The new Instagram feature is here! Reels!

By Emily Bouchard


Why now? There's a lot of speculation about why Reels has been created and why it has been released at this point in time. The very likely answer is the meteoric rise in the popularity of TikTok as a platform amongst Gen X, and the possible forthcoming TikTok ban in the United States. Facebook, who also owns the Instagram brand, is pretty well known for taking popular features from other apps and tweaking them ever-so-slightly to succeed on their own platform (remember Insta Stories originated as a recreated Snapchat feature). 

Instagram Reels

Anyhow, Reels is here now. So what is it all about?


We’re thinking of it as a mash-up of Insta Stories and IGTV in a way. Videos can be shared on Insta Reels. These videos are not saved to your main feed - they are shared in your Stories, and then more permanently are stored in a separate library on your profile (like the IGTV default). 


You can add effects and background music to your Reels, like Insta Stories. 


Features that are unique to using Reels: 

  1. Reels are limited to be no longer than 15 seconds.
  2. You can set a timer for up to 15 seconds before you begin recording to ensure the video cuts out without the awkward fumbling. 
  3. You can slow down and speed up your video. 
  4. Reels are displayed on the Explore page - so you might be found by more people!


When you should use IGTV vs. Insta Stories vs. Reels:


IGTV is perfect for uploading longer videos (over 1 minute) and sharing them in your main feed. 


Insta Stories is great for going live, creating ongoing series, sharing others’ content, and using the engagement tools (ex. Polls, questions).  


Reels are perfect for sharing short, trendy videos to share with new audiences. 


We know a new tool can be a little intimidating, but we definitely think you should consider playing around with this feature. Everchanging social media (and Reels, likely) is here to stay. You might as well try to embrace it. 


Do you have more questions about Reels? Leave them in the comments!