Why has the Reels and TikTok video format met such a huge success?

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It’s an undeniable truth : TikTok has burst into the social media scene and is here to stay, according to influencer marketing previsions for 2021. But what exactly are the reasons fur such a resounding success?

Indeed, there’s something unique about this format that first Instagram with its Reels and now Snapchat with its Spotlight have decided to copy on their own platforms. Both Instagram and Snapchat now share one major competitor: TikTok, the original creator of the much loved video format that’s causing an uproar on social media.

Even though the originality of the idea must undeniably be attributed to TikTok, it’s proven that content creators have managed to reach a bigger audience and in many cases prefer Instagram’s version, Reels. It’s the case of the influencer @monsieur.laffaille, present both on TikTok and Instagram. He carried out an experiment when Reels was launched, for which he posted his most seen TikTok (3M views) on Reels, where it received an astounding 12M views.

But, what exactly is it that makes this video format so attractive for viewers and content creators alike

As always, simplicity is key

This format isn’t even close to being the first video format to exist on social media. Indeed, there’s YouTube, the video platform of reference. On Instagram, you can post videos on the stories, on IGTV, on live videos, and nowadays even directly on your feed for up to a minute. Same thing goes for Twitter and Facebook. 

The key is that this format makes video content simple and easy. Video has traditionally been a more complex and elaborate form of content creation. For IGTV as well as for YouTube, the content had to be first filmed outside the platform, edited and finally loaded onto the platform. 

In stark contrast, the video format proposed by TikTok and adopted by all the other media provides a much simpler way of creating and consuming video content. Instagram users, for instance, don’t want to spend more than one full minute consuming the same content, and are much more drawn towards Reels, which are quicker and direct. Indeed, for content creators, it is also much more attractive, as it allows them to exploit their creativity in a short period of time and can be created directly within the platform, which allows them to save hours of effort. 

This new format allows, in short, to better organise content. Creators can now save deeper, longer content for YouTube and IGTV and propose the fun, original content in a shorter and more attractive format

How is this interesting for a brand?

Thanks to its simplicity and minimal edition, this new format is perceived by consumers as more authentic and transparent. Collaborations via this format are seen more benevolently by consumers, and they always seem more truthful somehow.

Moreover, the products placed on Reels or TikTok will touch much larger audiences. Indeed, Instagram has gone as far as to create a Reels section within the app, dedicated exclusively to Reels content, which means all the content created in this format is favored and prioritised by the Instagram algorithm. It’s the ideal moment for a brand to launch its influence strategy by focusing on Reels content to quickly gain notoriety.

 

A distraction-free zone

According to an article published by The Guardian,  children and teens have nowadays an attention span of just 28 seconds, and the number that doesn’t significantly improve for young adults. This means that after 28 seconds they have the urge to shift the focus of their attention or they become agitated and nervous. 

The phenomenon of un concentration has become widely spread, and we’re all affected by it. It becomes evident when, for instance, we can’t stop checking Instagram while watching a film. In light of this, it’s becoming more and more challenging to attract consumer’s attention, be it as a brand or as a content creator.

That’s why the Reels/TikTok format has met such a widespread success. It effectively targets the two most problematic issues when it comes to the loss of interest in consumers. Firstly, the duration of the video remains under a minute. Secondly, the videos are presented in a full-screen format. Not even the caption is visible unless you deliberately click on it! By viewing the content in this way, viewers aren’t distracted by all the other posts battling for their attention, as it can often happen on the explore tab on Instagram. 

 

Social media are always on the hunt of new formats and functionalities that they can propose to their users. This keeps their interest and offers new possibilities to content creators. Offering different formats is very important, because where one influencer may fail (maybe you’re not gifted at creating Reels) another may excel. It amplifies the kinds of content creators that can thrive on the app. Indeed, after the creation of TikTok and Reels, many new macro influencers have appeared on the scene. They’re gifted for this concrete format that wasn’t available to them before. 

For brands, it’s the time to be attentive and profit from the new possibilities. As of now, Instagram and Snapchat are prioritising this kind of content. However, one mustn't make the mistake of thinking it will be just a temporary fad. The influencer marketing predictions for the coming years state that TikTok and of course Reels will be key elements to any influencer campaign. 

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