The dominance of short-form videos (SFV) in the social media landscape has altered the way consumers interact with creators and brands online. Instagram Reels has emerged as a powerhouse, revolutionizing the way we engage with content. However, many users find it difficult to know how to effectively navigate, identify opportunities, and thrive on Reels.
Luckily, we caught up with the Instagram team at NZCreatorCon who shared invaluable insights into the world of Reels and how creators and brands can capitalise on their popularity. This information was primarily from their Shift To Short Report, which draws on learnings and data from a global study conducted by Factworks and local independent research agency Hoop Group, commissioned by Meta Australia to delve deeper into the local user experience.
The Shift to Short Report delves into the profound impact of SFV content on consumer behaviour, highlighting its ability to deliver information faster than before, that caters to individual needs and desires. Viewers now seek easily digestible, ‘snackable’ videos, as underscored by the Report, revealing that over 63% of Australians engage with SFV every week. This surge in demand urges both brands and creators to strategise and discover the power of concise content in order to harness its potential to captivate a broader audience and align with the evolving preferences of today’s consumers.
Here are three key takeaways from the Shift To Short Report that we thought were important to share:
1. Reels Inspire Action
Short-form Videos (SFV) serve as a catalyst for action, providing a unique platform for users to not only participate in trends but also observe, question, and share cultural norms, beliefs, and values, fostering a vibrant community spirit. These types of bite-sized videos are visually captivating and encourage behaviour beyond mere scrolling – they inspire users to actively engage, like, share, and comment.
With user-friendly features like music integration and creative effects, users find it seamless to craft compelling content that sparks enthusiasm, inviting viewers to join in on the fun.
The statistics speak volumes: one in five users want to see that Reels are participatory, and consumers actively engage with brands through this medium. It’s an opportunity to stimulate viewer action, encouraging them to amplify and share content within their communities. The impact is evident in the aftermath of watching Instagram Reels, with staggering percentages:
95% share content with family and friends
86% follow a business
74% make purchases
60% reach out to a business
60% tag products or businesses
The numbers underscore the potential of Reels in driving meaningful actions and creating a loyal community of engaged users.
2. Reels Help People Connect
Short-Form Video’s interactive nature encourages users to share personal experiences, talents, and stories in a concise and relatable manner. From heartfelt moments to humorous anecdotes, SFV provide a window into the lives of creators, making them more accessible and relatable. The “pulse of culture”, as coined by the Shift To Short Report, resonates strongly within SFV, evidenced by the fact that 6 out of 10 users express a profound feeling of connectedness to the world while engaging with Reels. SFV goes beyond mere entertainment; it serves as a cultural epicenter that provides users with the opportunity to join trends, question norms, and share values, thereby fostering active participation in a vibrant community.
Within the social media landscape, Instagram Reels emerges as a central player in facilitating connections between generations, cultures, friends, families, and communities. Through the comments section and the ability to tag friends, Reels become a communal experience, creating a space where users can share reactions, ideas, and encouragement, strengthening the bonds within the Instagram community. 93% of people surveyed in the report have shared Reels with friends or family, a testament to the fact that SFV thrives on Instagram to deepen the connections between people.
SFV serves as a trusted and respected source, recognized for its ability to connect communities with shared interests. As users explore, discover, and collaborate with like-minded individuals, Reels emerges as a feature that not only entertains but also cements itself as a loyal source for engagement.
3. Reels Get Brands Closer to Consumers
For brands navigating the digital landscape, SFV offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with their audience on a more intimate level, and provide information that a photo can’t necessarily portray. By leveraging the creative potential of SFV, brands can showcase their personality, share behind-the-scenes glimpses, and humanise their identity.
Reels provide a direct avenue for brands to break through the digital noise and form authentic connections with their consumers. Consumers still expect brands to tell their stories, however they respond best to the informal approach.
The Shift To Short Report also details some top advice given by consumers of Reels:
Entertain me – keep entertainment front of mind, being even a little bit funny helps
Be your authentic self – brands can take learnings from creators, showcasing real, organic moments around your work or your people can make you seem more human
Get involved in my interests – deepen the connection between yourself and your audience, join their communities
Take me behind the scenes – talk to me like your friend, and show me something new
Don’t overproduce – not everyone has the time to be churning out videos, and you don’t want to cause burnout among your viewership
Combine interest groups – consider strategic brand alignments
Put effort into the music – it can help with cut-through and engagement
Be trendy – but not too trendy, just be yourself
Give it a go!
The appetite for video is only growing, fed by a rich variety of content that meets the need for entertainment, fun, escapism, knowledge and connection. Reels is evolving into a dynamic tool that not only entertains but also inspires action, cultivates connections, and brings brands closer to their audience. As creators continue to innovate within the Reels space, the platform remains a vibrant canvas for storytelling, creativity, and meaningful engagement.