If Meta’s social channels (Facebook and Instagram) make up part of your digital marketing strategy – or, heck, if you’re partial to a scroll in your downtime, then you’re bound to be across the rise in Reels on both platforms.

Meta’s answer to the whopping user numbers achieved by relative newcomer TikTok, Reels have quickly become the social media behemoth’s major play in the battle to hang onto its market share.

Are Reels really such a big deal? Yep, and here are just a few reasons why:

  • 100 million hours of video content is consumed on Facebook every day worldwide. And, while not all of these videos are Reels, the percentage is growing fast
  • Why the huge surge in Reels popularity? It’s primarily because Meta now prioritises the format over other video formats
  • Reels now account for 20% of the time that users spend on Instagram
  • Following the release of Reels ads opportunities, a 2022 study by Smartly.io shows that the ad style Gen Zers prefer the most is the Story/Reels/TikTok style (40% of respondents chose this as their top option)

These stats alone make it clear that video on social isn’t just a popular post format – it’s also likely to become an increasingly important strategy for advertisers.

PSA: Right now, Reels are the only meta videos you need to know

Yes, video has been around on social for ages, but Reels are very different to the Facebook and IGTV clips of the past. And, if Insta is your social marketing platform of choice, Reels are now the only video format that can go on the feed.

Where social video has been relatively longer in format (10 minutes plus, depending on the channel), Reels are (at this stage) intended to be short and super-engaging. The limit on a Reel is generally only 90 seconds – and longer is not always better (more on that later!).

Ratios are another thing to bear in mind – while content creators have previously been able to use a range of video sizes on Meta, Reels are strictly 9:16. This format makes them perfect for mobile viewing, something to think about when you shoot.

Audio and subtitles are another key difference. Even the least observant social user will have clocked the fact that the same audio keeps cropping up in multiple Reels – a famous local example was Joshua Nanai’s ‘Laxed (Siren Beat’), which blew up in 2020. Choosing the right track makes all the difference to both the engagement and reach you’ll get on your clip.

If you’re looking to engage Facebook viewers, then subtitles are vital to draw people in too as Facebook loops the first couple of seconds of a clip until users tap on it. Adding subtitles as standard practice is also important to cater for those who are hard of hearing.

And then there are trends…

A significant factor driving the popularity of Reels is trends. Often driven by trending audio clips, they can involve dances, challenges and more. Being across trends is vital if you’re serious about ensuring your brand has solid Reels game.

Some trends are broader and have greater longevity – many of these are linked to hashtags associated with specific audience sets, for example plant lovers or new parents. Others are hyper-specific and timebound – often associated with a specific track, for example the recent ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ and ‘It’s Corn’ trends.

Keeping across trends is no small task as they change often and without notice, but it’s also vital to ensure your brand stays on-trend (there’s nothing more cringey than a brand that’s late to the party!)

How to ensure your Reels hit the mark

Reels takeaways

  • Keep it real (no pun intended!) – To be engaging, your Reels should feel organic rather than super slick.
  • Content + customer is king – as with any social marketing, your content has to be on point from your target audience’s perspective or your efforts will be in vain. That means considering what will be relevant and interesting to those you want to engage with.
  • Choose your audio with care – stay across trending audio, but also be aware that – if you’re running a professional account – you’re unlikely to have access to commercial tracks.
  • Don’t aim to fill every available second – Rewatches are a key metric contributing to whether Instagram pushes your content out to more viewers… if your content is long, you’ll have to keep your audience engaged for a greater period of time to generate rewatches.

So, yep, there’s a lot more to it than just pointing the latest iPhone at your products and hoping for the best! If you need a hand planning and executing a serious Reels strategy, reach out to our team at Matter – we know all the ins and outs of Reels and we’d love to help.

About Matter

Matter is the agency for brands who are serious about using social media as an effective marketing channel. Whether you’re a B2B looking needing to market on LinkedIn, or a consumer brand that needs a presence across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Pinterest, we can help. www.matteragency.co.nz