[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Instagram Adds New Editing & Engagement Tools for Reels

It’s been a mixed week or so for Instagram, which announced new tools for Reels but has backed down on other changes after criticism from users, creators and celebs alike.

We’ll address that awkward turn-around later because there’s a bit to get through regarding the new features.

Until now, Reels has been focused on videos. You can remix them, duet them, use them as templates – but you weren’t able to do the same with photos.

Introducing… photo remixes

Now, you’ll be able to remix public photos on Instagram.

Instagram Newsroom

“Photos are core to the Instagram experience. In the coming weeks, you will be able to remix public photos. This gives you limitless inspiration to create your own unique reel.”

The move possibly speaks to the core of the public backlash against the app. People are annoyed that Instagram is moving away from being a photo-sharing app towards being a TikTok copycat that shows you what its AI thinks you want to see.

The update comes with some other expansions:

  • More layouts to choose between such as green screen, vertical or horizontal split-screen and picture-in-picture reaction video.
  • You can now add your clip after an original Reel so it plays in sequence, which will be good for creators who like to present their take on the matter at hand.

What is Instagram remix?

Instagram Remix has been around for a while now. As per Instagram, it’s “an editing feature that lets users film reactionary videos that appear next to the original video.”

Creators can remix all public videos and photos and have embraced them. Brands can also use Remixes to kick-start challenges or collaborations with influencers.

Is Dual another copycat?

Alongside photo remixing, Instagram has also announced a new feature called Dual.

Instagram Dual is slightly different. It lets you record with your front and back camera at once – similarly to the rapidly growing BeReal app.

BeReal is a photo-sharing app where users post one unfiltered photo per day. Launched in late 2019, it’s been growing in popularity for some time and is currently the top Social Networking app on the App Store.

Could we be about to see the latest Meta clone? Surely not…

As mentioned, Dual lets users record their reaction to whatever they’re doing at that moment – with the rear shot taking up most of the space and the front-facing camera appearing as a small square in the video.

To use Dual, you must select the Reels option on Insta and then select the Dual label.

Will brands Dual?

Businesses could use this feature to show some authenticity to followers. They could share behind-the-scenes footage of whatever is going on, reveal reactions to their latest product or get an influencer to use a product and stream themselves as they go.

BeReal, which has experienced a wave of popularity this year, is founded on authenticity. So, when you use a Dual, that should also be at the front of your mind.

All videos will now be Reels

In other news, Instagram is converting videos shorter than 15 minutes long to Reels.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, via Twitter

“All videos on Instagram are going to be Reels. That doesn’t mean that every video has to be a dancing, lip syncing video but it means that when you create a video on Instagram you’ll have access to all of those tools. So there will be just one video format on Instagram.”

Instagram is doing this to streamline videos on its platform and to double down on Reels. It also wants to create a full-screen experience, and Reels format is perfect for that.

Brands and users should remember that anyone can remix your Reel unless you set your account to private. But, for brands, it could result in better video discovery as Reels will be recommended in users’ feeds.

Of course, if anyone can remix a Reel, there will be limited controls on who they are and what can be said about you. So, from a brand security point of view, you may want to keep an eye on who is doing what.

Instagram’s awkward turn-around

And finally, Instagram has reversed changes to turn the home screen into a TikTok-like full-screen hub that prioritised video.

There was a considerable public backlash against the move. Last week, Kylie Jenner and a few other Kardashian clan members posted memes pleading to “Make Instagram Instagram again.”

People are frustrated that Instagram is moving away from being a photo-sharing app – and voices appear to have been heard.

For a few weeks anyway.

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