IS INSTAGRAM REELS JUST ANOTHER TikTok?
Instagram Reels just another TikTok? / Haven’t you heard that the best time to launch an offense is when your opponent is weak and unstable? If you haven’t, you heard it here first. Facebook clearly understands this philosophy as it recently launched Instagram Reels which looks a lot like Tik Tok.
But, let’s start at the beginning.
Tik Tok is facing uncertain times in the U. S at the moment as it is likely to be banned from the country having been reviewed as a potential threat to national security. President Donald Trump has threatened to ban Tik Tok from the U.S if its owners do not sell to a U.S owned company. Microsoft is looking to acquire Tik Tok’s presence and audience in the U.S.
WHAT IS INSTAGRAM REELS?
In the face of all these, Facebook has released Instagram Reels, a new feature to their already widely used product- Instagram. Reels was launched on the 5th of August 2020 in more than 50 countries across the globe and it creates a direct competition to Tik Tok. Before its official launch, Reels was tested in Brazil, Germany, France, and India (where Tik Tok has already been banned).
Reels is housed within the camera on Instagram and has a separate tab in your Instagram profile. This new feature allows users to record and edit short 15-minute videos with music, add effects, texts, upload video clips, etc.
These videos can be shared on personal Instagram feeds with followers or with everyone on a newly created space on the Explore page if the user has a public account. These short creative videos are called Reels and they offer Instagram users a chance to become creators and reach a large audience.
HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM REELS
When you open the camera on your updated Instagram, you will notice significant changes in the space. The new feature exists alongside Story and Live at the bottom of the camera. Each of these three has its sub-categories. If you tap on Reels, it will give you five options- audio, speed, effects, timer, and align.
- IG allows users to select with Audio a song from the Instagram music library. In addition, you can also use your original audio which Instagram will attribute to you if others want to use it;
- Speed controls the tempo of your videos, that is, how fast or slow it records;
- Effects provide you with tons of filters for your videos, you can utilize effects from Instagram and other creators worldwide;
- With the timer, you can select the duration you want the video to record for (videos can be a minimum of 3 seconds and a maximum of 15 seconds);
- Align provides a smooth way for you to make transitions on your videos. You can easily make outfit changes, add others to the video without a hitch.
Users can record Reels one at a time in a series of clips. Furthermore, you can also import videos from your phone gallery. You can save a draft of your reel, add captions, and hashtags, tag friends (you know, just the usual Instagram stuff). You can share your reel to your feed, story, or through direct message. If you share your reel on your feed on a public account, Instagram can choose it to feature your share on Explore for all to see, whether they are following you or not.
EXPLORE features only the best reels. If Instagram features your reel, the app will send you a notification to this effect.
THE CONTROVERSY OF REELS AND TikTok
Now, here’s the issue, Reels reminds everyone of Tik Tok.
Although Instagram has repeatedly denied allegations that Reels is a clone of the Chinese app, the similarities are unmistakable. The Verge records Instagram product director Robert Stein saying “…no two products are exactly alike, and ours are not either.”
But how true is this? Let’s take a look at some of the similar features of Reels and Tik Tok.
The basic purpose of Reels which is to let users shoot short, creative, and fun videos, add filters and music, create trends or challenges is exactly what Tik Tok does at the moment. Recently, Tik Tok has been the starting place for an increasing number of global trends and challenges.
Although the time frame of videos created on both platforms differ, as Tik Tok allows videos of up to a minute, while Reels can only be 15 seconds long, creating a video on Reels is the same as creating one on Tik Tok, with timed effects, music, editing tools, etc. So, if you’ve been using Tik Tok, navigating Reels should be a walk in the park for you.
INSTAGRAM’S EXPLORE VS TIKTOK FOR YOU
And, that’s not all. With Reels, Instagram can leave users glued to the “EXPLORE” page for hours on end by showing them Reels that they might like. This is what Tik Tok’s “FOR YOU” page is for, and it was a huge success, the app causing users to become addicted.
It is not surprising that Facebook would introduce Reels as a major competitor of Tik Tok. Particularly, considering that Zuckerberg unsuccessfully tried to buy the app from ByteDance in 2016.
At the launch of Instagram Stories, many accused Facebook of plagiarizing Snapchat in 2016. Many are saying that this is becoming a usual practice for Facebook.
Facebook should not have difficulties to pull this successfully off. Especially, considering the fact that they do not have to harness lots of new users. Instagram has a ready-made user-base of over 854 million in 2020. These already existing users of Instagram will set the feature rolling, giving it a lot of traffic.
With the apt timing of this launch, Reels could be an excellent alternative. Especially, if Tik Tok’s presence in the U.S and some other countries go south. What better way for Facebook to maintain dominance in the social media space?
CONCLUSION ABOUT IF INSTAGRAM REELS IS A COPYCAT OF TIKTOK
Instagram’s new feature has got many of its users excited. Although Instagram might have difficulties converting many of TikTok’s loyal users, who started with the app when it was Musical.ly. However, Instagram has a great advantage in countries where governments have or might ban TikTok.
Facebook asserts that it is providing users of Instagram something new and fresh to create and share. Regardless, many critics accuse FB of copying the idea of another app. Influencers will no doubt try to get more popularity from this new feature, which is what Facebook hopes.
Nevertheless, let’s see how the rest of the story unfolds in the following weeks. We will update this article and keep you posted!