Instagram Reels, Finally a TikTok Competitor?
Is it safe to say Instagram Reels is going to dethrone TikTok? The opportunity is ripe and we might be in for a big power shift.
With TikTok fighting for survival in the U.S, it was only a matter of time before another tech company created an alternative to feed our scrollable video addiction. Of course, the company that came to save the day is Facebook, Instagram’s parent company. Instagram Reels has just launched and it might be TikTok’s first real competitor. Reels is pretty much the same thing – some are even calling it a clone of the Chinese app that has enchanted Gen Z and Millennial users. At launch, Reels is missing some of the features that make TikTok a champion of social video, but with time you can be sure these will be added. You can still shoot, edit, and add effects to your footage all inside of the Instagram app, but the max clip you can publish is only 15 seconds compared to TikTok’s 1-minute limit. The short video length resembles the old and very much missed app, Vine. RIP.
Other companies like Byte and Triller have tried to win over TikTok users, but there has been little to no opportunity for them to compete in a social media market dominated by a few giants. There is also news that Snapchat is looking to create a similar type of feed to help its users find and explore new content. If any of these alternatives are planning to take down TikTok, their time is now, and I think Instagram Reels might run away with it. Anyone with a smartphone is familiar with Instagram, which makes it the natural winner of this fight. We might see TikTok fall just as fast as it came to power.
Can Instagram Reels Really Take Over TikTok?
Instagram is trying to become a one-stop-shop for every digital need. You will now have the option to view a regular feed of posts from people you follow, including their Stories, plus the explore page, and now Reels. On top of that, you can even shop on the platform. (I was going to mention IGTV, but we all know how that project went.)
The interface of Reels is very similar to Tiktok, and I would even argue that it actually looks better. But looks and in-app accessibility is not everything Instagram needs to surpass TikTok. Reels will need to feel as fluid and personalized, and it needs to be fun to use. The content it wires towards users’ interests needs to be just as good and I would imagine the top creators on TikTok are going to be hard-pressed to transfer over to the new platform at first. One of the main issues is that TikTok pays its top creators, but Instagram will not. Since you can upload videos to Reels, there might be a fun period where we see TikTok branded videos uploaded to Instagram Reels.
How Big Is This News?
Reels is a big deal because it shifts Instagram’s social media tone. Before, Instagram was a place for static images. Slowly, it has introduced video posts, Stories, and now Reels, all of which have generated a community of creators that rivals YouTube. Reels makes it much easier for users to discover and follow new creators on Instagram because the videos are included on a new part of the Explore page, completely open to the public. If all the cards play in Instagram’s favor, they will have successfully replicated and even improved on the social discovery idea of TikTok. Just as Instagram Stories started as a less impressive version of Snapchat and is now the 24-hour story kind, it will be interesting to see how successfully the platform integrates this new style of social media into the user experience.
How Can Filmmakers Use Reels?
If Reels blows up like it has the potential to do, it will be a huge asset to filmmakers who want to grow an audience and land gigs. If you create a 15-second video that gains significant attention, users and potential clients have quick access to your profile and contact information. Smaller filmmaking community accounts that share tips and tricks might also start to make quick 15-second tutorials that can help you learn as well. It seems that short vertical videos are not going to leave us anytime soon, so use this time to learn how to create content for vertical video.
I’m not hooked on Reels yet, but I am intrigued by the idea and potential of the platform. This feels like the route Instagram should have taken instead of IGTV because there is just no way it can compete with YouTube style videos, especially in a separate app. Instagram is trying to do a lot of things at once, but like Stories, this is likely to become a mainstay of the app. It can’t go toe-to-toe with TikTok quite yet, but that won’t even matter if the latter gets banned in the US. For now, you can’t talk about Instagram Reels without bringing up TikTok.
Learn more about both apps in these articles…