In the constantly evolving world of social media, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends. One that is here to stay, though? Video.
In 2024, short-form video content’s popularity will only grow – as will its influence on social media marketing strategies. Against this backdrop, which also contains the rise of influencers, the launch of brand new platforms, and ever-changing algorithms, you need to arm your business with the knowledge not only of what social media video creation is, and how to use it – but which platforms are best for your unique needs.
In other words, you need to be able to answer the question: Facebook Reels vs Instagram Reels; which is best? You also need to know the key differences between them in order to get the most out of each platform.
This article will take a deep-dive into Reels on two of the biggest social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Get ready for a crash course on both of the platforms, the pros and cons of each, and how you can utilize them to the best effect for your business.
Reels are typically full screen, vertical videos that have taken social media by storm over the past couple of years. First popular on Snapchat, then TikTok, now social media giant Meta – which owns both Facebook and Instagram – has turned its attention to video.
So let’s first define reels in the context of both Facebook and Instagram, before we unpack their key differences.
In technical terms, Facebook Reels are vertical videos up to 90 seconds long – recently extended from 60 seconds, to give creators more time to tell their stories – but can be as short as 0.3 seconds. Effects, music, or original audio can be included in Reels, and you’ll spot them in various places on the platform: next to Stories, in the menu, Messenger, and within Facebook groups.
Facebook describes its Reels as “a new way to create short, entertaining videos, get discovered by new audiences and be part of cultural moments on Facebook.”
As a small business owner or brand, you’ll probably agree this sounds brilliant, especially the ability to reach new audiences. Facebook is a gigantic platform with roughly double the number of users compared to Instagram, and despite only launching its version of Reels in 2021, they are now available in over 150 countries.
Better still, Facebook’s parent company Meta has recently introduced a new feature called “Grooves”. Grooves automatically aligns your video to the beat of the music you add to it. This enables you to create synchronized videos that look better and are more engaging for your social media following.
One more feature worth sharing is Meta’s introduction of a new ad format – called “Collection ads” – for Facebook Reels. Perfect for ambitious social media marketers, Collection ads allows advertisers to showcase several products in a single ad – giving your videos more commercial clout, and boosting your sales and revenue to boot.
Okay, so we’ve got our head around Facebook Reels, what about Instagram? Instagram Reels launched a year earlier than Facebook, in 2020, and were bought in as one of several measures the platform made to keep up with competition, and shift focus towards popular video content.
The overall idea is similar: vertical oriented videos that can be overlaid with text, special effects, and audio.
Like Facebook Reels, Instagram Reels has been steadily adding to its feature set. Recently, Instagram made it easier to find trending audio and hashtags for Reels – enabling you to create content that’s more likely to be seen and shared by a wider audience, and expanding your business’ reach.
For creators, Instagram has also redesigned the whole editing experience for Reels: making it a cinch to add and edit every aspect of your videos.
Facebook Reels are a brilliant way for businesses to reach new audiences, drive traffic to their site, and build a loyal following. The way it works is pretty simple. Either record a Reel live (no pressure!), or you can utilize existing photo and video content. You then write a description, select an audience, and voila – you are ready to publish!
It’s worth putting effort into your Reels to maximize views. Choose audio carefully, make use of hashtags and select the most relevant audience to increase engagement. Some of the most successful businesses know the power of quality content. They’ll make sure all their content is unique, interesting, relatable or thought-provoking for the audience.
What are some real world examples? Perhaps you’re a hair salon owner and a customer is particularly happy with their latest style: take a video! Or perhaps you’re an artist about to showcase your work in a new gallery: why not give your followers a behind-the-scenes glimpse?
For more top trends hitting the world of Facebook advertising, take a look at our run-down of the five Facebook ad trends to watch out for this year.
Using Facebook Reels: Arla Foods
Arla Foods is a Denmark-based producer of dairy foods – the largest of its kind in Scandinavia.
Arla partnered with Meta to differentiate its brand from its rivals’, and – through a focus on product quality – stay relevant in an uber-competitive space.
