In an attempt to be as popular as TikTok, Instagram has been pushing Reels in every possible way. One would say that the platform is seeing a benefit from turning almost everything into a Reel. However, judging from a recently leaked report, this isn’t quite true. It’s exactly the opposite.
According to the report, Instagram users are not really spending much time watching TikTok-esque short-form videos. What’s more. it appears that most Reels users “have no engagement whatsoever.”
The Wall Street Journal claims that they saw a copy of the “Creators x Reels State of the Union 2022” report released in August 2022. It includes internal research documents showing the engagement Reels have been getting. And as it turns out – it’s pretty lame compared to TikTok.
According to the WSJ, Instagram users are spending less than 17.6 million hours a day watching Reels. That sounds like a lot, but check this out: TikTok users spend 197.8 million hours watching short videos on this platform. Yep, that’s more than ten times higher. What’s more, even those Reels that were posted on Instagram were often created in other apps, especially TikTok. As the WSJ reports, a third of all Reels were originally created on other platforms and they still have their watermark.
Some data and reports from earlier this year show that the situation with Rees is indeed not so bright. Back in April, Instagram reportedly cut Reels payouts by as much as 70%. Still, in a response to Gizmodo, a Meta spokesperson claims that the data in the latest report were “outdated and incorrect.”
“This story uses outdated and, in some cases, incorrect data to paint a false picture of our progress on Reels. We still have work to do, but creators and businesses are seeing promising results and our monetization growth is faster than we expected as more people are watching, creating and connecting through Reels than ever before.”
The way I read this is “yes, Reels are not gaining a lot of traffic and we don’t want to admit it.” But maybe if Instagram stopped copying other apps and focused on (re)building the identity of its own, maybe it would be more successful and gained more users and hence more interaction.