Instagram is trying to steal TikTok’s thunder with the launch of a new in-app function called Reels in the United Kingdom.
The feature is already available in France, Germany and Brazil and enables Instagram users to make 15 second videos within Instagram and edit them with music or filters.
The big news here is two-fold. Firstly, it may undermine the relevance of TikTok for brands wanting to engage consumers. This has happened before, when Stories were introduced on Instagram and Facebook, undercutting the unique nature of Snapchat and its relevance to businesses and consumers.
Secondly, brands have been shy to engage with TikTok so far, mainly because, in the UK, it has been so dominated by a younger demographic. This new development could see TikTok-style content becoming increasingly relevant to an older demographic through Instagram. As a result, brands will need to consider how to incorporate Reels into their social media strategies.
Instagram says that Reels is a “big part of the future of entertainment on Instagram – with Reels, Stories, Live & IGTV, we’re excited to give people more ways to create & enjoy video the way they want”.
As a final note, there is still the potential for a TikTok ban in the USA, which will significantly alter the significance of the platform. If this happens, then Instagram will be able to use Reels to capitalise on the exodus of users from TikTok, especially if influencers and brands in other regions start leaving the platform as they grow concerned about the long term value of investing time and money in building followers on TikTok.