Instagram Reels: The Real TikTok Competitor?

Instagram’s new video feature, Reels is the hot new in app feature looking to offer real (or should I say, reel) competition to video platform, TikTok. Reels, which has been rolling out in more than 50 countries for over a month now has been branded the ‘TikTok clone’ due to the clear similarities it has to TikTok.

Reels enables users to create short videos using an array of effects, filters, music, and editing tools such as merging multiple clips to create seamless transitions, along with the very thing that makes many social platforms so addictive – the endless scroll. And for those who haven’t yet jumped on the TikTok bandwagon, yes, these features (and more) are all found on TikTok too.

But this is not the first time Instagram has rivalled a popular social app. Remember Instagram before the Stories feature? Before this, Snapchat was the app for sharing more personal and ‘real’ content between friends and family outside of the seemingly perfect world of Instagram. When Instagram introduced Stories, it proved to be a successful contender for Snapchat – will Reels follow a similar path?

With a choice of feed posts, Stories, IGTV’s and now Reels, Instagram becomes even more all-encompassing, allowing users to create various types of content all within the one application. For creators, Reels offers a new way to make fun and engaging content on one of the world’s most popular social platforms. For brands, the feature offers yet another tool to increase brand awareness and reach more potential customers through the explore page.

Although Reels looks incredibly similar to TikTok, there are some differences in the way that the apps are used. Instagram is all about sharing content with friends and family or connecting with users (namely influencers) who ‘influence’ – proving a powerful tool for advertising and brand building. Whereas the TikTok community are looking to discover content that will entertain, educate, or maybe even inspire, as connecting with friends and people you know plays a lesser role. Once the algorithm figures out what you like, there really seems to be something for everyone.

The introduction of Reels has also come at an uncertain time for TikTok in the US, as there has recently been US talks of a potential ban. A ban which could play into the hands of Instagram as TikTok users could migrate their content to Reels. What’s more, Reels has the beast of Facebook behind it, with Instagram alone holding over 1.8 billion users worldwide, the Reels feature has the potential to expand even further than TikTok. Future app developments could also offer even more choice and entertainment for users.

But personally, after mocking users (as a typical millennial) during the initial buzz of TikTok, I must admit I find myself scrolling on TikTok more than any other app nowadays. Who knows, perhaps they’ll both continue to coexist.

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