In a public user Q&A session with Adam Mosseri discussing the future of Instagram in 2023, he says, “I think we were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos.”
That statement and the recent demonetization of Reels inspired assumptions of the app’s reversion to photo and photography-based content.
Just when we all thought that Instagram sill give up on Reels and revert to their original strategy, a few new updates were encouraging the creation of more Reels are released.
The social media platform goes above and beyond in recognizing user efforts and influencing the creation of more epic content, but its strategy in doing so remains unclear.
Despite the fierce competition in the short-form video market, Instagram and its parent company Meta are sticking with what is proven to work best and almost strictly imitating TikTok.
However, Instagram isn’t the only one in the market trying to replicate TikTok to compete; major platforms like Amazon and Youtube are pointing in the same direction.
On April 14th, 2023, Instagram announced an impressive range of updates to its Reels, and here’s everything you need to know.
New Instagram Reel features:
Trend discovery feature
The new trending section on the creator’s professional dashboard allows users to find what hashtags, topics, and audios are trending and how many posts they incorporate.
This feature previously only existed for audios showing how many creators were using it with a small arrow beside each title to indicate whether or not it was trending. Now users can use this tool as part of their overall research to decide what to create next.
Easy in-app editing
Easy in-app edits are a basic editing feature that allows users to make minimal edits, such as grouping clips together, adding audio soundtracks, and adding stickers and text to better communicate a video’s message.
While the in-app editing feature is only helpful for simple edits, it is only the start, as the feature will advance and include more options as Instagram continues to improve its video creation experience.
Expanded gift selection
Gifts are similar to Instagram’s recently introduced subscription features and allow users to show appreciation to creators by offering them money in the form of tips.
Financial rewards or “Gifts” are rewarded to creators per star, as they range from 0.10 cents to $5.99 packages, with each star worth 0.10 cents.
Similar to story reactions, creators can see who sent them a gift and thank them back by clicking the heart button located to the right of each creator’s gift.
Improved insights and analytics
Instagram has added two new metrics to evaluate videos, average watch time and total watch time, following the practice of other short-form platforms such as Youtube.
Adding up all the times your reel has been played, including replays, is measured by total watch time. In comparison, the average watch time examines the average time spent watching a specific video calculated by dividing watch time by total plays.
In addition to the new updates, Instagram is pushing its Reels even harder with its recent growth notifications.
These notifications appear regularly and remind creators how many viewers saw
their Reel and how many new followers were gained from viewing a specific Reel.
How do the new Instagram Reels features help creators?
The company’s objective of updating Instagram Reels to include all these new convenient features is to rid users of unnecessary 3rd party apps and streamline services to increase the dependability on Instagram.
Meta aims to include everything from research to editing and posting on its single app, pushing short-form content like never before.
From a user’s perspective, these streamlined services offer numerous advantages, such as:
An all-in-one platform means increased productivity thanks to everything being in one place, saving users the time spent on 3rd party apps or analyzing different Instagram accounts for research purposes. The new stickers, sounds, and filters also make it easier for users to tailor their work to be Instagram-specific.
Better insights into performance
Through leveraging the new insight features in Instagram’s analytics, users can determine what Reels keep users engaged most and each user’s overall average watch time.
The new analytics is a game changer for Reels, from modifying strategies to finding what excites your audience the most.
Enhanced control over Reel performance
With all these new features, research tools, and insights, users have more control over the performance of their videos.
The enhanced level of control increases the likelihood of Reels going viral, hooking creators with the high hopes of blowing up with an increased emotional attachment to the app after being a hit-or-miss case, using only trendy audios.
Why is Instagram focusing on Reels in 2023?
In June 2021, Instagram head Adam Mosseri declared that the social media platform was “no longer a photo-sharing app.” Since then, the app has promoted Reels in many different ways and is still working to find the perfect balance that compensates for what other apps lack.
From paying creators for views and allowing them to add trendy audio to now incorporating in-app editing and more insights, Reels are the present and future of the app.
On the other hand, creators are seeing most of their growth from producing Reels, as their posts of photos and carousels are only reaching followers and limiting any account growth.
Finally, the potential TikTok ban in some countries that have already begun to take place is another incentive for Instagram to keep promoting its video content.
While the app already positioned itself as the next best alternative, if TikTok’s ban becomes fully effective, it is down to Instagram and Youtube to lead the world of short-form video.