One week after its launch, Instagram Reels is already facing uncertainty among the crowd it is attempting to win over, as some TikTok creators say they aren’t planning to make the jump to the platform anytime 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 has the ability to grab more eyes, go viral, and grow audiences exponentially.
Reels launched in the U.S. at seemingly the perfect time — just when TikTok was taking heat from President Donald Trump, who has threatened to ban the app over security concerns and its connection to China, if it is not sold to an American buyer.
Despite major 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’s can be as long as a minute. Reels videos are also difficult 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 are seeing on Instagram is Reels or just a normal video post. On TikTok, all content is the same type, and it uses artificial intelligence to recommend videos it thinks you will like.
One Twitter user pointed out that the majority of Reels videos shown on Instagram’s Explore page were from verified accounts, which is in contrast to TikTok, where any user, big or small, has the capability to be featured.
This is why IG Reels will NEVER become more popular than TikTok: pic.twitter.com/OJE4VaoUlj
— BigRobEnergy™ ⚡️ (@BigRobEnergy) August 11, 2020
This isn’t the first time Instagram’s parent company Facebook has attempted to compete with TikTok, which is the fastest-growing app in the world with over 2 billion downloads. Last month, Instagram shut down its first stand-alone TikTok clone, Lasso, after it failed to lure audiences. And what we know today as Instagram Stories was first popularized by Snapchat.
According to the survey published Wednesday and first reported by Dexerto, even though creators are hesitant to go Reels right away, some are still planning on incorporating the platform into their overall social strategy. Although creators can find fame on one app, they are encouraged to straddle all platforms in an effort to cultivate a stronger following.
Talent agents and digital management groups also believe that it is too soon to tell if Reels will be a hit among Gen Z in the same way TikTok is, but acknowledge that Instagram has a few benefits: It’s dependable, it’s been around for a long time, and the app isn’t being targeted by the U.S. government. Yet it is now obvious that younger generations, creators, and viewers are not going to give up TikTok unless it is pried out of their hands.