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What’s the Future of Instagram Reels?

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

Can we predict the future? No. Have we done the research to know where Reels are trending? Yes. Read on so you'll be prepared for the changes that are coming to Instagram Reels.

We’re Hoping for Updated Editing Features

Remember our post about Reel’s lacking video editing features? Yeah. We still feel that. Instagram will have to begin closing the gap between its editing features and TikTok’s. Instagram doesn’t allow users to record a voice over in app, and many new Instagram accounts don’t have Instagram music available to them (hello - we are one of those accounts). Without these two crucial features, many users have to edit their videos out of the Instagram app to keep up with current trends. We’re confident that Instagram is going to step up their editing game this year.

More Options for Monetization for Creators

In October, Instagram rolled out shoppable IGTV posts - allowing users to buy products from creators as they’re watching their videos. During that roll out Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri promised that shoppable Reels would be on the way … but we’ve yet to see them. We think they’re sure to arrive very soon though. Instagram made a whopping $20 billion dollars in advertising in 2019. With that huge profit, it’s only right that Instagram start allowing creators and influencers to cash in on the platform. They’ve already created options for creators to gain financial support from fans through IGTV videos and by going Live - but they’ve yet to announce any option for influencers to monetize the content they’re creating on Reels. We think that Instagram will follow its past moves of giving creators ways to make money in their Reels feature in 2021.

More Collaborative Ways of Posting

Instagram Reels lack many of the viral features available on TikTok. TikTok is known for being collaborative, and Reels … not so much. On TikTok, users can easily duet with other videos or stitch their video onto another user's videos. This allows for hilarious combinations, interesting dialogues, and a stronger community on the platform. If Instagram brought these features to Reels, they’d definitely see an uptick in usage. It sounds like we're suggesting Instagram steal an idea from TikTok but hey … isn’t that essentially what Reels are?

Aesthetic Will Matter More on Reels Than it Does on TikTok

TikTok is a lawless land that cares not for perfection or aesthetic. Most TikTok feeds have no color scheme and are just random thumbnails from the video. Instagram, on the other hand, allows users to upload a custom cover. We wish that TikTok allowed this too! Finally, Reels has one up on TikTok! While you don’t have to share your Reels to your Instagram Feed, you will get a higher bump in views and exposure if you do. And since Instagram allows you to upload a cover, you can easily make sure your Reel fits in with your feed’s aesthetic. You might also want to consider the aesthetic of the Reels tab on your profile. While it doesn’t need to look as beautiful as your feed, consider how someone would feel clicking over to your Reels tab. Would they feel like they’re landing on another person’s profile because it’s so different? Make sure your Reels tab supports all the hard work you’ve been putting into branding your profile.

Pushing Creators to Create Viral Trends that Start on Reels

So far, viral trends have started on TikTok and slowly migrated to Instagram Reels as users repost their TikToks to Reels. Instagram does not like this. They want the viral trends to start originating on their platform. They’ve already started sponsoring influencers to make original content on Reels. At the beginning of November, Instagram announced a Reels Star Search series, where they feature influencers who are creating on Reels. They also tell users to use the hashtag #ReelsStarSearch (👀look at Instagram encouraging UGC) for the chance to be featured on the series. Instagram will continue to incentivize the creation of short form videos on their platform - not anyone else's *cough TikTok cough*.

Length Extension (please, please, please)

Our final prediction for the future of Reels is that Instagram will extend the length from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Reels started out as only a 15 second video, and then expanded to 30 seconds. Maybe they’ve been persisting at 30 seconds to differentiate themselves from TikTok … but it’s time to give in and allow Reels to be a full 60 seconds. While viral trends will always be shorter 10-30 second videos, educational video trends need more time. Many creators and influencers have voiced their frustration with the time limit, and we’re sure Instagram is listening. If they want to pull more users from TikTok, Instagram needs to give those users the features and freedoms they’re used to having on TikTok

As we've said before, if you aren't creating Reels on Instagram yet, you're behind. Now is the perfect time to join; you'll be comfortable with the technology when the changes to Reels start to hit. And if the changes are confusing, don't worry. Media A La Carte will be here to explain them to you.


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