All about Reels – An Instagram’s TikTok clone

Instagram is finally taking a step forward to fight back its Chinese social media rival TikTok. The photo and video sharing network has released a video-audio remix feature in Brazil. This feature is named Reels and is integrated into the new ‘Explore’ section on Instagram. This feature users can record a 15-seconds video clip set to the selected music. The video clips can then be shared as Instagram stories in the ‘Explore’ section.

A sneak-peek into the launch of Reels in Brazil

Reels is launched on both the Android and iOS app platforms. The feature is called ‘Cenas’ in Brazil. Thus, Instagram is working to leverage all its features to promote Reels. Its unique approach is that it didn’t try to develop an app to compete with TikTok from scratch, like Lasso of Facebook. Instead, it plans to cross-promote Reels among its existing userbase to lead in the social marketplace.

Many companies are looking to outgrow TikTok with their very own TikTok-like app. But TikTok, being the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store, has 1.5 billion monthly users. It has 500 million active users worldwide. Therefore, it is difficult for other companies to surpass these numbers posted by TikTok in the last few years.

The real challenge for Instagram is that TikTok is targeted towards people that want to make music dubbed videos, whereas Instagram is a social media platform featuring feeds and stories. Hence, it is still unclear whether Instagram’s Reels will gain an increased number of users compared to TikTok.

In an interview, Robby Stein, Product Director at Instagram, stated, “No two products are the same, and at the end of the day, sharing video with music is a pretty universal idea we think everyone might be interested in using. The focus has been on how to make this a unique format for us.”

Reason to choose Brazil for Reels’ initial launch

Brazil has a broad user base on the social media platform Instagram. The country has a deep musical culture, along with a thriving creator community. The giant believes that all of these factors will help them in testing their new feature among the Brazilian social community. The response from them will help to customize the functionality and devise onboard strategies that can suit other users present across the world before taking the feature globally.

How Instagram’s Reels work

The feature Reels is placed next to the Boomerang and Super-Zoom features in the shutter modes tray of the Instagram stories section. The feature allows the users to record their videos with silence, use the audio of another video that they find through Explore or hashtag search, or use a popular/trending song.

The music collection needed to power the feature Reels comes from major labels and indie publishers acquired by Instagram’s parent company Facebook. Users can choose a song of their preference from this extensive collection of music files and record and upload their own dubbed videos, building their Reels video section. It is said that Instagram has been working on this feature since June 2018, when it launched its first music stickers.

An added advantage

An additional benefit for Instagram in launching the feature Reels is that users who are not comfortable with sharing their music dubbed videos with unknown users can choose to do so within their circles. Instagram can make use of its features – close friends and direct messaging to achieve the same. It will be the complete opposite of how TikTok works, where the videos created by its users are available to all users across the app.

Also, users who wish to publicize their videos can display their videos on public view. Such videos that are shared publicly will appear on the Top Reels section of the Explore tab. Instagram enables its users who wish to store their music dubbed videos in their account to add it to their highlights section. Thus, the videos stay in their account and get an opportunity to appear on the Top Reels section even after their 24-hours story disappears.

What else do Reels have on board

In addition to producing dubbed videos, users can also edit videos with the editing tools built specifically for Reels. Options are available to add timed captions in specific scenes of the video, and a ghost overlay option to line up transition, so the footage looks fluid. These are some of the additions to Reels.

However, the giant still misses out on certain essential features like video filters and special effects that are used by TikTok. It looks like Instagram is working on developing these features for launch in the forthcoming days.

Monetizing the feature Reels

Instagram does not have to find a way to monetize the Reels feature after it gains success. It can start making money as it already shows ads in its Stories and Explore tab. It can use the same method to monetize its upcoming feature as well.

Building an app like TikTok

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