If you actively follow news on the latest digital trends, you are most likely to be aware of the new feature introduced by Facebook-owned Instagram known as ‘Reels’. This feature allows you to record a 15 seconds video where you can then add filters and music before sharing it with the world.
Now, this new feature has invited comparisons with the popular China-based video sharing service, TikTok. And like TikTok, Reels also doesn’t require any special hard work by users. It has almost all the features similar to TikTok, which recently lost sizeable ground after India banned it and 58 other Chinese apps over allegations of breach of data and privacy. Before the announcement of the June 29 embargo on Chinese apps, TikTok had over 120 million monthly users in India.
Ever since launching in 2016, Tiktok has been well-received and loved by netizens all around the world with 1.5 billion downloads. This platform is home to comedy and entertainment stints by regular people, making it a household name in countries like India, China, Brazil and more. The Chinese social media platform has posed a major threat to the dominance of Facebook and its acquisitions such as Instagram and WhatsApp. However, with the addition of the Reels feature, Facebook is back in the game by offering the 1 billion active Instagram users one more digital and social media marketing platform.
What persuaded Instagram to add Reels?
Facebook is known for responding to competition either by acquiring rivals for a hefty price tag or launching features similar to theirs. The sole motive behind these strategies deployed by the Menlo-park headquartered social networking site is to be the preferred option for users all over the world in terms of both entertainment and digital marketing.
In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for US$1 billion when it had only 50 million active users. Then in 2014, it acquired WhatsApp for US$19 billion when it had 600 million users.
Facebook also made two failed attempts to acquire Snapchat as its owners refused to consider the offer of US$1 and US$3 billion. Concerned with the growing popularity of the multimedia messaging platform, Facebook decided to launch the ‘Stories’ feature on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. With a shelf life of 24 hours, the feature is very similar to Snapchat.
With Instagram Reels, Facebook has once again tried to assert its dominant presence on social media as four out of the world’s five most popular social media sites are currently owned by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Inc.
Instagram Reels may prove to be a masterstroke by Facebook as it offers a ready-made solution for developing short-form videos to a mass audience. Moreover, following in India’s footsteps, countries like Australia and the US are also planning to ban TikTok.
Short-duration videos are cherished by users and have become the meat and potatoes of social media sites. Therefore, it will be a half-truth to declare sites offering them only a source of entertaining content. The crisp videos have earned celebrityhood for several ordinary social media users who have turned influencers after acquiring millions of followers on their accounts. TikTok has also become a potent tool for marketers to promote products and services as millennials love checking out such videos.
Reels Vs. TikTok: Social Media Comparison
If you are a die-hard TikTok fan, you might dismiss Reels as a mere copy. However, we provide here a brief analysis of both short video apps and understand who will survive and entertain its users going ahead.
Similar to TikTok, Reels users can record a video of 15 seconds. Reels provides the option of an enormous library of music to choose from. Users can also adjust the video’s speed with a handy video countdown timer, which is another feature taken from TikTok. Just like TikTok, Reels also provides lots of augmented reality (AR) effects.
In these ways, Reels can be declared as a perfect copy of its Chinese rival. But data leakage and breach of security were the main reasons that resulted in the banning of the Chinese app in India. However, as Reels is offered as a feature with Instagram, users have the option of keeping their profiles public or private.
It will be interesting to see who ultimately wins the battle. It’s a direct confrontation between Instagram and TikTok and the one who will steadfastly innovate as well as address privacy concerns will find its place in the users’ smartphones.
One last word… If you have never had an Instagram or TikTok account, you can try and explore the virtual side to your friends, family or the people you generally admire and see how they present themselves on video.
So, why wait? Install both and understand the difference for yourself!