Digital marketing is a constantly changing industry, and Instagram Reels is one of the most recent tools of the trade. This tool can drive greater engagement, boost your visibility, and can even convert to sales. But how and why? Let’s dive in.
What are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels is a relatively new feature that allows users to create 15 to 90-second video clips with music, sharing them in Stories, Explore Feed, and a Reels tab.
Reels has its Explore Feed for trending content, similar to TikTok’s “For You” page, showcasing popular accounts beyond those you follow.
How does the Instagram Reels algorithm work?
When a user consistently engages with your Reels, the algorithm interprets it as relevant content for them. This determination is influenced by various factors within the video, such as music, sound effects, video analysis based on pixels and frames, and details about the person who shared it.
So, the more engagement you get, the more people your Reel will reach, as it targets users similar to those engaging with it. In other words, the more people enjoy your Reel, the more people will see it!
How to make a Reel on Instagram
To get started with Reels on Instagram, follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Accessing Reels
- Open the Instagram app and go to your profile page.
- Tap the plus icon located at the top right corner of the screen.
- Choose “Reel” from the options presented.
Alternatively, you can access the Reels editor by swiping left to the Instagram camera and selecting “Reel” from the bottom menu.
Step 2: Creating Your Reel
Instagram Reels offers two methods to create your video:
- Press and hold the record button to capture video clips.
- Upload video footage from your camera roll. You can record clips one at a time or all at once. If you set a timer, a countdown initiates hands-free recording. During recording, you can tap the record button to end one clip and start another. You can also use the Align button to seamlessly transition between clips, perfect for changing outfits, adding music, or introducing new elements to your Reel. To watch, trim, or delete previously recorded clips, tap “Edit Clips.”
Step 3: Editing Your Reel
Once your recording is complete or you’ve chosen the videos and images you want to use, you can enhance your Reel with stickers, drawings, and text using the editing icons at the top of the editor. Instagram’s Reels editor provides a range of creative tools, including:
- Audio: Choose music from Instagram’s library or import your own.
- Length: Adjust your video’s duration to 15, 30, 60, or 90 seconds.
- Speed: Alter the playback speed.
- Layout: Customize the frame with multiple recordings.
- Timer: Set a timer for hands-free recording.
- Dual: Record simultaneously with front and rear cameras.
- Align: Align objects from the previous clip for smooth transitions. After aligning clips, tap the music note icon to add trending sounds or music or record a voiceover. You can also download your Instagram Reel for later viewing or editing.
Step 4: Configuring Reel Settings
When you’re ready to share your Reel, tap “Next” in the bottom right corner of the screen. Here, you can:
- Edit your Reel’s cover image by selecting a frame from the video or using an image from your camera roll.
- Add a caption.
- Tag people in your Reel.
- Include a location.
- Enable Facebook recommendations, allowing your Reel to reach Facebook users based on Meta’s algorithms (no Facebook account required).
- Rename your audio if you’ve added your own recording.
- Choose to enable or disable automatically generated captions.
- Decide whether your Reel should be posted to your Instagram Feed in addition to the Reels tab on your account.
How to post Instagram Reels on your desktop
Instagram is primarily a mobile app, but sometimes, it can be simpler to navigate the process from a larger screen, making posting from a desktop a great option, too. Here is how you can navigate this:
- Account Setup: To begin, open any web browser and navigate to instagram.com. Sign in to your Instagram account or create a new one if you haven’t already.
- Initiating the Upload: Next, click on the “+” icon.
- Selecting a File: Choose the option labeled “Select from computer.”
- Choosing the Right Video: Select the video you wish to upload to Instagram as Reels. Ensure that your video is in the 9:16 aspect ratio.
- Customizing Your Upload: Follow the on-screen prompts to trim the video, select a cover photo, write a caption, and add a location. Your video will be directly uploaded as an Instagram Reel.
Keep in mind that when uploading an Instagram Reel on a PC, you won’t have the option to select audio as you would on your mobile device. We recommend editing your Instagram Reel thoroughly before posting via PC.
Can you boost Reels on Instagram?
Yes you can, but only Reels that adhere to specific criteria can be boosted. In order to qualify for boosting within the Instagram app, your Reels need to meet the following criteria:
- Reels must be under 60 seconds long.
- They should have a 9:16 aspect ratio, indicating a vertical orientation with a full-screen format.
- Reels that incorporate third-party intellectual property, such as copyrighted music, GIFs, interactive stickers, or camera filters, are not eligible for boosting.
- Reels shared to Facebook cannot be boosted.
To boost your Reels, locate the specific Reel within your profile’s grid, and then simply tap on “Boost Post.” After your ad campaign has run its course, be sure to check your Insights tab to gain insights into what garnered the most engagement.
Can you see who watches your reels on Instagram?
Regarding this common inquiry, the answer is no. Instagram doesn’t disclose the profiles of those who have viewed your Reels. However, you can check the total view count for your Reel.
Additionally, you can view the number of likes received and choose whether to display this information publicly. Furthermore, while you can’t see who has seen it, you can access the list of users who have liked your Reels.
This is an added advantage for individuals with Instagram business or creator accounts. You can delve deeper into the performance of each of your Reels using the Insights feature, which provides valuable analytics.
Can you hide likes on your Instagram Reels?
Yes, you can hide the likes if you’d prefer not to have this information visible. Creators sometimes choose to do this to take off the pressure of success or because engagement is currently low. To hide the likes, create a new Reel on Insta.
