Founded in 2010 as an app named ‘Burbn‘ by Krieger and Systrom, Instagram got its name after the makers found that Burbn’s photos feature was being widely used. Burbn got retooled and revamped as Instagram, becoming a photo-sharing app. As soon as Instagram made its debut on 10th October 2010 globally and in April 2012 in India, thousands of people downloaded it, and presently more than 1 Billion people use Instagram globally. Eighteen months later, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 Billion Dollars. After mimicking Snapchat‘s story feature to making theme-based Direct Messages and sending Gift-Messages, Instagram continues to stay in the game by providing exciting features with almost every new update. One of them is ‘Reels’.
What are Reels?
Reels is a short-form video feature of maximum time limit of 30 seconds which encompasses its array of audio-visual effects and other engaging and creative tools. On 8 July 2020, reels were launched in India after the Indian Government banned the Chinese video application TikTok. Reels became an alternative for TikTokers as the former functioned in almost the same way. However, the former had a greater reach and audience than the latter.
Algorithms of Reels
From actors to influencers to brands, everyone now uploads Reels daily or at regular intervals. The question is -why do they do it? Is it just for their dopamine and serotonin boost? Or does it have a reason that has something to do with getting explored, popular, and discovered?
The answer is yes. Apart from personal joy and self-satisfaction, reels have a much greater significance. According to Instagram, if someone holds a public account, they can share their reels to a dedicated space in Explore. Here, their reels have a higher chance to be viewed and discovered by the wider community. Reels with songs, hashtags, or effects are likely to get featured under their dedicated section on Instagram. If someone loves a certain reel, they can easily like, comment, and share it, which again adds to more popularity on Instagram. Instagram also chooses some reels and categorizes them as ‘Featured Reels’, promoting them to garner more views and making the discovery of original, entertaining, and inspiring reels easy.
Revamp of Reels algorithms
In new guidelines issued by Instagram in February 2021, recycled content was a big no-no. Instagram feels that blurry videos, videos with watermarks (yes, TikTok videos as well), or which mostly contain texts over images will not be recommended by Instagram as it makes the experience of reels less entertaining or engaging.
However, Instagram strives to promote original, entertaining, fun, inspiring, or experimental reels. Instagram would prefer videos in vertical format as they are easy to recreate. Reels that use music from the Instagram music library or have original audio will also be Instagram’s priority.
Do Reels benefit Instagram?
This question can only be answered in terms of statistics. Talking only about India, Instagram installs were only about 7 million before reels were launched. However, after reels made its debut in India, Instagram downloads increased by 11.4%, and in a month, Instagram downloads became 7.8 million. Not only this, but also the average time spent by Indians on Instagram increased by 3.5%. According to Manish Chopra, the Director and head of partnerships at Facebook, India said that reels were being received very well. A variety of public figures and creators from across India were using the new feature.
Future of Reels
Reels are short; they are engaging and entertaining. The attention span of Gen-Z is less; reels offer an alternative to the long and mundane videos. Also, it has now become an inevitable aspect of Instagram while one is scrolling through their feed. Being a feature of Instagram, reels, but naturally, become a part of pop culture that unites artists, content creators, influencers, and businesses across the globe. Reels get updated regularly, with features like remixing getting added to them, making it prominent that Instagram knows the power of reels and the profit they bring in.
Be it the ‘Runaway Aurora’ trend or the ‘20 photos and 2 videos in a Reel’ challenge, reels have garnered a huge audience base with new creativity and concepts thriving and making a mark on the web. This a surety – reeling on the ‘Gram is here to stay for long!