Instagram Reels have gained an enormous amount of steam since their release. As new features continue to appear, the face of digital marketing continues to change. Influencer marketing and short-form content have combined to change the way we think about social media, which means changing the way we think about advertising.
So if you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to try advertising your app through Instagram Reels, the answer is a resounding yes! And in order to help you do so, we’ve created a guide to explain exactly what Reels are, how they work, and how you can make them work for you when advertising your app.
What Are Instagram Reels?
Reels are an Instagram feature that fall somewhere between Stories and In-Feed posts. They were introduced in 2020, largely in response to the explosive popularity of TikTok. They are short form videos, but unlike Stories, which disappear after 24 hours, Reels can be saved to the Explore page or a dedicated area of your personal feed.
Videos have a minimum length of 15 seconds and a maximum length of 60 seconds. Additional features include the ability to create full-length captions and to like, share, and comment publicly on the Reel. When creating your Reel, there are a variety of filters, sounds, stickers, and more that you can include in order to create unique and eye-catching content.
Digital marketers may also want to consider taking advantage of Reels ads, which Instagram released in 2021. These appear in all the same places that organic Reels do and the only way to recognize them is normally to take notice of the “sponsored” label in the bottom left corner. This allows your paid ads to blend seamlessly with other content that users are consuming, which your audience will love.
How Do You Create Instagram Reels?
But how do you actually create a Reel to effectively advertise your mobile app? Thankfully, the process is pretty straightforward. We’ll take you through each step in order to ensure that your first business Reel is a standout!
Step 1: Upload Your Media
Once you’ve chosen Reels from the dropdown menu in Instagram, you’ll be able to choose media to upload. You can either choose video from your camera roll or you can begin recording within Instagram. You can even edit multiple videos and/or images together if you’re interested.
Step 2: Edit Your Media
Once you’ve chosen your footage, you can edit it by cropping its length or its size for optimal results. You will be able to add additional footage in this stage. While you do have 60 seconds, it’s not necessary to use the full amount of time unless you have a lot to show or explain in a particular Reel.
Step 3: Add Sounds and Effects
This is where the fun really begins! Once you’ve solidified your media, you can add an audio clip. Don’t skip this step! Sounds are a huge part of what makes different Reels popular on Instagram. Even if you’re running a paid campaign, this is something you should pay attention to. The best ads are ones that don’t feel like ads at all and your audience will be more likely to engage with something that truly entertains or impresses them, rather than an overt sales pitch. In addition to sounds, you can also add filters, stickers, text, and other effects at this stage. You can add a voiceover to your Reel as well. This is great if your Reel is a how-to or if there are specific features of your app that you feel would be best highlighted through narration.
Step 4: Add a Caption
Once you’ve completed the creative aspect of your Reel, you can caption it just like any other In-Feed post. Take advantage of the caption to emphasize your CTA, or call-to-action. You can also tag any relevant accounts. Keep in mind that including a caption may cut off the bottom part of your Reel video – so refrain from including any vital information in that section. Another consideration for paid Reels ads is that your caption will be cut off by a “click more” if it’s too long, meaning that audiences may not even see the CTA if you take too long to get to it. Directing users to a longer caption is a current trend in influencer marketing, but if you’re running a paid campaign it’s best to keep captions short and to the point.
Step 5: Publish Your Instagram Reel
This step will look a little different depending on whether you’re posting an organic Reel or an ad. For organic Reels, you simply hit share in the bottom corner of your screen and you’ll be good to go.
Paid Reels need to be set up within Ads Manager. There you’ll be prompted to choose an objective for your campaign (Conversions, Reach, Traffic, Video Views, Brand Awareness, or App Installs). Then you’ll create your ad as you normally would, including details for your campaign, budget and schedule, audience, and optimization and delivery. After this, you’ll be directed to Placement Options where you can select Manual Placements if you’d like to run a standalone Reels ad campaign, or Automatic Placements to automatically include Reels ads in your video campaigns. Finally, you’ll be prompted to select a specific Call to Action (using Reels ads allows you to do things such as including a button directly to a website or download landing page). At this point, your ad will be submitted for review and then once approved it will be viewable in your audience’s Reels area.
Why Should You Include Instagram Reels in Your Advertising Campaign?
The main reason that every marketer should be including Instagram Reels in their digital advertising campaigns is that video content has been, and is projected to , continue to rule the social scene.
TikTok is showing continued promise. According to Sprout Social, 69% of US teens are on TikTok, 90% of users log in every day, and TikTok users spend an average of 98 minutes a day on the app. TikTok is also known for strongly influencing the purchase habits of its consumers, between official influencers and happy customers who are quick to pick up their phones and share the products and services that they love.
Statistics like this are no doubt what prompted the short-form content craze happening across social platforms. And whether your audience skews particularly young or not, they are more and more likely to be consuming short-form video on a regular basis as well. But you don’t have to scramble to jump on TikTok right away, especially if you’ve already begun to invest time and resources in a comprehensive Instagram campaign strategy. This is where Instagram Reels come in. They allow you to reach your target audience where they are and can result in a significant increase in brand awareness and sales.
More Tips to Make the Best Ads out of Instagram Reels
As you go forward, here are some final tips to help you make the most of your foray into making Reels.
- Don’t just post a TikTok to your Instagram feed – Instagram has announced that posting content from another platform will cause content to be rated lower by the algorithm. That means that the watermark that your TikTok has can be detrimental to your Instagram campaign.
- Do crop your video for optimal viewing – The Instagram Reels cover size is 9:16, meaning that your video should match this ratio so that it doesn’t look awkward or out of place.
- Don’t over-produce your Reels – While you want your Reels to look professional, you also want them to blend in with the organic content in the user’s feeds. This means creating something that catches the eye, without looking like it belongs on another platform.
- Do keep it simple – Above all, Instagram is a visual platform. Stick to your brand colors and style. And deliver the message in a straightforward and quick way. Remember, your goal is to get your audience to stop scrolling and investigate your app.
Instagram Reels don’t have to be intimidating just because they’re new. With a little bit of planning and research, they can easily become a vital part of your app marketing strategy on Instagram. And once you master the art of making Reels, you’ll see the many ways that they pay off when it comes to reaching and engaging your target audience in a way that appeals to them greatly.
—by Bree Ogaldez
SEM Nexus is an award-winning startup app agency focused on building and marketing mobile apps for startups. We live, breathe and dream startups. They are our life, our passion. Let us help you make your dream into a reality.