Short-form videos, especially Instagram Reels, seriously took off this year.
And it’s because Reels are pushed to all Instagram users, not just to those who follow you.
The unique format helps businesses and creators go viral and spike major community growth, which is why so many users are jumping on board.
We see no sign of Reels slowing down in 2022 – it’s only bigger and better from here.
From additional creator tools to a more advanced algorithm, we’re sharing our top seven predictions for 2022.
Instagram Reels Predictions for 2022:
Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, recently admitted that Reels are “still quite far behind” in the short-form video space – specifically when compared to TikTok.
“We have a lot of room to improve,” Mosseri said in a series of Instagram Stories.
With this, we can expect big things for Instagram Reels in the new year.
Here are our hot takes for 2022:
The Reels Algorithm Will Become More Advanced
Reels Shopping Will Go Next-level
Reels Will Become a Major Part of the Instagram App
The Instagram Reels Aesthetic Will Become More Prominent
Reels Will Have a Separate Identity to TikTok
New Creative Editing Features and Interactive Filters
New Incentives for Creators
#1: The Reels Algorithm Will Become More Advanced
If you work in social media, you know the Instagram algorithm can be somewhat of a mystery.
And the Instagram Reels algorithm is no different. What we know about the Instagram Reels algorithm is that it gives less screen time to low quality and visibly recycled content.
However, we still don't know exactly how the Reels algorithm works.
One thing we do know though, is that it doesn't seem to be quite as advanced as TikTok's algorithm – which can pick up even the slightest of interests and serve relevant content to viewers.
If Instagram wants to remain competitive in 2022, we imagine the app will take a page out of TikTok's book – with more personalization and diversification of the videos they serve to users.
#2: Reels Shopping Will Go Next-level
Instagram Reels shopping will reach new levels in 2022 – for both brands and creators.
Over the last 12 months, Instagram’s e-commerce features have seen a major facelift, including the Instagram Shop tab, Instagram Checkout, and the ability for brands and creators to tag products on Instagram Reels.
Just like Instagram Stories stickers, we forecast a similar sticker lineup for Reels.
Specifically, the product sticker where brands can tag products from their shop directly on the video – further streamlining the checkout process.
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#3: Reels Will Become a Major Part of the Instagram App
If you thought Instagram couldn’t integrate Instagram Reels any more than they already have – think again!
Instagram already made Reels the centre of the home page – but we’re hedging our bets on a more advanced Instagram Reels integration.
With Instagram’s focus on video, it’s highly likely that Instagram will move towards a Reels-first approach.
This could mean that when users open up the Instagram app, they’ll see the Instagram Reels explore page first with the option to switch over to the main feed.
In fact, Instagram has already started rolling out a full-screen view for Reels on the home feed, similar to what you see while scrolling TikTok.
If we see a Reels-first format, we think there could be a shift in the type of Instagram Reels content users create. We expect to see more in-depth, strategic Reels that support campaigns, launches, and community building.
Reels typically work alongside feed posts and stories as part of a bigger strategy. But, with a change in format, we may begin to see Reels take on the identity of a classic feed post.
Some content creators like @olivianoceda are already embracing this trend:
As you can see, the majority of the content on her feed is Instagram Reels.
#4: The Instagram Reels Aesthetic Will Become More Prominent
If you've opened your Instagram app lately, you've probably noticed an influx of aesthetically-pleasing Reels.
One trend in particular has taken the Reels world by storm: showcasing perfectly curated images in a beat-perfect sequence.
Instagram Reels is a whole different vibe than TikTok – it’s less chaotic, more curated.
This is likely because users tend to treat Reels as an extension of their Instagram feed – especially because they can be shared to the feed.
But it’s not only the cover image on the feed that’s aesthetic – it’s the videos themselves.
We expect users to double down in 2022. Especially because users (and the algorithm) seem to favor this type of content.
There are even accounts exclusively dedicated to helping users edit their Reels to be aesthetically pleasing — talk about meta.
But, just like everything on social media, trends come and go with time – so you have to prepare to pivot.
So, while we expect the Instagram Reels aesthetic to stick around, it might not last forever.
We could even start to see a less-filtered approach working its way onto Reels feed, similar to what we know and love on TikTok. Time will tell.
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#5: Reels Will Have a Separate Identity to TikTok
In the beginning, TikTok trends repurposed for Instagram saw major success.
Now, Instagram Reels is becoming less of a clone and more of its own entity – especially in the type of content users are sharing.
On TikTok, it’s about creating original content, experimentation, and creating entertaining and educational content.
On Instagram Reels, the content is currently more trend-centric, with a strong focus on atmospheric video content.
It's likely that brands and creators will eventually treat TikTok and Reels as two separate platforms with separate content strategies.
If Instagram wants the type of content being shared on the platform to change, introducing new editing tools and features will be a massive help – which brings us to our next 2022 prediction.
#6: New Creative Editing Features and Interactive Filters
There’s no denying that TikTok reigns supreme when it comes to video editing features — you can master transitions, edit individual clips, and even color correct your footage all within TikTok.
The Instagram Reels video editor has some serious catching up to do.
One quick win which we predict Instagram will release in 2022 is the ability to edit video and photo clips to the beat of the music.
There have already been some users who have spotted this as a test on their accounts. The rumored feature is called “Dancify”:
Additionally, we expect to see a rise in interactive filters joining the Reels space.
We're already seeing tons of AI filters (originally popular on stories) going viral on Reels.
Our prediction? There'll be even more to come in 2022.
#7: New Incentives for Creators
We’re expecting to see a serious push in making Instagram Reels the go-to for creators on the platform.
Instagram has already started making in-roads with creators with the Instagram Reels Play bonus program.
Reels Play bonuses let creators earn money directly from Facebook and Instagram for creating content.
Currently, this program is only available to a handful of creators so we expect to see Instagram roll this out to more, if not all, creators in 2022.
We also see the Instagram Collabs tool growing in popularity on Instagram Reels – especially because it’s beneficial for both creators and brands.
If the Collab tool picks up steam (and if Instagram launches additional creator and brand partnership tools) it could be the key to unlocking viral reach for camera-shy brands.
And that’s it — all our top Instagram Reels predictions for 2022.
Will you be hopping on the Instagram Reels train in 2022? We hope so
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