Arla’s ads were created for Facebook Reels, but also ran on YouTube, Instagram, and TV, with the concept of showcasing the message “Bye bye lactose” in a series of eye-catching videos.
The results? Arla’s Facebook Reels marketing campaign indicated that Facebook Reels delivered 2.5 times higher reach, per euro invested, than TV ads; and that, compared to YouTube, ads on Meta apps had four times higher message association. What’s more, Arla’s Meta-based ads had a 72% lower cost per point of message association lift – which, to cut through the marketing lingo, means they were an extremely cost-effective way for Arla to advertize.
To read more about Facebook Reels and Arla Foods’ collaboration, check out the full case study.
When it comes to Instagram Reels, you’ll find you can also use either live or pre-recorded video and photos. The range of editing and AI effects is a little more sophisticated on Instagram, and you’re able to tag or collaborate with other accounts to increase reach and engagement.
A top tip is to always push Reels onto your main feed, so your current audience can engage with them as well as new audiences within the Reels platform. Also, make sure you add title images to your Reels. This helps audiences to understand what to expect from your content.
Some great ideas for boosting your business on Instagram are to use the poll or vote features to drive engagement, ask a question to provoke discussion in the comments, or even run a competition. Because Instagram Reels are not public by default, competitions where you ask users to “tag a friend for a chance to win” can be super successful.
Using Instagram Reels: TUI UK & Ireland
TUI – a travel and tourism company servicing the Irish and UK market – added Reels to its Instagram strategy and saw swift success.
Its goal? To raise awareness about its summer holiday promotions in the UK.
To achieve this, TUI bolstered its usual social media marketing campaigns with video- and image-based ads in its Feed and Stories placements on Instagram (and Facebook). The relatable, engaging ads – which featured people on vacation, with a strong call to action (CTA) – were a hit with TUI’s target audience.
The results? For TUI, Instagram delivered:
- 3.7-point lift in campaign awareness
- 10% lower cost per reach
- 5.3-point lift in campaign ad recall
To learn more about TUI’s success with Instagram Reels, explore the full case study.
For more advice and tips on how to create an Instagram content calendar, check out our guide!
| As the world’s most popular social media platform, Facebook gives you the biggest potential audience across all age groups
| Video quality is sometimes regarded as being lower than Instagram
|Reels are public by default, making them more likely to be discovered by new users
|Facebook is perhaps not so well known for its Reels as Instagram.
|You can cross post from Instagram to Facebook
|Videos are not automatically public, meaning they can be less likely to be seen
|Instagram is well known for lifestyle content, such as fitness, food, and fashion trends, so may be particularly suitable for these types of businesses
|Tag users to collaborate with other brands, allowing access to new audiences
|Instagram tends to enjoy greater video quality and a wider range of editing features
|Can be more suitable for reaching a younger audience, with two thirds of its audience aged 35 or younger
There are similarities as well as differences when it comes to Instagram vs. Facebook Reels. It makes sense that there’d be similarities: they are after all owned by the same parent organization, Meta, and the apps are interlinked.
The general idea of Reels on both of the platforms is the same. Create short, engaging video content and use it to reach new audiences and drive engagement with your existing followings. If your content is really successful, you’ll even be able to monetize it. Both platforms pay a bonus for content that garners over 1,000 views in a 30-day period.
But, there are a few key differences for you to be mindful of. The biggest difference is the audience. Facebook is the largest social media platform on the planet, and it attracts audiences from all age groups. For this reason Facebook may be more suitable if your business requires mass reach. Instagram’s audience skews younger and is particularly known for their interest in lifestyle and culture. Food, fashion, or fitness businesses may benefit from using Instagram and tapping into these interests.
Other differences are technicalities. You’ll find that Facebook Reels from brands and creators are posted as public by default, and could appear in a user’s feed even if they don’t follow you. Instagram Reels can also be cross posted onto Facebook, although not the other way round.
So, how do you actually choose which platform is right for you? In our experience, brands looking to target an older or more global audience may benefit more from using Facebook. On the flip side, if you’re chasing a younger or more specific audience, Instagram may be more suitable.
