Instagram tweaks Reels to give brands and creators longer videos
Instagram is fixing one of the early flaws found in Reels, the short time limit of the content, by increasing the maximum length to 30 seconds, giving creators and brands more time to shoot the TikTok-like videos.
On Wednesday, Instagram announced updates to Reels, which it introduced last month to make the platform more in-line with the TikTok generation’s sensibilities. Brands including Dunkin, Red Bull, Louis Vuitton and Red Bull were quick to test the Reels function, exploring how those videos could alter creativity on Instagram.
One of the early criticisms was that Reels were too short, allowing only 10-second clips, and with the first major update, Instagram clearly heard the complaint. “We continue to improve Reels based on people’s feedback, and these updates make it easier to create and edit,” Tessa Lyons-Laing, product director at Instagram Reels, said in Wednesday’s announcement. “While it’s still early, we’re seeing a lot of entertaining, creative content.”
Reels can now last up to 30 seconds, and Instagram also upgraded the editing functions that make it easier to create the videos. Video editing is a core component for keeping creators satisfied. TikTok video creators are limited to 15 seconds, but can string together videos that last up to a minute.
Madison Avenue has paid attention to Instagram’s interest in Reels, because any change to how videos perform affects brands’ strategy on the app.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is hoping to capture some of the enthusiasm away from its popular rival TikTok. Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp combined reach more than 3.1 billion people a month, while TikTok has rapidly grown to a platform with more than a billion users worldwide, too.
TikTok is in a fight for its position in the U.S., however, with President Donald Trump threatening to hinder its operation in the U.S. because of its ownership structure. Chinese company ByteDance owns TikTok and is working on restructuring the business to appease Trump’s demands. A deal is still being worked out among ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart, and is awaiting government approval from Washington and Beijing.
In the meantime, TikTok rivals are angling for position, including Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, as well as startups like Triller and Dubsmash.
On Wednesday, Facebook touted the star power of Reels, showing off videos from Prince William and Kate Middleton, and 18-year-old cooking influencer Eitan Bernath. Instagram also announced that it struck a partnership with CMT to announce awards nominees through Reels.