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Instagram Reels Expands To More Global Markets: Just The Facts

July 13, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1171276837  CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - AUG 26, 2018: A woman holds Apple iPhone X with Instagram application on the screen at cafe. Instagram is a photo-sharing app for smartphones._

Reels, an Instagram feature similar to TikTok, is expanding to other countries after testing in Brazil. Although Instagram Reels isn’t yet in the U.S., the expansion of Reels could be significant for advertisers considering their digital marketing strategies, especially given recent news about TikTok possibly being banned in the U.S. 

What Is Instagram Reels?

Reels, like TikTok, is a short-form video feature that allows users to create funny, easily digestible videos, usually set to music. Initially, Reels were meant to only be shared to Instagram Stories, with users hoping their videos would go viral and make it to the Instagram Explore page. But, testing in Brazil found that users wanted more options for sharing their Instagram Reels videos.

According to TechCrunch, “Instagram has moved Reels to a dedicated space on the user Profile and in Explore — the latter for public accounts — so people can share with a new audience and share on their Instagram Feed.” This move could make Reels more of a destination within the app, like Instagram Stories. In order to distinguish Reels from Stories, Instagram offers a suite of editing tools, so users can create more complex videos that appear and feel different from the lifestyle content of Stories. 

Why Is Instagram Reels Expanding To India And Other Markets?

Instagram Reels has expanded to Germany and France, with new features that followed testing in Brazil. Instagram hasn’t released any details about when Reels will be coming to the U.S., but says the Reels product will continue to evolve, likely refining the existing experience before coming stateside. 

More significant perhaps, is recent news that Instagram Reels is now rolling out in India, where TikTok was recently banned. India was TikTok’s largest market outside of China. Instagram has 165 million monthly active users (MAU) in India, and “videos make up over a third of all posts in India,” said Ajit Mohan, Head of Facebook India, which could mean Instagram Reels has a huge opportunity to grow a product that was previously facing intense competition from TikTok. As stakeholders weigh whether or not to ban TikTok here in the U.S., a viable replacement successful in other markets could tip the scales.

How Can Instagram Reels Help Advertisers With Their Digital Marketing Strategies?

A billion people use Instagram every month. One-third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses, and a recent report from Reuters found that Instagram is likely to overtake Twitter as a news source in the coming year. Many brands already include Instagram as part of multichannel digital marketing strategies, and an option like Instagram Reels could create even more opportunities for brands to reach younger audiences and create unique branding and sponsorship opportunities. Digital marketers should continue to follow the growth of Instagram Reels around the world, particularly in the event that TikTok is banned. It’s likely that Instagram Reels would more quickly move into U.S. markets if a ban were to happen, and digital marketers should be ready to react.  

Update: On August 5, Instagram Reels debuted in the U.S. 

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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