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Instagram Reels: What Marketing Communications Professionals Need to Know


Instagram Reels

With security concerns about the popular short-form video application TikTok trending, the Facebook owned social platform Instagram has created a new short-form video feature called “Instagram Reels.” The feature was released in the U.S. last week and could potential become the “new TikTok” with government officials questioning banning TikTok unless it is acquired by a U.S. based company.

Here is what you need to know about the new feature:

What is an Instagram Reel?

Instagram Reels are short-form videos that can be created and edited with the use of pre-existing audios. The concept is nearly identical to the popular app TikTok.

  • These videos are maximum 15-seconds long
  • They can include multiple video clips
  • Users can create their own audio or lip-synch/use pre-existing audio
  • Video clips can be taken with Instagram effects, the same as those used in Stories
  • Users can edit in text, stickers and animated elements to their Reels

To create Reels, users will locate the feature under the pre-existing Stories icon

Camera Icon for IG Stories

When a user clicks on the Stories button, the options that currently include Live and Boomerang, among others, will now host the option to create a Reel. ("Stories" can be launched by selecting the camera icon on the main Instagram feed, see above.)

Reels will be featured in an individuals feed, similar to IGTV previews

A small icon will denote which posts are Reels to help users identify with posts are photos, IGTV previews, video clips and Reels.

Reels will have their own tab on an individual’s profile

Instagram Reels

Like IGTV, Instagram Reels will have their own feed on user profiles. This will live between the standard photo grid and IGTV icon. (See right.)

Should I use Instagram Reels in marketing strategy?

Like any social media platform, this is case dependent. Consider if Instagram Reels align with the content you are creating and the audience you are trying to reach. If you are not currently utilizing TikTok, or feel it is not applicable to your content and messaging, this may be a content channel to omit from your social media strategy.

Content Ideas for Instagram Reels

  • Showcase new products
  • Create educational content like “how-to” videos
  • "Behind the scenes" content and sneak peeks

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Meet the Author

Emily Zekonis

Emily Zekonis
Acquisitions Manager at Oliver and Barney

Emily is formarly a Marketing and Events Graduate Service Assistant for the Marketing Communications Online Programs through the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University. She is currently the Acquisitions Manager at Oliver and Marketing Manager at Barney. She is an alumna of WVU's M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and has been working in marketing for over 3 years.

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Marketing Communications Today is a collection of resources for marketing communications professionals filled with industry research, marketing trends, and career information about integrated marketing and data-driven communications. Learn industry insights through the Marketing Communications Today blog, podcast, as well as Integrate Online.

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