New Text-to-Speech and Voice Effect Options Are Now Available in Instagram Reels
Instagram has added a new Text to Speech option in Reels video, which gives an artificial voice to read any text overlays you add to your footage, as well as additional voice changer choices to adjust your vocal tones.
To begin with, the new text-to-speech feature will give Reels makers two voice options to pick from, with the auto voice reading out any text that you've placed to your clip, as shown in the example screens below.
This has already gained a lot of traction on TikTok. Every other clip these days appears to have that same, bizarrely cheery female voice narrating a major piece of the action, to the point where it's a little annoying to hear. After a legal struggle with the original voice actor for the feature, TikTok has added alternative voice options, which provides some solace – but it's a popular feature, so it makes sense for Instagram to include it as well.
Instagram's auto voices are a little more generic, which may be a good thing, but the male voice isn't quite as manly as TikTok's variety. That is if it matters at all. Once you've added text to your clip, tap on the text bubble at the bottom of the composer screen, then pick 'Text-to-speech' from the three dots menu (which is quite small, so good luck if you have larger fingers). Instagram has also included a new feature called 'Voice Effects,' which gives you another way to add a creative aspect to your Reels footage.
As you can see above, you can now alter your recorded voice to sound like you've been sucking on helium, a robot, or a gigantic, among other things, which may be a fun way to mix up your footage. Of course, TikTok has done the same, so Instagram is still trying to keep up with TikTok, with none of the new Reels features being particularly unique, but rather putting the choice in line with TikTok's offers.
As previously stated, this is probably not the most effective strategy for Instagram to reclaim the youth market, which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated is a top priority for the firm. After research revealed that Meta is losing ground among younger audiences, Zuckerberg stated that the company would focus more on gaining these key users – but the problem is that TikTok has surpassed Meta in many ways, and as a result, playing catch-up keeps Meta on the back foot, even if it does need to maintain parity to keep up with the competition.
If Instagram is constantly duplicating, it will always be a step behind, which means it will never be the trendsetter and the cool place to engage younger audiences. Users are aware that it is essentially a duplicate of TikTok, which only strengthens TikTok's position. If Meta is serious about winning over these factions, he must first defeat them. It'll have to come up with more fresh, innovative concepts for its tools, which Meta hasn't been particularly good at in the past decade.
Sure, Meta has done it before, but what fresh concepts have Facebook or Instagram introduced that have truly taken off and become a major trend in their own right?
I can't think of any – Snapchat, TikTok, Houseparty, and others have all influenced Instagram's advancements. IGTV came the closest to being an original idea, but it didn't pan out, and it was heavily influenced by YouTube. Maybe saved stories on user profiles? If Meta wants to win, it must reclaim the lead, which will necessitate the development of new, unique features that will entice users to return to the app.
Is Meta up to the task? Is it capable of coming up with novel concepts that will gain traction?
Recent history suggests that it is unlikely, but it has the capability and promise. However, this type of replication is just adhering to the latest trends, which is insufficient at this point.