instagram reels cover article
Instagram Analytics How-To Guides

Instagram Reels Explained: An Ultimate Reels Guide For Powerful Social Strategy

Discover Instagram Reels and learn how to integrate them into your marketing strategy: benefits, ideas, tips and tricks.

Kseniia Volodina
Kseniia Volodina
Table of Contents

Are you thinking of adding Instagram Reels to your social media strategy? You’re right to do so.

Short videos remain one of the hottest trends on social media in 2024, and Instagram Reels are among the most engaging pieces of content on Instagram. Despite taking a bit of a hit in performance, Reels are still a game-changer for brands looking for more reach and discoverability.

So today, I’ll explain everything you need to know about Instagram Reels features and share my Instagram Reels tips and tricks to help you make the most out of them in your social media strategy.

Instagram Reels guide

  1. What are Instagram Reels?
  2. Instagram Reels Size, Dimensions & Length
  3. How to make an Instagram Reel
  4. How many Reels should brands post a week?
  5. How to access Instagram Reel insights & analytics?
  6. How to find Instagram Reels Trends in 2024?
  7. FAQs about Instagram Reels

1. What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is a feature that allows users to create, edit, and share short, engaging videos using various templates, audio, stickers, and other tools out of Instagram’s broad editing toolkit.

Instagram Reels are dynamic, engaging, and highly shareable: they make up more than half of content pieces reshared in messages. Reels work great for building up brand awareness and improving the reach your content gets.

instagram reels analytics using native app

Reels cater to your content pillars regardless of the industry: whether you work with B2C retail or B2B software, there’s always a creative way to weave Reels into your content strategy and grab a piece of that engagement pie.

And the best part is — they’re fun to do and fun to watch.

So, if you don’t have Instagram Reels in your social media strategy, it’s high time you start leveraging them.

2. Instagram Reels size, dimensions & length

Now, with the Instagram Reels format in mind, let’s get down to specifications.

  • IG Reels dimensions and size

The best ratio for IG Reels is vertical 9:16, with the ideal dimensions of 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels tall.

instagram reels length

You can also use anything between 1.91:1 and 9:16, but that would cause empty canvas space around your video. I’d recommend aiming at 9:16 when possible.

As for the Instagram Reels cover, Instagram recommends the Reels photo size 420px by 654px (or 1:1.55 ratio). However, I usually use the same 9:16 (1080 x 1920) picture to ensure it looks good in the feed and the Reels tab.

  • Instagram Reels length

The IG Reels max length is 90 seconds. However, there’s no universal ideal length of Instagram Reels recommended for brands and creators. Some stay on the short video side, and some try to leverage longer pieces of content.

Experiment with different lengths and watch your performance metrics, such as average watch time. If your audience retention drops at 7-10 seconds, this might be your ideal length.

Tip: no matter how long your video is, ensure you have a powerful hook in the first 3 seconds of your Reel.

3. How to make an Instagram Reel

You can handle Instagram Reels in two ways: record and edit it using the native Instagram app or upload a ready-made one you created in another video editor.  

how to create instagram reels

Here’s how to create the Reels on Instagram:

  • Open Instagram, tap the "+" icon and select 'Reel' from the menu.
  • In the Reels interface, record your new footage or upload the video from the gallery. When uploading pre-recorded content, remember: the preferred size for Instagram reels is 9:16 vertical ratio.
  • Press and hold the record button or use the timer option to record new content.
  • After recording or uploading your content, use Instagram's editing tools: trim video, add more clips, record a voiceover, add music, throw in captions, and more.
  • Add text, stickers, or clips if you’d like to personalize your Reel more.
  • Choose a cover for your Reel. It can be a frame from the video you choose manually or a pre-made picture you can upload from your media library.
  • Write an eye-catching caption. The length of Reels captions is up to 2200 characters, but Instagram will cut it to 125, adding a “...more” after it.
  • Customize your publishing settings. You can add your Reels to feed or keep them in the Reels tab only, hide like count, allow or restrict downloading, commenting, and using Reel as a template, and more.
  • Publish it and get those likes!
instagram reels publishing guide

Instagram Reels best practices: a couple of action tips

  • Experiment with formats. Since there’s no secret success sauce to Instagram Reels, find what works best for you. Longer or shorter captions, looping videos, trending templates, original montage — test, test, and test again.
  • Add topics. Before publishing your Instagram Reels, consult the “Add topics” option. These broad categories help the algorithm sort your content better and put it in front of relevant audiences.
  • Use subtitles. Social media platforms are now picking up SEO practices. Using captions in your videos helps you nail two things at once: be more discoverable and more accessible.
  • Use trending video templates & sounds. Even though it’s always about content, using trending sounds or templates can help you boost your reach and ride the trend.
  • Stay authentic. Trends are cool but remember to marry them with your brand identity. Authentic content resonates more deeply, encouraging engagement and fostering a genuine connection with your audience.
instagram reels engagement rate data

4. How many Reels should brands post a week?

As always in social media, there’s no definitive answer. The latest short-form video study shows that, on average, brands post about 9 Reels per month or about 2-3 Reels a week, provided they have resources for that much content delivered consistently.

instagram reels posting frequency trends

But this is just a reference number, really. The optimal number of Reels for a brand varies based on your strategy, audience engagement, and capacity to create high-quality content. The key is to stay relevant and engage with your audience without overwhelming them with content.

Monitor your Instagram Reels engagement metrics and adjust the posting frequency based on what works best for your audience.

