Yup. You read that headline correctly. Every video you post on Instagram will now be posted as a reel.
On Thursday last week, Adam Moserri, the head of Instagram, posted one of his classic talking straight-to-camera videos where he drops a huge piece of news like it's no big deal - sending social media managers everywhere into a frenzy. Just weeks ago Instagram announced prioritizing the 4:5 ratio over the square ratio, and now this ... The hilarious reel below from @yoursocialteam encapsulates our feelings entirely.
In a blog post on Instagram's website the company said, "Since reels offer a more immersive and entertaining way to watch and create videos on Instagram, we’re bringing these creative tools and the full-screen experience to your video posts, too. In the coming weeks, new video posts shorter than 15 minutes will be shared as reels. Videos posted prior to this change will remain as videos and won’t become reels."
As usual, this update to reels is being framed as a way to simplify Instagram, streamline the experience, and make it better for users ... but we see right through those justifications. This is yet another step in Instagram's competition with TikTok. Watch Moserri's full video statement below.
What Does This Mean for Videos on Instagram?
Every video under 15 minutes that you post will be posted as a reel. As this update rolls out, eventually the video tab on our profiles will disappear - just like the IGTV tab faded away with the arrival of Instagram Video. (RIP to both of those formats.)
Now does this mean that if you post a video with a 16:9 ratio that it will be cropped to 9:16? Not necessarily. Videos are simply pumped into the reels feed, not cropped into the Reels format. But since Instagram is now showing all videos in a full screen Reels view, we suggest sharing all video on the app in a 9:16 ratio. When someone views your 16:9 video in the Reels feed, they'll be seeing a whole lot of black, empty space on top and bottom - taking them out of the experience and maybe causing them to swipe up.
Instagram also shared that they will be opening up the extremely convenient Reels templates to all users - allowing you to participate in a trending concept without all the heavy lifting of timing your videos perfectly. They also updated the Remix feature to allow Remixing a photo post ... whatever that means, we're not quite sure. And they stole TikTok's stitch feature, allowing you to add a clip to part of another user's Reel.
Now don't get us wrong - some of these updates are great things for people who create Reels on the app. We'll be taking advantage of these new features for ourselves and our clients. We just wish that photos on the app were receiving the same amount of attention and desire for innovation as video content.
What Does This Mean for Photos on Instagram?
The most confusing part of Moserri's statement to us was the claim that Instagram planned to "still do right by photos long term." With Instagram's prioritization of Reels, photos have become almost obsolete on the platform if your account is actively trying to grow. We've had many a difficult conversation with clients trying to explain that simply posting photos of products will no longer cut it on Instagram.
Many users (including ourselves) are frustrated with the lack of differentiation between Instagram and TikTok. We're losing the uniqueness of the platform, and we're also concerned that community building will fade away as we are all fed more and more suggested Reels content in our feeds, as opposed to posts from accounts we've decided to follow and engage with. This decision to continue to prioritize video content over photos is highly unpopular, and the comments section on Moserri's announcement post confirms this.
And P.S. Instagram .... don't think we missed your thinly veiled copycat moment of BeReal. With the dual camera option suddenly appearing on Instagram right when BeReal is taking off, we wouldn't be surprised if in a couple months Instagram was sending us all notifications telling us when to post a dual camera picture to our stories.
We'll be watching to see if Instagram listens to its upset community, or if it keeps blazing ahead in its pursuit to overtake TikTok. But in the meantime, we'll be posting all video content in a 9:16 ration, and we suggest you do the same.