It’s no secret that video content is dominating social media. TikTok has set the tone for fun, interesting, and more importantly, engaging video content. As a ripple effect, other platforms are now looking to increase engagement with their audiences by prioritizing video.

Which is where TikTok competitor Instagram Reels comes in.  

The way audiences are interacting with content on Instagram is changing – according to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, friends on IG now post a lot more to stories, and send a lot more DMs, than they post to their main feed. That opens up an opportunity for the platform to really lean into video content. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg has stated that Reels already account for 20% of the time people spend on Instagram.

With numbers like this, you can expect that Instagram will continue to prioritize Reels content, using the algorithm to serve up more videos to a larger audience – which can mean massive reach and engagement for brands. 

We looked at Emplifi data to uncover the story behind Instagram Reels, how brands are adapting their strategy to accommodate more video content, and if the return on investment from these efforts is worth it.  

Here’s a look at the latest brand Reels trends.

Brands are catching on to the Reels rewards

In line with these trends, brand profiles are increasingly incorporating Reels into their content strategy.

In Q2 2022, Emplifi data found that almost half of the brands on Instagram published at least one Reel, compared to 30% a year ago. The format is the most popular in the Sports sector, with more than 60% of profiles sharing Reels – though other industries are close behind.

That said, even though brands are familiar with Reels, it still makes up a minority of all brand content published to Instagram. The reasons for the slower adoption rate could include a blurred strategy, or a lack of resources to produce bulk video content in large quantities.   

We found that, on average, Reels content only represented 7.5% of a brand’s content (excluding Stories).

However, though the number isn’t massive, it’s important to note that it is growing rapidly. 

Are brands falling back on old Instagram habits?

Habits are hard to break, especially when your social media team isn’t equipped to tackle video content head-on. A lot goes into video strategy, and making it look easy is a part of the magic. So if brands aren’t leveraging the power of Reels, what content formats are they publishing?

Emplifi data shows that the vast majority of the IG content that brands published in Q2 2022 were single image and single video posts. Surprisingly, Carousel posts only made up 20% of brand posts.

Tens of thousands of brands are relying on static images, which is a missed opportunity, as Carousels and Reels tend to be significantly more engaging.

Publishing Instagram Reels pays off

In Q2 2022 alone, the median interaction count for Reels was almost 40% higher versus traditional videos, according to Emplifi data. 

Reels are extremely flexible in how they can be shared among audiences, making them much more versatile than feed posts. Users can easily share Reels with friends via Stories, and discover Reels on the Explore page, as the Instagram algorithm continues to favor this content format over others. Since the start of 2022, Reels have become the most engaging post type on Instagram.

As you can see in these charts, overall, organic interactions on Instagram have been steadily declining. For Reels, however, the decline is slower than for other post types. While interactions on Reels declined by 10% quarter-over-quarter, interactions on single images declined by 41% in the same time period.

Should brands drop traditional formats to focus on Reels?

You’re probably wondering now whether it makes sense to stop publishing traditional content on Instagram, and switch gears to go full Reels. 

The answer is no. 

We’ve seen that brands that include variety in their content strategy, including various post types, tend to see the most engagement.

Brands are reaping the benefits of Instagram Reels

Global brands are already making the most of Instagram Reels, adding the new content format to their social media strategy. Those jumping on the trend early are seeing fantastic results, with various industries represented from Retail, Automotive, and Entertainment.

Social media teams looking for inspiration can follow the following brands that are truly embracing video content.

The takeaway

There’s no way around it; the preference for short video content is here to stay. 

To maximize reach and engagement on Instagram, brands have no choice but to invest in an Instagram Reels strategy. As a result, it will be helpful for leaders of social media teams to reevaluate their goals and find areas in which they can scale back in order to accommodate increased video production.

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