Instagram introduced Reels to the list of its products in Summer 2020. This was in response to the activities of Instagram’s global competitor & short-form video hosting platform, TikTok.

Since its launch, Instagram Reels has gained huge user interest due to all the exciting features that come with the format and the success that brands have seen when pushing their content in this format compared to previous common creative formats.

The table below indicates how Instagram Reels discussion has grown following its launch in 2020:

The success of Reels does not just rely on its creative nature that expands to the entire phone screen of the user. While followers need to ‘follow’ brand profiles on Instagram to obtain associated updates via their feeds, there is no requirement to ‘follow’ a brand’s page on Instagram in order to view Reels. The associated algorithm is designed to show Reels to people even if they don’t follow a brand’s profile, as long as there have been behavioural signals that a user is interested in that type of content.  

Reels may be more of a topic for discussion in the organic side of social media; nevertheless, when we run paid social media advertising campaigns, we also pay attention to Reels given the format is also available on Facebook (Meta). This means that there is an opportunity to reach more people through engaging advertising creative content. At the early stages of Facebook & Instagram ad campaign building, we typically have quite a few placement options to choose from where we can decide where we want our ads to appear.

Knowing that video content on Reels is performing well in the organic environment for our clients, we usually target this type of placement among the rest of the options to test and evaluate each placement performance specifically. Some of the placement options that we could test are Instagram Explore, Stories, Facebook Search Results, Messenger & Apps.

We then allow the data to lead us so as to determine if Reels or other placements are performing well; and from there we decide where to put the focus of our ad campaigns optimisations. This is also where we identify if there are any specific creative formats that we can recommend to our clients based on the data received.

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