Facebook-owned Instagram has just launched its newest feature, called Reels, which brings a trendy, short-form musical video format to the Instagram mobile app. In other words, it’s made a TikTok clone.
How do Instagram Reels work?
With Instagram Reels you can record and edit 15-second video clips. You can then add music to your video creation or even use audio from another person’s video. TikTok offers both these capabilities and helped popularise their use in short-form musical content.
Instagram, like Facebook, is no stranger to copying popular apps and features from others. Its Stories feature, for instance, is a Snapchat clone.
Reels isn’t a new app, though – it’s an addition to the core Instagram app, which means that you don’t have to download anything to use it, other than the latest version of Instagram.
Once you’re on that newest version, you’ll see Reels integrated throughout the app, including a new section on the Explore tab to let you browse other people’s videos, and in the Camera app to make it easy for you to create your own.
You can share your Reels just like any other Instagram video or photo, meaning that it could go on your Story with various levels of privacy, in DMs or on your feed – whichever you prefer.
When can you try Instagram Reels?
Reels is now live on Instagram, after a few weeks of rumours, and can be found in a few places on your app, including on the Camera interface, where you can record your own clips, and on the Explore tab, where you can easily browse other people’s submissions.
Where is Instagram Reels available?
Reels has initially rolled out to more than 50 countries, including both the US and UK, and that list should expand over time.
Why is Instagram copying TikTok?
TikTok has had explosive success this past year, with a billion active users every month at present. Facebook clearly wants to capture some of that audience. It already tried with an app called Lasso, which failed. Perhaps, a feature via Instagram might do better – that’s the thinking behind Reels, a new part of Instagram.
Given the mounting political pressure on TikTok, and rumoured takeovers to make it palatable in the US at least, the timing seems pretty strong from Instagram.