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What is Instagram Reels? Know everything about Instagram Reels.

Feb 1, 20227 min readParvathy Nair

The initial launch of the reels features caused negative talks pointing out similarities with the TikTok app. Still, it was relatively short-lived as the feature gained support from Instagram influencers, content creators, brands, and users. The Instagram reels feature also gained momentum because India banned Chinese apps like Tiktok for security reasons. This aspect helped them gain acceptance to a more extensive user base who were already a large chunk of the Instagram app, which means no more app switching.

Instagram reels?

"Instagram Reels is a content format that allows you to create and share short, engaging videos."

Now getting more into Instagram reels features, it still holds similarities to Tiktok. It provides the user with a wide variety of editing tools to create engaging content, including its Instagram filter, audios, stickers, and captions backgrounds. It also allows its users to duet already existent Instagram reels, which help in increasing consumer engagement.

Like Instagram's for you page, Instagram reels also has its own for you page that allows you to scroll through trending and popular Instagram reels. The scrollable Instagram reels tabs are located in the bottom middle of the Instagram home page. The content influences the reels algorithm you tend to interact with and your geographical location making it more personalized and relevant; it also allows the user to block or mute reels that they are not interested in or find inappropriate again, giving them control over what comes into their Instagram feeds.

Instagram holds reels in high regard; it even redesigned its home screen to put Reels out front and center to increase high Reels view counts; this also meant clearing out TikTok repost content slowly yet steadily to give headway to Instagram reels original content.

How can you use it

Instagram reels allow its users to create content at their own pace. You can find the reels feature by clicking on the small clapperboard on the right of your Instagram home page, then selecting the reels option. When you scroll through a feed or explorer page, the Reels icon appears as a small camera icon in the right side corner. Reels will have a short format limit of 30 seconds. The reels features allow the user to add the audios they require, the time limit they want the Reel to be. Other features also include face filters, background images, timers, etc.

So once the reels are completed, the user can choose a thumbnail for their spins; it can either be their Reel or from their camera roll. Instagram also has different watermarks for reels and IGTV videos to make it more convenient. Reels are to keep adding features already available for Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, and Instagram live videos to maintain the consistency of the brand and make the user experience more positive.

At the bottom right of a Reel, a user can like, comment, and/or share the video with other users on Instagram, or there is an option to share in other apps; a user can also see how many likes and comments the Reel has already received. Instagram promotes fresh and entertaining new content. If the reels created by the users meet standards, their Reel would be featured in exploring, and the users receive notification for the same.

Reels vs. TikTok: A new age battle

Although Instagram reels and TikTok have similarities, there are significant differences too.

Let us talk about the similarities first.

  • Both Instagram reels and TikTok are short-form video content, and they allow their creators to add music filters and editing tools from their respective apps.

  • They allow users to explore creators that they don't necessarily follow and

  • Both Instagram reels and TikTok do not have the auto scroll option.

  • TikTok's duet option, in which users can make videos with the original content, is similar to the Instagram reels remix feature.

  • Both of the apps also allow users to shop in the

    app and promote brands. Both of them are also available globally.

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Now moving to the differences

  • The video length for Instagram reels is 30 sec, whereas TikTok is 60 sec.

  • Instagram reels for business accounts have limited music options as the audio has to be separately curated for the page, unlike TikTok.

  • TikTok is known for its fun, quirky filters, and Instagram is not far behind, but it has limited choices.

  • Voice effects and voiceover tools are two more exciting editing options on TikTok. While Instagram users may record a voiceover on Instagram Reels, they cannot apply any special effects to the audio.

  • The Instagram algorithm remains a mystery, but TikTok, on the other hand, is more finely tuned to its users. This means that each page will be tailored to a specific person and their degree of interest.

  • Content-wise and demography wise TikTok remains a young man's game; TikTok is more raw, spontaneous content than Instagram reels which are aesthetically curated. Since a larger audience of Instagram reels are millennials regarding brands, they prefer a clean, aesthetically pleasing outlook than TikTok, whose audience is mostly Gen-Z, who are more into the anti-aesthetic vibe TikTok has.

  • TikTok has a for you page, and a follow page that shows you the videos of the creators you follow; in Instagram reels, it's just a single for you page.

  • TikTok's algorithm makes it easier for the post to go viral compared to reel videos on Instagram.

  • The caption limit on Reels is 2,200 characters, but the caption limit on TikTok is 100 characters.

  • Most of the time, trends are created on TikTok and crawl their way onto Instagram reels.

  • The Instagram editing still lacks in comparison with TikTok, which provides features like stich

The Analytics side of Instagram reels

Instagram provides its reels to creators with different metrics like how many times their reels have been played, Account Reaches, Likes, Comments, Saves, and Shares; this helps creators monitor their performance. These metrics are called insights and are an essential part of social media.

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Accounts Reached: This is a reel-specific performance metric. This measure indicates the number of unique Instagram users that watched your Reel at least once. This allows the creator to understand whether the content is reaching his target audience and whether there is enough engagement with it, if not.

Plays: This is how many times your Reel has been played. Because some people may watch your Reel more than once, it might be greater than the number of accounts reached. Instagram has the 3-sec rule that is if the user views the content for a min of 3 sec, it counts as a view, and it doesn't matter if they watched it with or without the audio.

Like: This number indicates how many people enjoyed your Reel. This feature is validation or appreciation for the content creators showing them that the content ticked the right boxes.

Comments: The number of words on a single Reel. This allows the users to share opinions on the content shared

Saves: The amount of times your Reel was saved. the feature helps you bookmark your favorite reels that caught your eye

Shares: The number of times Instagram users shared your Reel on their stories or emailed it to another user, or shared into other apps


Instagram reels might have started as play to win over users from TikTok, but after a year of its inceptions, it looks like it's here to stay. Instagram reels have held their ground; they have increased engagement among users, increased revenue pull by introducing shopping options, and promoted transparency among content creators, influencers, and users.

Instagram has made Instagram reels an integral part of its experience, making it the "It Girl" of the polished market.

All this talk might have piqued your interest to get started on making your reels download our app Reelit for posts like these.