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Can Facebook’s Instagram Reels Really Replace TikTok?

Facebook’s Instagram Launches Reels

Before we explain the how and the what of ‘Reels’, let us dive straight into the ‘why’ – why is everyone suddenly talking about Instagram’s new copycat feature, ‘Reels’. Until recently, ‘Reels’ had been rolled out only in a few countries for trial and testing purposes and amongst those were Germany, France, and Brazil. However, last month India sanctioned a blanket ban on TikTok along with 58 other Chinese designed mobile applications as a result of a border clash, which led to the opportunist tech conglomerate jumping at the opportunity to control TikTok’s 2nd largest market, by officially releasing ‘Reels’ to the Indian audience.

Fast forward to a month later, Instagram has just confirmed that ‘Reels’ will be launching globally in early August. This decision comes amid the US weighing a country-wide ban on TikTok due to its ties to China with the ongoing national security issues at large that are being considered by many countries around the world.

What is Instagram Reels and How does it work?

Simply put, Reels is a short form video feature, which will live inside of the app’s Stories feature. Users can record and edit videos up to 15 seconds with audio and music soundtracks, AR filters, speed and effects. 

Once finished filming a Reel, users can simply choose the audience they wish to share their Reel with. Something to note here is that Reels can also be shared in the Explore section for it to be viewed by everyone on the platform, and not just their followers. This is similar to TikTok’s ‘For You’ page, which is one of their key features. However, the difference between both is the number of steps a user would have to carry out on Instagram before their Reel gets published on Explore, whereas in TikTok the first screen users are taken to is the ‘For You’ page. They can also share the Reel to their story, however, the video would then disappear after 24 hours just like other regular stories.


To guide their users through this process, Instagram have provided some screenshots as to how the app will look and its functionalities once it is launched, which is quite handy so users can spot it straight away! Available through the Rolodex of options, users can then select Reels and get creative, which will eventually feature on the top left hand corner of the feed.


As you can see below, you will be able to identify a Reel with a clapperboard icon on the bottom left hand corner on both your home feed and explore feed.


A new tab will be added to users’ profiles to showcase their Reels all in one place. This is in line with all their other features and will be placed alongside the traditional grid of recent posts, as well as tabs for viewing IGTV videos or videos a user was tagged in.


Only time will tell how well received this feature will be, but we definitely think of it as a great opportunity for new businesses and our current clients to consider.  At CEEK, we encourage our clients to be active on various social media channels to optimise their reach and attract a wider range of audience, and we are of course thrilled to add one more feature within the social media landscape to our Omnichannel Marketing approach. 

To answer the title question – it is too early to say what will be the effect of banning TikTok globally and whether TikTok’s users will find Reels just as appealing. Facebook, has proven time and time again to be the leading global tech company, whether it be through innovation or replication.

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