Instagram Reels, the blatant TikTok clone from Facebook, is set to receive a slew of upgrades, including one that allows users to shoot 30 second long videos and give them more tools for easier editing. This is probably being done because the feature has failed to gain traction in markets where TikTok is still in play, including the U.S. The company hopes that this will allow Reels to chip away at TikTok’s user base, which is still up for grabs due to the uncertainty of the platform’s future in US.
First, longer videos. Reels introduced 15 second videos to Instagram, which is TikTok’s standard offering. However, the Chinese platform also allows its users to short longer, 1 minute long videos, which is a feature that is seldom used. The absence of it on Reels restricted users, which in turn restricted Reels from becoming super popular. However, even this new feature allows 30 seconds videos at max, which might be because Instagram wants to users to create ‘Reels-specific’ content and not just copy paste their TikTok videos on Reels.
The company will also allow users to better edit their videos, by adding tools to trim and delete clips. However, the process is still mostly manual, which is where TikTok excels at. The platform automatically suggests songs that synchronize with your video clips, and gives a much more polished result than its competitor.
Reels is also extending its timer to 10 seconds, which is actually quite nice if you have trouble getting in frame in time.
Facebook hopes that the new updates might help the feature gain more traction than before, even though I doubt it will. Nonetheless, with the future of TikTok hanging by a thread as China refuses to approve the TikTok-Oracle-Walmart deal, Reels might just have a shot at making it. However, to do that, it has to see major refinements, as the current version fails to impress. That being said, if TikTok gets banned in the U.S. (which is not out of the realm of possibility), Reels might be able to repeat its success in India and become the new TikTok itself.