Facebook is leaving no stones unturned to bring its rival to popular apps that got popular during the lockdown. To take on Zoom it recently introduced Messenger Rooms. Now with Reels TikTok is the target. Instagram Reels has started rolling out in India beginning Wednesday evening.
The 15 seconds video creating feature is currently under testing and if well-received, Reels will be made available to everyone soon. The official release timeline is still unknown. To get your hands-on Reels you will need to update the Instagram mobile app. It is currently available only on the mobile version and not desktop.
Facebook has strategically introduced Reels in the country at the time when TikTok users are looking for a good alternative after the Indian government banned the Chinese app alongside 58 others.
TikTok gained popularity in the country due to its easy to use interface. Instagram Reels, in comparison, is slightly complex.
Initially, I thought Reels will be similar to TikTok but it’s different in terms of how it works. It’s complex to use compared to TikTok and that’s because TikTok is a separate app while Reels is just another feature added on Instagram.
Similar to IGTV, Instagram has added a separate Reels section to profiles where you will be able to see all publically available Reels.
To create your own Reel head over to the camera icon and click on ‘Reels’ option to get started. The feature is rolling out to users slowly so if you haven’t got it, wait for some time.
Much like TikTok, Reels includes options like Speed, effects, audio, among others. There’s also an option to record original voice which if publically available can be used by others.
To record a Reel just select audio from the library or record your own just as you record Stories. For the music library, Instagram has collaborated with several music labels.
Reels are limited to 15 seconds only but if you wish to share longer videos you can record and Instagram will automatically crop them into separate 15 seconds video. If you wish to post longer videos there’s IGTV.
You can add effects, speed, and audio before recording the video similar TikTok. There’s an option to delete the previously recorded video and re-record it. You can use audio and effects from Reels posted by others just as TikTok.
To reuse audio just tap on the audio button at the bottom of the screen and then on ‘Use Audio’ option. Similarly, to reuse an effect click on the effect name visible at the bottom of the screen and tap on ‘Use effect’. Reels allows you to add as many effects as possible.
Whether your Reel will get recognised or not depends on who you share it with. If you have a public account you will be able to share your Reels with everyone on Instagram by posting it on Explore. For users with private account Reels can only be shared on Feed or with followers.
Currently, for Reels there’s no way to find out what is trending like TikTok. There’s no monetisation involved in Reels.
A major chunk of the 200 million TikTok users come from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. For Instagram, attracting such users could be a task. Facebook-owned Instagram is mostly popular among influencers and fashion and lifestyle bloggers.