India - Smartphone

Are Instagram trying to take on TikTok?

It’s been almost a week since TikTok was banned in India, and there have already been dozens of clones trying to fill in the gap in the market; however the social media giant Instagram which is owned by Facebook, has just announce that it is introducing short-video ‘Reels’. Reels had already been rolled out in Brazil last year as a way for creators to record 15-second videos with background music and effects. Last month, the company extended this test to France and Germany.

To create Reels, you have to choose the option in Instagram’s camera interface. The feature has all the usual editing tools you’d expect, such as background music and speed control, along with some marquee effects like Green Screen

To watch Reels, you can navigate to the Explore tab and tap on the Reels button to start scrolling through short videos — just like TikTok. Plus, you can filter Reels via hashtags, audio clips, or videos made by a creator.

In 2018, Instagram launched its IGTV video service with huge fanfare, a standalone app, and a dedicated IGTV button on your Instagram home screen. Earlier this year, the company removed the button from the home screen; only 7 million people had downloaded the app.

That’s why probably Instagram is being cautious this time. Vishal Shah, VP of Product at Instagram said that the Explore tab is the natural choice for Reelsas it’s how more than half of all users discover content on the platform. If Reels is successful enough, we might see a dedicated tab — just like the new shopping tab test.

Speaking about the competition, Facebook India head, Ajit Mohan said, “We expect competitiveness, and we expect others to create solutions in a thriving country. Given the global reach of Instagram, we expect to crate global starts from India in a new format.”

He also added that videos from Indian users now account for a third of the content posted on Instagram. So there’s ample opportunity for the format to grow. The social network seems to be playing a waiting game with Reels in India. While other local competitors are trying hard to score as many users as possible, Instagram is testing the waters — maybe because it knows that scale is not a problem.

Instagram has over 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide, but the company hasn’t specified the number of users in India. According to a leading analytics firm, the platform has over 120 million active users.

With the service already available in Brazil and soon to be rolled out in France and Germany along with India in test mode, we’re pretty confident that given the huge popularity of Instagram already, by 2021 ‘Reels’ will be rolled out here in England, the rest of the UK and eventually the globe. The of course, a new digital battle for the top spot between Instagram and TikTok.

Earlier this year in our Social Media Trends in 2020 we spoke about the upcoming popularity of TikTok and how it’s rapid growth has taken the world by storm, especially with Lockdown and all the funny dancing videos, the app has become one of the most popular in the app-stores!