Watch out TikTok… there is a brand-new video app that has just launched on the market.

Reels, Instagram’s equivalent to TikTok, was rolled-out across 50 different countries at the start of August 2020. Part of the Instagram app, Reels allows users to record, edit and publish short videos.

In this article we are going to look at why Reels was launched, how it compares to TikTok, and what this brand-new app will mean for advertisers and influencer marketing in the future.


How does Reels work?

Instagram Reels allows you to record short 15-second clips and share them to your feed. If your Reel is popular, Instagram will mark it as ‘featured’, meaning that it will appear in peoples ‘explore’ tab, meaning more eyes on your video!

To access it, open the Instagram Stories camera and click on the Reels icon.

Like Stories, you can add filters and effects to your video, as well as Instagram stickers.


How does Reels compare to TikTok?

Reels is very similar in design and style to TikTok, to the point that TikTok sent a cheeky Twitter message to Instagram when Reels launched, simply saying: “Well… this looks familiar”.

Instagram does have previous form in utilising common features from other apps, most famously launching Stories in 2016 after Mark Zuckerberg failed to buy Snapchat in 2013.

So, what similarities are there between the two different apps?

You can record for the same amount of time: Both apps let you record 15-second videos, although with TikTok you can link up to four videos together so you can effectively record a more long-form video that lasts a minute.

Filters and effects: Both apps allow you to add filters and special effects to your videos.

Age requirement: Both apps have a minimum age requirement of 13. 

There are a few differences between the two apps as well:

Reels is not a standalone app: While TikTok is an app in its own , Reels is only accessible through Instagram. 

A different target audience: Both apps appeal to different demographics, which may be critical if you want to advertise your product to a particular target audience.

For example, TikTok appeals to a younger audience, with 41% of users between the ages of 16 and 24 compared to 36.2% of Instagram users. More women prefer Instagram, with 52% of users being female, compared to 44% of TikTok users.

Reels has less functionality (at the moment): There are certain features that TikTok has that Reels doesn’t have, for example, Duets that allow users to respond to videos with their own videos, side-by-side.

However, it is still early days for Reels and it may be that new features are rolled out in the future.


How will this development impact advertisers?


There are 800 million active users on TikTok, but there are over 1 billion active users on Instagram, as well as 2.6 billion active Facebook users, meaning that advertisers can reach a wider range of people across these networks. This may make Instagram more appealing as an advertising platform.




Time will tell whether Reels overtakes TikTok in popularity. Facebook has tried to roll out apps similar to TikTok before without success, such as standalone video app Lasso which was shut down in July this year.

However on the other hand, Instagram launched Stories in 2016 as a competitor to Snapchat, and it exceeded Snapchat’s entire daily user base in the space of eight months.

 It will be interesting to see how Reels performs in the upcoming months, especially if the United States Government is successful in banning TikTok.

Do you currently have a TikTok or Instagram account? Will you continue to keep using TikTok to create videos, or are you tempted to give Reels a try?

If you'd like your brand to be featured both on Reels and TikTok with lifestyle influencers you can schedule a call with us here.