Instagram appears to have done well to steal the TikTok concept and use it on Instagram. It started in 2020 with Reels, which allows people to create and upload videos. That was already possible, but Reels is a separate section for this and it has a slightly different way of using it. A way that has proven to be very successful: Instagram users seem to spend 24 percent more time on the platform because of Reels.
The funny thing is that people like Kylie Jenner have to agree with Instagram. She jumped on the barricade when Instagram also turned the square photos into elongated, smartphone screen-length photos (and she’s quite right about that), but that Instagram itself wanted more on the video tour, that turns out not to be such an idiotic plan at all been. Reels is a golden opportunity with no less than 24 percent more time on the platform, as Mark Zuckerberg reported in his investor call earlier this week.
But we had to get used to Reels. Before it was pushed a bit harder by Insta, it was considerably less successful and even looked like it was going to flop. Zuckerberg says of Reels, “Reels continues to grow rapidly on both Facebook and Instagram. Reels also continue to become more social with people sharing Reels more than 2 billion times daily, doubling in the past six months. Reels also increase overall app engagement and we believe we’re gaining share in short videos as well.”
The omniscient algorithm
It’s not just because we like to watch videos, it’s also because of the artificial intelligence behind it. The algorithm built to keep serving you just-fitting Reels, as we know it from TikTok (where it seems to be even smarter), is one of the driving forces behind that longer time we all have together spend on Instagram.
We wrote recently that Reels will soon also be a bit more fun, because all kinds of new things will be added, such as new data insights and editing options for influencers.