Social media trends, features, and habits change rapidly. Brands that take advantage of consumer trends (and who do it right) can better capture potential customers, with 55% of marketers using Instagram for influencer marketing.
While Instagram Reels at first glance is reminiscent of the video-based, trend-driven platform TikTok, the Instagram feature holds its own when compared to the video app giant, both succeeding for different reasons.
To learn more about TikTok influencer strategy, read more here.
A vital resource for increasing brand awareness and boosting potential sales on social media, IG Reels are a benefit for brands looking to reach engaged audiences who are ready to shop. 81% of those on “the ‘Gram” use the app to research new products and services, and 90% of Instagram users follow at least one brand account.
Let’s explore how and why brands are using Instagram Reels for business and review why companies should be using Reels for their brand. We’ll also look at upcoming Instagram Reel features and updates that will help brands and creators develop their audience and tap into potential sales.
Why Brands Are Using Reels
Instagram Reels are 15 to 60-second videos that allow for users to upload pre-recorded video content or create new content within the app, then edit and share along with a caption. Instagram Reels for brands can be used to develop genuine connections in the form of customer reviews or testimonials, as well as provide educational content about your products, like tutorials and FAQs.
Reels provide a great option for brands looking to repurpose existing content from other platforms and partner with popular creators. They also offer creative and colorful ways to help brands showcase their personality while promoting products and brand values. This includes voiceovers, stickers, as well as combining multiple clips into a single video.
So why are brands using Reels— and why do they work for any company or industry?
Reels are the Perfect Online Video Format: Short & Sweet
With the average human attention span now lasting approximately 8 seconds, hooking in potential followers (and eventual customers) is fleeting, and should be treated as such.
Considering the limited length of Instagram Reels, they not only offer brands the opportunity to reach audiences in shorter time frames but also help to keep your videos concise. When your audience is scrolling through the Explore page, the first impression needs to stand out to be noticed. Reels also allow for coverage of topics that better fit shorter lengths, as opposed to the type of longer content typically found on IGTV videos or YouTube.
Visual appeal and brand personality need to be top-notch when creating Instagram Reels in order to keep audiences watching. Including humor, interesting visual effects, and trending music in your Reels makes up for the shorter length while delivering educational content and building connections.
Reels are Still Shiny & New
Despite the rapid pace of feature development for video-sharing apps, Instagram Reels is still considered to be relatively new.
Instagram’s algorithm has been widely dubbed a tough nut to crack when it comes to the type of content that earns a top spot on the Explore page. However, the algorithm tends to reward those accounts that tap into new features early on and utilize them frequently. Just ask Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, who says to embrace video, be consistent, and use as many Instagram features as you can.
Brands that regularly publish and engage with Reels place themselves ahead of competitors, as this promotes their chances of increased visibility and exposure to new audiences while getting in the good graces of the algorithm.
Reels Have Built-In Features to Showcase Products
With Instagram Reels, you don’t have to worry about your product ending up as an expectation vs. reality post on Pinterest. Showcasing your product via IG Reels allows audiences to get up close and personal with what you sell and see it in action.
Featuring your product is about tapping into the basics of advertising: Highlighting the features of your product and turning these features into benefits. By showcasing your product in action, this also harnesses the power of educational content.
When a consumer feels connected to a brand and is informed about a product, they are more likely to purchase said product. With Instagram’s recent introduction of brand content tags on Reels, Instagram Reel influencers can more easily use branded products and provide a link for purchase, creating a more direct connection between brands and consumers.
Showcasing products might look like a home and garden store creating Reels of their gardening tools in action, or a spice brand sharing their favorite recipes. It’s about tapping into how the consumer can use your product and visualize themselves incorporating your product into their everyday lives.
Predicted IG Reel Updates Benefit Brands & Influencers
For brands looking to stay ahead of the curve and remain innovative in their marketing, updates to features such as Instagram Reels can help bring campaigns to new audiences in completely new ways. Brands are also looking to remain ahead of competitors while expanding their reach with potential customers or selling to their existing customer base, and implementing a smoother shopping experience.
More than half (55%) of fashion shoppers on Instagram have purchased an item based on an Instagram influencer’s post, and with more eCommerce features rolling out for brands frequently, it’s easier than ever for brands to turn scrolling into shopping.
Here are a few predicted future updates to Instagram Reels that will prove especially beneficial for brands and creators.
