Is TikTok the best app in the world right now? There is an increasing amount of evidence that a lot of people at Facebook and Instagram HQ seem to think so. In fact, the Instagram team loves the Chinese Vine clone so much that the Facebook-owned app has just unveiled its own TikTok clone app called Reels. Yep, clearly originality is not a big deal at Instagram as they’re copying an app that is itself a copy of another app.
Instagram Reels launched in Brazil for iOS and Android devices on Tuesday. There are plans for a wider roll-out around the world, but as yet, we don’t know when we can expect the global launch. Watch this space.
15 seconds of viral entertainment
If you’ve used Twitter, or indeed Vine, you’ll have a fair idea about what to expect to with Reels. To be fair to Instagram, they’ve done a very good job of cloning TikTok. Reels allows users to create 15 second videos and then add background music tracks to them before sharing them to their followers as Instagram Stories. Instagram offers a huge amount of music for this task and even makes audio from other videos available opening up the possibility of endless streams of remixed and deep-fried Reels.
Instagram users will find the new Reels button in the Instagram Stories shutter modes, next to the likes of Boomerang and Super-Zoom. Selecting it will allow users to record their 15 second video clip without sound, with the audio of another video, or with a popular or trending song. Instagram is pushing hard the idea of remixing audio from other videos and will allow users to search for them using hashtags and Explore, but will also offer dedicated pages highlighting the top videos that have used certain audio clips.
Reels marks a solid progression for Instagram from the Music Stickers feature it introduced in 2018. The new Instagram feature/app is backed by the massive music collection Facebook has built up as well as an easily managed control system. There’ll be new timed captions giving users control over when text will show up on screen during their Reels and improved scene transition features. The aim is to have Instagram users pick the part of the song they want to use and then add multiple video clips to their Reel to complete the project.
New skills for Instagram users
Instagram is hoping that its massive established user base will allow it to muscle in on TikTok’s base. The thing is, however, that publishing scripted content is new for Instagram users who are much more used to simply sharing stream of consciousness type content to their closest friends. This means this latest Instagram app is not guaranteed to be a success. TikTok is about making people laugh and to do so users really have to put themselves out there. It might not be quite so easy for Instagram users to show off their whacky side, if they’re sharing content with family and friends.
Instagram Reels (Cenas) is available in Brazil on Android and iOS now.