Instagram announced today that new video posts that are shorter than 15 minutes will now be shared as Reels. Videos posted prior to this change will remain as videos and won't become Reels. The company began testing this change a few weeks ago and is making it permanent in the coming weeks. The change is part of Instagram's efforts to offer a more immersive and full-screen experience, Instagram says. The company is also consolidating the video and Reels tabs on users' profiles into one in order to create a single home for all video on the app.
With this change, if your account is public and you post a video that ends up being turned into a Reel, anyone can discover your Reel and use your original audio to create their own Reel. If your account is set to private, your Reel will only be visible to your followers. Once you post a Reel, anyone can create a Remix with your Reel if your account is public. However, you can prevent people from remixing your Reels in your account settings.
The change is likely to upset some users, as it may pose some challenges. For example, it could be difficult to post a horizontal video if it gets uploaded into a vertical Reels format.
However, the move isn't exactly unexpected, especially since Instagram has been hinting toward its plans to simplify video on the app. Last year, when Instagram head Adam Mosseri laid out Instagram’s priorities for 2022, he said the company would double down on video and focus on Reels. He even hinted that Instagram would consolidate all of its video products around Reels and continue to grow the short-form product, which indicates that this change may have always been the plan.
In addition to this change, Instagram also announced that it's rolling out new ways for users to create and share Reels. The social media giant is introducing a new “dual” feature that lets users simultaneously record content and their reaction. You can record using your phone’s front and back cameras at the same time to share another perspective using the Dual feature in the Instagram camera.
The company is also expanding Reels Remix, its version of TikTok Duets. Instagram is launching expanded Remix layouts that lets users choose between a green screen, horizontal or vertical split-screen, or picture-in-picture reaction view to give users the option to add their own video commentary to existing reels. There's also a new “Remix for photos” option that will allow users to Remix public photos. In addition, rather than having your remix appear at the same time as the original reel, you can now add your clip after the original so it plays sequentially.
“We’re always working on ways to improve your Instagram experience,” the company said in a blog post. “We'll continue to build features that make it easier and more fun to create and share reels on Instagram.”
The changes come as Meta has been betting big on Reels. As part of its Q1 2022 earnings, the company revealed that Reels now make up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram. It’s not surprising that Instagram is looking to expand Reels even more by replacing video posts altogether, as it could now likely boast about people spending even more time viewing Reels.