Instagram, a now Meta-owned social media platform, originally came to our mobile devices back in 2010 to help us share our (lame) food pics and family and friend snaps (yes, the cringe flashbacks hurt even the most experienced of Social Media Managers – remember the Polaroid filters we would use?).
We’ve been weaving it into our social strategies for the last few years now and with over 1.44 billion monthly active users, it’s pivotal to a social strategy.
But over the past few months, Instagram has been a hot topic of conversation between social marketeers and brands. Some have responded to Head of Insta Adam Mosseri’s recent live updates with excitement, but it seems most of us have been left ever so slightly confused.
In the past 12 years, the platform has drastically changed in a bid to keep up with the ever-changing social sphere. Brands, influencers and content creators alike have monetized the platform in such a way that organic posting is now left for the average Joe. And with the rise of TikTok, video content and meme culture, Instagram Reels is now set to take centre stage.
That’s right. Hot on the heels of Insta’s full screen TikTok-inspired Beta test – which tanked in pretty spectacular fashion, by the way – they’re at it again. This time announcing that all video content will be uploaded as Reels from here on out.
I mean, we totally get it! Keeping all forms of video content under one umbrella for sure has its plus points. Full screen videos are more engaging and easily viewed – and has become the new normal. And, in theory, will make content creation a much simpler process.
Some may say this is Insta’s latest attempt to follow in TikTok’s footsteps (with an expected 1.8 billion worldwide users by the end of 2022, who can blame them?), and another example of the platform shifting away from how its users are, well, actually using the platform.
But here’s where it gets interesting… Take HypeAuditor’s recent analysis of a whopping 77.6 million Instagram posts through July 2022, for example – which showed that 42% of posts were image-based (with carousels making up 26% of posts, and Reels only 22%).
And here’s the kicker, when it came to reach, Reels were in the lead with 33.8%, despite being the third most popular content type. And if you want to talk engagement, Reels are seeing the most likes with 35.4%.
So, coming at this from a brand perspective, there’s no denying that Reels are where it’s at on Instagram if you want a slice of those tasty reach and engagement numbers, especially as the majority of Instagram users aren’t posting them yet.
Although image based posts on Instagram are far from dead, you can’t ignore the data that shows Reels are growing in popularity and with speed. So, if you want your content to really fly, make sure that you’re adding Reels to your strategy. If you already post video content, make sure you’re optimising it to the Reels format ratio of 9:16, and for still images try opting for 4:5 to really make full use of the screen size.
Whilst change is inevitable in the world of social media as newer platforms begin to dominate the space, and the older players rush to make changes to keep up and hold onto their audience retention, the ever-growing popularity of video content is here to stay.
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