With the rise of platforms like TikTok, Facebook caught onto the short video clip trend when it introduced Instagram Reels back in August of 2020.

At All Visual Media we’ve been using Instagram’s new Reels ads in some of our campaigns, and we’ve had great success so far! So we thought we’d explain the ins and outs of the new advertising format!


With the rise of platforms like TikTok, Facebook caught onto the short video clip trend when it introduced Instagram Reels back in August of 2020.

For those who don’t know, Reels are similar to TikTok clips in that they’re short-form videos that can be layered with audio, text, and even filters, and there are plenty of ways to use Reels for businesses.

Then in April this year, Facebook began testing Reels for advertising in select countries (including the US, UK, Canada, India, Brazil, Germany, Australia and France as of May).

 In June, they officially released Reels ads to all advertisers across all countries.

Facebook said at the time of release: “After testing in select countries, today we’re launching Reels ads to the world. Reels is the best place on Instagram to reach people who don’t follow you and a growing global stage where brands and creators can be discovered by anyone. These ads will help businesses reach greater audiences, allowing people to discover inspiring new content from brands and creators.”

This worldwide release was  great news for international accounts that previously missed out on this feature. Additionally, smaller, local accounts can now also reap the benefits, since this feature no longer has any account level minimum requirements for use.


Reels ads

Instagram Reels are served differently by Facebook’s advertising algorithms, granting   a nice opportunity for businesses both small and large to increase visibility by reaching a top-of-funnel audience.

The ads are full-screen and immersive, similar to ads in Stories. As with organic Reels content, ads can be up to 30 seconds and people can comment, like, view, save, share and skip them.

And also like Instagram Stories ads, Instagram Reels ads show up between regular, non-sponsored Reels that users are viewing. Important to note is that Instagram Reels ads will loop  and like all ads, Reels ads show up on Instagram marked as sponsored.

The reels ads appear in most places users view Reels content, including on the Reels tab, Reels in Stories, Reels in Explore and Reels in your Instagram Feed. 

However, in order to be served a Reels ad, the user first needs to be in the immersive, full-screen Reels viewer. Because Instagram Reels ads are displayed in the same parts of the app where users discover organic Reels content. This is a great opportunity for brands to step up their game, get creative and seamlessly capture their audiences’ attention when they’re scrolling through similar content.

 Why Reels ads?

According to Facebook, 90% of people follow a business on Instagram, and people are already embracing Reels to discover new creators and businesses. This discovery mind-set then, makes Reels a natural place for businesses to express themselves creatively and find deeper connections with the audiences that matter to them.

 Justin Osofsky, Instagram Chief Operating Officer says, “We see Reels as a great way for people to discover new content on Instagram, and so ads are a natural fit. Brands of all sizes can take advantage of this new creative format in an environment where people are already being entertained.”

Early adopters of the new format have included brands like Uber, BMW, Nestlé (Nespresso),Netflix and  Louis Vuitton.

Facebook might   remain focused on promoting Reels usage, as it looks to stop its users from migrating across to TikTok’s highly attuned video feed, and with that ongoing & focused push, that could make Reels a good ad option for businesses.

  Individual results will vary in the early days, and the format will also likely evolve somewhat over time. Like we said earlier on, we’ve been seeing success thus far, so there’s undoubtedly a rich opportunity with Reels ads, but seeing the true value of the format as a whole will take some time, and testing, to be determined. 



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