Before you share, scroll to the bottom. Hit “Advanced settings.” Toggle the button for “Hide like count on this Reel.” Alternatively, if your Reel has already been posted, click on the three dots in the top right, and the third button will show “hide likes.” Simple as that.
How long can Instagram Reels be?
The maximum duration for an Instagram Reel is 90 seconds, while an Instagram Story video can go up to 60 seconds.
However, just because you can make it 90 seconds long doesn’t mean this is the recommended or ideal duration for Instagram content. It’s often best to keep it short and punchy.
Best time to post Reels on Instagram
It is generally agreed that the best time to post Instagram Reels is between 9 AM and 12 PM, from Monday to Friday. This can get more specific, with certain days having their own ideal times.
And since there are numerous platforms where you can schedule your posts, aim for the following:
- Monday: 6 am, 10 am, 10 pm
- Tuesday: 2 am, 4 am, 9 am
- Wednesday: 7 am, 8 am, 11 pm
- Thursday: 9 am, 12 am, 7 pm
- Friday: 5 am, 1 pm, 3 pm
- Saturday: 11 am, 7 pm, 8 pm
- Sunday: 7 am, 8 am, 4 pm
Note that Instagram algorithms have identified these times, and since the chosen time is in the middle of the night on Tuesdays, they may not always be correct!
How many Reels should I post a week?
While there is room for variation, the industry standard is to post four to seven times a week. To optimize your engagement and increase your ROI, you could make all of these posts Reels, but alternating these with different types of posts is also worthwhile.
How to use Instagram Reel analytics & insights
In order to access insights for your Instagram Reels, there are two methods you can follow:
- Navigate to the Reels tab located on your Instagram profile.
- Select the specific Reel for which you’d like to view metrics.
- On the lower right-hand side of the Reel, tap the three-dots icon (represented as …).
- From the menu that appears, click on “Insights.”
- Look for the “Learn more about your Reel’s performance” prompt located above the “View insights” button.
- Click on this prompt.
- Go to the Reels tab on your Instagram profile.
- Select the Reel you’re interested in to view its metrics.
- Above the caption of your Reel, select “View insights.”
You’ll gain access to valuable information from either of these views, including the number of likes, comments, saves, and shares your post has received.
Additionally, you’ll find insights into various engagement and post-interaction metrics, such as accounts reached, representing the number of unique accounts that have come across your Reel on their screens, regardless of whether they played it.
Another useful metric is the count of plays, which includes instances when a video begins playing automatically or when someone clicks to initiate playback. There is also watch time, the total duration for which your Reel was played, and average watch time, which averages this duration.
Additionally, you can view insights for your Reels within your overall account insights. You can access these by either using the professional dashboard action button on your profile or by tapping “Insights” under the three-dots icon.
The top Instagram Reel trends seen so far in 2023
As Reels gain more traction and popularity, there are a few trends to capitalize on. Here are the top 10 Instagram Reel trends for 2023 that you can incorporate into your strategy:
- Embrace creativity in Reels to cater to the millennial and Gen Z audience. As you’ll see in the image above, showcasing a fun DIY earned this creator over three million likes.
- Address local and global issues as Gen Z and millennials are passionate about social causes and support activism.
- Expect a rise in mixed media content, including podcasts, and foster community engagement.
- Dancing videos and challenges will continue to be popular in 2023, attracting viewers and businesses.
- Micro-influencers that offer authenticity and trust will play a significant role in influencer marketing.
- Instagram shopping is in high demand, with users making purchases directly through the app.
- Users can now comment with Reels, enhancing engagement and interaction.
- Short-form content is a trend, so focus on creating concise and attention-grabbing Reels.
- Hashtags will evolve, with creators using niche-specific and branded hashtags for visibility.
- Brands should experiment with humor and branded memes to connect with users.
- User-generated content (UGC) will gain prominence, allowing brands to leverage genuine customer reviews for marketing.
Our top 5 Instagram Reel tips for businesses & creators
Getting Reels right doesn’t have to be a challenge. Armed with the information above and the following tips, your Instagram page will soon be gaining traction:
- Introduce yourself, your brand, and your team
- Leverage trending templates and music
- Show behind the scenes of your business
- Share content at peak engagement hours
- Highlight your product range in a creative way
Instagram statistics you should know about
Here are some interesting statistics and data we’ve collected on Instagram:
Instagram engagement benchmarks
According to data collected by Hootsuite, the average engagement rate for carousel posts on Instagram is 3.15%, compared to an engagement rate of 1.5% for videos and 1.18% for photos.
Instagram stories vs reels
As this graph outlines, Google search interest in Instagram reels overtook Instagram Stories in the last quarter of 2021. That trend has only continued to grow, while Google search interest in Instagram stories has more or less plateaued.
Top Instagram reels markets by country
India leads as the largest Instagram Reels market with 327 million users, followed by the United States (169 million) and Brazil (133 million).
The substantial engagement with Reels in India can be attributed to a couple of factors. Firstly, its massive population plays a significant role, and secondly, the absence of TikTok since its ban in 2020. With a substantial internet-using population, India’s unavailability of TikTok has positioned Instagram Reels as a major platform in the country. The only notable competitor in this space is YouTube Shorts.
Instagram by post type
Here we can see a breakdown of the number of posts per week versus the engagement rate for a few major industries. Interestingly the food and beverages sector has the highest engagement rates and one of the lowest post frequency per week.
Don’t we all love an aesthetic photo of a delicious-looking brunch or latte art?
Guest Author: Küra Samouilhan is a content strategist and digital marketing expert at Sweet Digital. This Birmingham-based digital marketing agency covers content, SEO, PPC, PR and more.