IG Reel Algorithm Transparency
Despite Instagram having previously explained how its algorithm works on users’ home feeds, the Instagram Reel algorithm remains somewhat of a mystery. That being said, it’s to be expected that the app will eventually take the guesswork out of this component and create more transparency with it’s Reels algorithm. With recent live streams from Mosseri on Instagram strategy, they’re already on their way to sharing more knowledge on how to succeed as a brand/creator.
Shoppable IG Reels
Not only will brands showcase their products in action— but they will also eventually be able to add a clickable link to Instagram Reels, allowing customers to automatically add the product advertised to their cart.
Shopping via Instagram is currently available on Instagram posts and IGTV. However, given shorter attention spans, offering one central location where audiences can view and shop a product in less than 15 seconds could be a game-changer.
IG Reel Advertisements
With the successful launch of IGTV advertisements in 2020, expanding monetization options via IG Reel advertisements will most likely follow suit shortly.
The ease with which Instagram allows audiences to scroll through and continuously view Instagram Reels without interruptions also acts as the ideal location for 15 to 30-second advertisements. And, thanks to the app’s dedicated space for Instagram Reels on its Explore page, brand advertisements also have greater opportunities for increased engagement with new audiences.
Instagram is already allowing brands to advertise their IG Reels via paid ads— something yet not available for IGTV— so it wouldn’t be surprising if monetization of Reels comes very soon.
When evaluating Instagram influencer campaign performance, use our handy Influencer Marketing Analytics Guide that covers influencer marketing metrics and how to do a deep dive on past influencer campaigns.
How Brands Are Using Reels
To see how brands can incorporate the various types of Reel styles and formats previously mentioned, we’ve included a few brands on Instagram Reels who are nailing their current strategy.
These brands incorporate influencer marketing in their Reels, teaming up with Instagram influencers to showcase their products in action and build connections between their target audience and their brand. They are also educating viewers about their products or bringing awareness to related causes.
The city of Austin, Texas recently partnered with travel blogger and influencer @heleneinbetween to showcase how she conducts thorough trip planning and covers all trip details.
Her educational Instagram Reel guides audiences throughout her comprehensive trip planning process in under 30 seconds. Aspects covered include monitoring the weather, exploring festival dates and things to do in Austin via Pinterest and Google, as well as researching flights and car rentals and keeping it organized in a Google Doc.
As a lifestyle influencer, Helene’s post remains relatable, it’s educational, and it helps her brand partner reach her youthful, adventure-seeking audience.
Campbells Well Yes!
Campbell's Well Yes utilizes customer testimonials in their Instagram Reel by teaming up with Ebony of @brownskinisbeautiful. Including her own experience with Campbell’s Well Yes, Ebony’s testimonial touches on how the product fits into her busy lifestyle as a wife and mother of two, by providing her with a healthy and nutritious meal in a snap.
The Instagram Reel also showcases how easy it is to incorporate Campbell’s Well Yes into the viewer’s lives, highlighting Ebony opening the can of soup, placing it into the microwave, and consuming it once it is ready.
Saks Off 5th Ave
Saks Off 5th Ave recently partnered with Influencer couple @theangelinos_ to promote their partnership with gender-fluid fashion brand, The Phluid Project.
Featuring bright colors, close-ups of the limited edition clothing, as well as a smooth transition into a complete shot of the couple’s outfits, the Angelinos’ Instagram Reel does a great job of showing the clothing with their personality from the collection.
It also creates awareness for The Phluid Phoundation, supporting marginalized LGBTQ+ members. This Reel is even more effective because they include a call to action and encourage engagement with their content by inviting followers to comment on how they celebrate Pride month.
Challenge Butter does a fantastic job of highlighting their product in a recipe feature, thanks to their partnership with foodie content creator @bakersroyal_naomi.
Demonstrating in her Instagram Reel how the butter can be used to make frosting for any delicious dessert, @bakersroyal_naomi showcases how easily she is able to incorporate their product into her everyday baking needs.
Video has and continues to reign supreme, with 70% of marketers and brands looking to invest in video as part of their marketing strategy. This is especially crucial as interest in video-watching and content streaming rose exponentially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The newness of IG Reels can help brands to gain exposure to new audiences and potentially increase sales of their products. With 80% of Instagram users reporting increased confidence in purchasing decisions as a result of the app, influencer marketing not only helps to showcase products but also greatly influences purchasing decisions.
Predicted features such as IG Reel Advertisements and clickable purchase options for consumers viewing a brand’s reel will help to monetize the Reel watching process while reaching audiences with shorter attention spans.
Utilizing all features of IG Reels, incorporating influencer marketing strategies and analysis, while keeping Reels short, engaging, and educational, will help brands get the most bang for their buck out of Instagram influencer campaigns.