The launch of Instagram Reels, a video remix feature bearing a close resemblance to TikTok, poses a serious threat to the Chinese social media brand, according to experts.

Launched yesterday for iOS and Android in Brazil under the name Cenas, with a rollout in the rest of the world set to follow soon, Instagram Reels is a somewhat shameless clone of TikTok.

As with the originator, it allows users to create 15-second video clips and set them to music, before sharing them as Stories. Users can pull music from a vast music catalogue, or from the audio of other videos to create remixes.

There will also be a new Top Reels section in Instagram’s Explore tab, enabling popular Reels to go viral.

Could Instagram Reels topple TikTok?

The rollout is the second attempt by Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, to replicate the TikTok format, with the standalone Lasso failing to draw users.

By integrating Reels into Instagram, which is already hugely popular among younger users, Facebook is giving this version a much greater chance of success.

“Given TikTok’s appeal with the younger demographic, Instagram Reels could pose a much more real threat to the platform’s ambitions when it comes to advertising revenue than Lasso ever could,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO at Socialbakers.

Notably, however, Reels also has a far better path to profitability that TikTok, which could ultimately ensure its long-term dominance.

“Instagram has a much better chance of successfully monetising the TikTok-esque format of short video clips set to music than TikTok does itself,” said Ben-Itzhak.

“Instagram has an established audience of over a billion monthly active users so by offering another highly engaging content format to compete with TikTok, Instagram is looking to further secure its place as the most engaging platform for brands.”


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