5. How to access Instagram Reel insights & analytics?

Tracking your Instagram Reels performance metrics is crucial for your social media strategy. Keeping a close eye on your numbers is the most straightforward way to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.

The insights you get from the analytics help you stay on track and tweak your content if something’s falling behind.

Here’s how you can access that valuable data:

  • Reel-level insights

The first look at your Instagram Reels analytics is below the Reel. Navigate to the Reel you’d like to analyze and press “View Insights” to see how it performs.

Instagram Reels analytics

This layer of analytics provides data such as:

  • Plays, including replays and initial plays
  • The number of unique accounts that your Reel reached
  • The total count of likes, comments, shares, and saves your Reel received
  • The total engagement the Reel received, which includes likes, comments, saves, and shares combined.
Instagram reels data

One of the most valuable stats here is the average watch time. This metric shows how long your followers are watching your video. Use this data to adjust the length of the Reels you post and recompose your content within the video.

  • Instagram analytics native app by accessing the Insights Tab

Another way to access Instagram Reels analytics is the general Insights tab within Instagram. Go to your account, press the hamburger menu on the top right corner, and choose “Insights.”

How to access Instagram Reels analytics

Here, you can find the performance metrics for all your content across the account for a period of up to 90 days.

Navigate to the “Content You Shared” part and choose “Reels.” You’ll get the list of all the Reels you’ve shared in the designated period. From there, you can filter your Instagram Reels by reach and engagement and access performance data for each Reel separately.

What Instagram analytics data you can get
  • Socialinsider’s Instagram analytics tool

But if you need a more in-depth look into your Instagram Reels analytics, check out Socialinsider’s Instagram analytics tool.

You can use Socialinsider for any Business account. To access your Reels, select the Instagram account, then choose ‘Posts” from the second sidebar on the left and filter your content by type.

Socialinsider's Instagram analytics tool
Here's how Socialinsider's dashboard analytics looks like

Socialinsider’s tool gives you all the required Instagram metrics, such as:

  • Likes, comments, shares, saves, reach and impressions (both paid and organic), and engagement rate for each Reel
  • Engagement evolution to see how the performance of your Reel has changed over time
  • Breakdown on paid and organic performance so you can evaluate whether the paid campaign performed well
  • How your Reels perform compared with carousels or image posts

And more.

post-level analytics
Post level-analytics from Socialinsider

Unlike Instagram native tools, Socialinsider offers unlimited historical data for all your Reels. It is especially handy for marketing agencies or social media managers running lengthy content audits.

Being a competitor’s analysis tool, Socialinsider provides you with tons of actionable data on similar accounts in your industry. If you’re looking for Instagram benchmarks to compare your performance, these more customized social media metrics will do you better than the generic numbers you can find online.

Instagram competitor analysis

For instance, your competitor’s Reel got 1000 likes, and yours got 400. At first sight, it seems like your content is performing worse.

But if you put both posts on Socialinsider, you can compare the engagement rate, which combines data about likes and followers. If the engagement rate is the same, your content is doing just as well but on a different scale.

6. How to find Instagram Reels Trends in 2024?

Combine your content pillars with current trends to make the most of the Instagram Reels feature. Virality is not always the answer — but it certainly can help you get your content in front of the right people.

So, where do you find Instagram Reels trends for 2024?

  • Socialinsider’s monthly Reels trends article

Socialinsider keeps a close eye on what’s trending on Instagram.

Add the Instagram Reels article to your bookmarks and check it out whenever you need a new idea — it’s updated monthly.

  • Explore Page and Reels Tab

Instagram's Explore page and the dedicated Reels tab are curated to showcase trending content and viral videos. Regularly checking these sections can give insights into what's currently popular.

  • Follow popular creators and hashtags

Influencers and popular content creators often set trends. Keep a close eye on your industry-related trend-setters and generally popular creators — sometimes, you can reuse trends even if they come from different industries.

You can also follow hashtags through Socialinsider’s Instagram Listening tool. Just add the hashtags you’d like to follow and explore the most popular posts, general sentiment, and content created by influencers.

  • Instagram Insights

If you have a Business or Creator account, Instagram Insights can show you which of your Reels are performing well, offering clues about what types of content resonate with audiences.

Read also: Instagram Stories ideas that can help you improve engagement.

FAQs about Instagram Reels

  • How to download Reels from Instagram?

You can download Instagram Reels directly from Instagram. Open the Reel you’d like to download, press the “Share” button, and navigate to “Download” below your contacts.

Note that you can only download Instagram Reels directly from Instagram if the video owners allow it before uploading content. If you can’t find the download button, you can record your screen or use a third-party app like InstDown or InSaver.

  • How to save Reels on Instagram?

You can save Reels in your private or public collections. To do so, open the Reel you’d like to save, press three dots in the bottom right corner, and press “Save.” After that, you can sort the video into your existing collections or create a new one.

  • Can you see who watches your Reels on Instagram?

No, you can’t see who watches your Reels on Instagram. Instagram only provides overall engagement metrics for Reels, such as likes, comments, plays, and shares, without identifying individual viewers.

  • How long can Instagram Reels be?

According to Instagram Reels guidelines, your videos can be up to 90 seconds long. The shortest your Reel can be is 3 seconds long.

Kseniia Volodina

Kseniia Volodina

Content marketer with a background in journalism; digital nomad, and tech geek. In love with blogs, storytelling, strategies, and old-school Instagram. If it can be written, I probably wrote it.

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