But, these are not hard and fast rules. Remember that the content you’re creating for either platform can be used across both. Our biggest piece of advice would be to sync up your channels on Instagram and Facebook, and experiment with both platforms
| Facebook Reels
| Instagram Reels
| Video Length
| Up to 90 seconds
| Up to 90 seconds
| Editing Tools
| Basic editing tools, effects, and filters
| Advanced editing tools, effects, and filters
| Music Options
| Extensive music library, including licensed tracks
| Diverse music library, popular and trending tracks
| Audience Reach
| Broader reach due to Facebook's extensive user base
| Primarily focused on Instagram's user community
| Targeting Capabilities
| Advanced targeting options through Facebook Ads
| Limited targeting options within the Instagram app
| Content Types
| Varied content types, including short-form videos, live streams, and more
| Primarily short-form videos with a focus on trends and challenges
| Target Audiences
| Diverse user demographics across age groups and interests
| Skewed towards a younger demographic, especially among millennials and Gen Z
Whether you’re planning to implement Facebook Reels, Instagram Reels, or both into your business’s social media marketing strategy, you’ll need to be able to craft high-quality, attention-grabbing videos that resonate with your target audience.
Here’s a quick, step-by-step guide to explain how.
1. Understand Your Audience and Goals
Before you start creating Reels, take the time to understand your target audience and your content’s goals. Knowing who you’re trying to reach – and what message you want to convey – will guide the entire video creation process.
2. Craft a Compelling Story
Storytelling is key to engaging your audience – so start by planning your Reel with a clear narrative or theme. Use a beginning, middle, and end structure to keep viewers interested and invested in your content, with a strong CTA to cap it off.
3. Optimize Video Quality
Ensure your Reels are visually appealing by optimizing video quality. Use good lighting, a stable camera, and shoot in high resolution. Crisp, clear visuals will make your content look more professional and render easier on the eye.
4. Incorporate Trending Sounds and Music
Music sets the tone for your Reels – and, with Meta’s new “Grooves” feature for Facebook Reels, there’s less excuse than ever to kit your videos out with the perfect soundtrack. To do this, be sure to stay updated on trending sounds and music within your niche or industry; choose tracks with the ability to complement your content, and that will enhance the overall viewing experience for your audience.
5. Experiment with Editing Techniques
Experiment with various editing techniques to make your Reels visually dynamic. Use jump cuts, transitions, and overlays to add flair to your video; keeping edits tight and snappy to maintain viewer interest.
6. Leverage Text and Captions
Incorporate text and captions to convey important information or enhance storytelling. Use bold, readable fonts with contrasting colors to ensure your text is easily visible on the screen.
7. Engage with Trends and Challenges
Participate in popular trends and challenges to boost the discoverability of your Reels. Capitalize on trending hashtags to create content that aligns with what conversations on social media are already saying – and, if you do it right, what they’re going to be saying next!
8. Utilize Instagram and Facebook Features
Take advantage of unique features on Instagram and Facebook, such as stickers, filters, and interactive elements. (We’ve listed these out above!) These can add a creative touch to your Reels and encourage engagement from your audience.
9. Cross-Promote on Both Platforms
Maximize the reach of your Reels by cross-promoting them on both Facebook and Instagram. Share your Reels as posts and stories, leveraging the strengths of each platform to reach a broader audience.
10. Encourage Audience Interaction
Encourage audience interaction by asking questions, using polls, or incorporating CTAs in your Reels. Engaging with your audience builds a sense of community and increases the likelihood of your content being found, watched, and shared.
Thank you for reading! We hope you’ve found this article useful in illuminating the world of Facebook Reels vs Instagram Reels. Instagram Reels may be a more established and sophisticated way to create content, but Facebook Reels cannot be underestimated in their power to reach huge audiences.
Whatever your business type, remember that video content is king, and Reels are the most surefire way to grow your business on social media. Ultimately, we’d recommend experimenting with both Instagram and Facebook Reels. By posting on both, you’re doubling your chances of going viral!