Instagram recently launched its new video service, Instagram Reels in response to the IG community’s request to be able to make and watch short-form, edited videos. Reels launched in the US at seemingly the perfect time — just when TikTok was taking heat from President Donald Trump. He has threatened to ban the app over security concerns and its connection to China if it is not sold to an American buyer.
President Trump may not be a TikTok fan, but according to recent users of the Instagram clone, it will not be toppling TikTok any time soon.
According to a survey of influencers conducted by marketing agency Fanbytes, 75% of TikTok creators polled said they would not move their content to Instagram Reels, saying that Reels is essentially a clone of TikTok. Digital Trends spoke with half a dozen creators last week and received similar feedback. Creators said TikTok has preferable algorithms, as well as the coveted “For You” page, where content can grab more eyes, go viral, and grow audiences exponentially.
Despite significant similarities between the two apps (both let users edit together video clips alongside music and effects), Reels lacks a lot of TikTok’s prized editing features and is significantly shorter. Reels videos cap off at 15 seconds, while TikTok can be as long as a minute. Reels videos are also challenging to find on the Instagram app. Reels can be found in the Explore page, as well as on a user’s feed or Stories, making it difficult to know if the content you see on Instagram is Reels or just a regular video post. On TikTok, all content is the same type, and it uses artificial intelligence to recommend videos it thinks you will like.
Another problem Instagram’s Reels is facing is a lawsuit from REELZ Network in the US. REELZ is an independent cable and satellite entertainment network owned by Hubbard Broadcasting that is suing for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition, among other state law, claims. It’s seeking an injunction banning Instagram and Facebook from using Reels and damages in an amount to be determined.
Between REELZ lawsuit and TikTok users undying fanaticism, IG Reels like Lasso may have a short life span.