Instagram Launches Reels Replies, Gives Users Another Way To Engage With Short-Form Video
Users may now react to post comments using Reels, which is another method to integrate Reels into the Instagram process. It's been in testing for a while, but Instagram has formally announced it today.
As you can see in this example, you now have the option to create a video reply when responding to a comment on a post by tapping on the blue Reels button, which will then appear as a sticker that you can send to the commenter. It's yet another opportunity for Instagram to enhance engagement while also capitalizing on the short-form video boom. It's also, unsurprisingly, nearly identical to a function TikTok introduced in June of last year.
The sticker has been updated with new color possibilities, but the functionality remains the same. Which, given Instagram's recent history, is pretty standard – though you'll be able to reply to comments on ordinary posts and videos with Reels as well, which broadens the function a little. Seeing Instagram merely re-create what TikTok already does feels a little cheap, a little stale perhaps, as with all of Instagram's copycat capabilities.
On the other hand, it's working: Reels is now "the key engine of engagement growth" on the platform, with millions of users interacting with Reels video every day, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the company's most recent financial report. If Meta can keep a few more short video lovers on its applications instead of losing them to TikTok, that's a win, and it's likely enough to support its continuous imitation of TikTok's features. However, if Meta truly wants to reclaim younger users, it must introduce fresh, distinctive features and lead the way in terms of current trends. You're essentially following someone else when you replicate, and if you're not viewed as the leader in the latest shifts, you're unlikely to be the cool app and the location where younger people spend the majority of their time.
Meta is well aware of this. It's a significant aspect of Facebook's growth story: once Facebook surpassed MySpace as the primary social app of choice among mong users in 2005, MySpace attempted to duplicate Facebook's key functions in a last-ditch effort to halt the user movement. That didn't work, and Facebook gradually established itself as the place to go, propelling the company to greater heights.
TikTok is on a similar path, and while Meta's family of apps is far larger than MySpace ever was, it's not unthinkable that TikTok will overtake MySpace as the most popular social app soon. Meta has already stated that youthful users are a priority, and as part of that, it must re-establish itself as a leader rather than a follower of the latest trends.