user the same feel as TikTok, but their videos are limited to 15 seconds, while TikTok extended the length of its videos to 60 seconds.
Today, Instagram caters to a certain kind of creator community that doesn’t always overlap with the younger, Gen Z (and up) user base that’s found a home on TikTok. But through the pandemic and as online usage rises, TikTok’s core demographic is rapidly changing. While once dominated by Gen Z users, Millennials now make up a greater share of TikTok’s user base than ever before — making the platform a much more attractive platform for advertisers. According to Comscore, the percentage of US-based TikTok users aged between 25-34 increased from 22.4% in January to 27.4% in April, while the 18-24 year-old bracket fell from 41.1% to 35.3%.
Reels offers an additional outlet to create authentic content that resonates with your key audience and demographics, while meeting them where they are. This should be seen as an opportunity! Here are a few ways to incorporate Reels into your digital strategy:
- Use Reels to showcase your more human, less formal side. This can be great for building authentic relationships and strengthening community.
- Share educational content via video, such as your top five travel tips or how to cook a certain dish.
- Showcase products. This offers a huge opportunity for brands and businesses looking to drive awareness and sales from the platform.
When Instagram launched Instagram Stories in 2016, there were 150 million users. Now, just four years later, over 500 million users use stories every day. Even in its early stages, Instagram Reels is proving to be a space where both brands and creators can make waves. This tells us that Reels will likely be here to stay, and that now is a key time to incorporate it into your plans.
Launches like Facebeook’s Reels require brands and marketers to stay informed and move quickly. Fortunately, Morgan & Co.’s team is on top of shifts and opportunities when it comes to marketing and media strategy. If your brand needs to staying competitive, contact us today.