Reels were the biggest Instagram news of 2021. They came on the scene in August of 2020, but it was 2021 when we all saw the full power of Reels take over. Because Reels aren't just shown to accounts that follow you, but instead are suggested to users in a never ending vertical scroll feed, Reels have the potential to make your reach sky rocket. Additionally, reels are the only thing keeping Instagram relevant during the rise and reign of TikTok. We know Reels aren't going anywhere. But what do we think they'll look like in 2022?
The Reels Algorithm is Going to Get More Specific
Recently Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, shared that Reels are behind TikTok when it comes to short form videos. Yeah Adam ... we know. You've basically been copying their platform step by step.
What keeps TikTok ahead of Reels? TikTok's coveted algorithm. If you've ever spent time swiping through your own FYP, you've been amazed at how quickly and effectively TikTok can learn the kind of content you're interested in. Instagram Reels hasn't figured that out yet. If Reels wants to compete, it must make its algorithm more sophisticated and niche. Right now - Reels are extremely trend heavy. If you start scrolling the Reels feed, you'll see trending content. You won't necessarily see content that pertains to your interests or your industry.
An algorithm update is essential to the success of Reels. And if Instagram can figure the Reels algorithm out, it's only going to help your content! Instead of being captive to trends on the app, your content will be pushed to users because of what it's about - not just the sound you have playing in the background. Wouldn't that be nice?
Reels Will Become the Default Part of the Instagram App
Remember the infamous Instagram update of 2020? When the create button was moved to the top of the page and in its place was a button that took us to the Reels feed? Well we think that move was just the beginning of Reels becoming the main push of Instagram.
We predict that within the year, the Reels feed will become the default feed when we open the Instagram app. Our regular feed has already begun to be taken over by Reels. In a recent scroll of our Instagram feed, we passed 18 Reels before we finally got to our first static photo feed post. Instagram isn't joking - the app is not a photo sharing platform anymore.
Also, have you noticed that Reels are no longer cropping the top and the bottom when you're scrolling through your feed? They're now a full screen view - similar to the TikTok FYP.
We think it's only a matter of time until the default Instagram feed is a complete dupe of TikTok's FYP. We'll log into the app and the first thing we see will be a suggested Reels feed. We'll be able to access who we follow in another feed, but our initial experience with Instagram will be an infinite scroll video feed before the year is out.
Filters and Editing Options Will Get Better
There's no question that TikTok has better editing features and filters than Instagram Reels. When you scroll through Reels, it's pretty clear that 80% of them were edited outside of the Instagram app. It's hard to sync footage to music in Reels, and because the trimming feature isn't very precise or sensitive, it's difficult to edit transitions in the app. Instagram must up its editing game if it wants to keep up with TikTok.
Rumor has it that Instagram will soon be dropping a feature similar to TikTok's "Sound Sync" that automatically syncs the clips you upload with music in the app. Instagram's version will be called "Dancification".
Some of Instagram's more popular interactive filters are starting to make their way on to Reels. For example, the filter that allows users to stack digital blocks when they blink and the filter that gives users a snippet of gibberish to translate into English are starting to trend on Instagram Reels. Instagram needs to take the cue from these two successes and start creating more filters that push content creation.
Reels Will Separate Itself From TikTok
The final thing Reels needs to do in 2022 is differentiate itself from TikTok. While Reels remain slightly more aesthetic than TikTok, they're still essentially the same thing. Trends are still originating on TikTok and then slowly trickling their way over to Instagram Reels. Reels needs to get a clear content identity so creators will start viewing TikToks and Reels as different kinds of content, which will lead them to create original content for the Reels platform.
How are they going to separate themselves? We honestly don't know. Reels has been following TikTok's lead for so long now that we're not sure how they'll begin to step away. But when they do, we'll make sure you're the first to know. Subscribe to our newsletter here for all the latest social media updates.