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Instagram’s New Home Feed of Full-Screen Reels

Brittany Garlin

May 18, 2022

Instagram’s New Home Feed of Full-Screen Reels

Hot off the press, Instagram’s new home Feed of full-screen Reels, Stories, and Posts is live!

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, revealed today why they’re making the change:

“We’re moving Instagram to a place where video is a bigger part of the home experience, where the content is more immersive — it takes up more of the screen — where a larger part of Feed are recommendations.”

Instagram's new home Feed | Adam Mosseri

This update represents a major UI change, with a strong focus on more suggested Reels content on Instagram’s new home Feed.

So, what does this mean for your content strategy? Marketers should plan to create more vertical videos (Tik-Tok-like full-screen) so that your content will appear as a suggested Reel to your target audience. 

What Instagram’s New Home Feed Means for Brands and Agencies

If you haven’t added Reels to your current Instagram strategy (or have been avoiding being behind the camera), it will be essential for your content to reach the right audiences and scale engagement on the platform.

Numerous studies suggest that while TikTok may be better for creators and influencers, Instagram Reels might be better for brands. 

Markerly, an influencer marketing agency, conducted a study that found that celebrities, creators, and influencers receive 2x more likes and overall engagement on TikTok compared to Reels.

Instagram's New Home Feed | Reels are better for brands than TikTok | Markerly Study

They analyzed posts from 80 influencers and 10 brands on both Instagram and TikTok. Additionally, their study found that when brands (such as the NBA) post the same vertical video on TikTok and Instagram, the video will receive more likes on Reels (450,000) than on TikTok (63,000).

Instagram accounts that have started to share Reels (like Vista Social’s own Instagram account) have seen an increase in reach and overall engagement.

Instagram Reels Statistics for Brands and Agencies

Instagram Reels Tips from Instagram HQ

Modern marketers know that the best way to see massive success on social media is all about evolving with new platform updates.

Thankfully, Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli, Instagram’s Creator Marketing Manager, shared 11 tips for creating Reels for brands and agencies. 

7 Reels Tips from Instagram HQ for Brands and Agencies:

  1. Shoot vertical content: 9:16 makes sure your Reels are immersive on mobile.
  2. No watermarks: Don’t post Reels that are visibly recycled from other apps.
  3. Make a cover photo: If you have access to a Canva, Adobe Photoshop, or an Adobe Illustrator account, then you can create your cover photo there. But, they don’t need a lot of design work! You could even use Instagram Stories to add text, save it to your camera roll, and then upload it to Reels. 
  4. Let go of your fears: Not every one of your Reels is going to take off, don’t be too hard on yourself. Nobody can predict which type of content is going to go viral. Make sure you have fun with it, and your audience will too.
  5. Relate to your audience: Create content that resonates with your target audience. If the people who watch your Reel to think “that’s so me”, then you’re on the right track.
  6. Engage in the conversation: If Instagram has created a new update, then share this news with your audience or provide strategies. Whatever is trending in your niche is what your target audience wants to hear about.
  7. Share: Share. Share. Share. Once your Reel has been posted, share it your Stories. You can also take the link to your Reel and share it on your other social media channels.

Instagram’s New Algorithm for Original Content

If you haven’t heard, on April 20, 2022, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri tweeted an announcement that Instagram is now ranking based on originality:

Instagram's new algorithm on original content | Adam Mosseri

As he puts it, “If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you’re re-sharing something you found from someone else. We’re going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to re-posted content.”

This decision seems to be designed to decrease the number of accounts that reshare others’ content. Personally, I don’t think this decision makes much sense. Think about accounts such as @whenshappyhr, their entire Feed reshares content that is aligned with corporate humor. Some of those Reels are created by “one-hit wonder” accounts that had one lucky Reel go viral.

But, like most Instagram algorithm updates, I’m sure it will change at some point. But, for now, marketers must adapt to these changes to ensure their content doesn’t get penalized and impact their engagement rates.

Instagram’s New Original Content Algorithm Ranking Signals:

  • Content edited outside of Instagram and then uploaded to the app, won’t be penalized under this change. As per Mosseri: “The idea is if you made it, it’s original. It’s okay if you edited it outside of Instagram and then bring it in via the gallery.” If you didn’t know Instagram had made an announcement that content downloaded from other apps (like TikTok) and reshared with visible watermarks would be downranked on Instagram’s new home Feed.
  • Posting history is a factor. Mosseri notes that “if the account is an aggregator, we’ll more likely be able to detect that it’s not original.” So if you’re re-posting a lot of stuff from other accounts, you’ll likely see a reach decline.
  • Instagram’s original content ranking is a work in progress. Mosseri admits that Instagram can’t know for sure if the content is original or not. “We build classifiers to predict how *likely* something is to be original, but that’s not knowing. We look at things like who’s in the video, and if we’ve seen the video before.”

4 Tips for Resharing Instagram Reels:

  1. Ask the account for permission first before posting. Here is a template to try: “Hey this video is awesome! Could we share it across our social channels? You will be tagged and credited in the caption and video! Let me know, thanks. 😊”
  2. Download the Instagram Reel instead of Resharing it through an app. There are a number of different ways to download a Reel, however, our team has noticed that apps are starting to be unable to do this. We’ve found success with igram.io, but you can also easily search ‘Instagram Reel Downloader’ on Google.
  3. Change the Cover Photo. Create your own cover photo with on-brand colors. Remember, that the algorithm will penalize watermarks and logos, so a workaround is to make the cover photo background your brand color. 
  4. Edit the Reel in a Third-Party Site. This step isn’t always required, but if you are finding the Reels you are resharing aren’t getting that great of engagement, then try this. Here are some apps to use: Canva, InShot, Splice, Beatleap, or Videoleap.

At the end of the day, you can still reshare a Reel, but it comes down to finding one that is aligned with your branding and target audience. Just because you found it funny or relatable doesn’t mean your audience will. 

When sourcing for an Instagram Reel to repost, type into the Instagram search a hashtag or keyword related to your industry. For example, if you’re a business coach for content creators simply type in “content creators”. The first three squares in the search grid preview will be Reels, from there scroll through until you find one that’s a good fit.

Instagram's new home Feed | Resharing Reels | Original Content Algorithm

Marketers will also want to look at engagement metrics on Reels. Don’t repost a Reel that has 30-50 views. Go after Reels that have 5K+ views because even if there’s some drop-off, you most likely will see thousands of views come in. Especially, with Instagram’s new home Feed prioritizing full-screen vertical videos.

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