Will Reels Provide an Alternative to TikTok?

Posted 13th August 2020

Last week, we uploaded a blog discussing the turbulence surrounding TikTok, and whether the app could be in trouble? This is certainly the case in the US and India, with President Donald Trump announcing his intentions to ban the app in the US (causing widespread controversy) and India banning the app entirely. 


In this last week, influencer marketing’s top platform Instagram announced and quickly launched its new feature: Instagram Reels, which they’ve described as “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram.”


The feature allows users to make short videos, potentially comprising multiple clips and up to 15 seconds in length. These videos can then be shared with your own followers on your feed or shared more widely to the Explore page. Instagram themselves say that the feature has the potential to make anyone a creator and reach a wider audience. 


This is obviously an interesting and exciting prospect for those working in influencer marketing, as this feature could provide Instagram influencers with a new avenue for creativity, brand deals and audiences, without the need to create a whole new profile on a different platform. Users however, have noticed the feature bears a notable resemblance to TikTok, in terms of its layout, functionality and video creation features. 


These similarities have left people wondering whether reels will pose any notable  competition to TikTok, with the platform being under threat in the US. Users looking for a viable alternative to the short video format wouldn’t have to look far and instead could just stick to a platform they’re already familiar with and accustomed to. 


In its current state, Reels does not seem to pose any major threat; for the time being at least, the feature only allows for 15 second videos, which doesn’t allow for the same creative scope that TikTok does. It’s also missing a lot of other creative features like duetting, many filters and a lot of editing options that make TikTok so unique. For creators that rely on the full 60 seconds to create their content, Reels wouldn’t provide a viable alternative to TikTok. 

What remains to be seen is what potential developments could be made to Reels to improve it and whether Instagram will provide an almost all-inclusive platform for influencer marketing. With features like IGTV, stories, main feed posts and now Reels, this could end up being the case if Reels upgrades its features to match its competition.