Instagram Reels – 6 Top Tips For Optimisation

February 2, 2023
Instagram Reels can be an effective and inexpensive way for your business to create mass awareness and engagement. But it has to be done right...

Looking for some pointers about Instagram Reels? We’ve got you covered!

Reels, reels, reels! If done correctly, they have the potential to create mass awareness and engagement for your brand, for very little investment of time and money. However, they need to be done right. As with anything, a half-assed attempt will likely just damage your brand or business.

We have put together six top tips for you to sink your teeth into and if implemented into your Instagram Reels strategy, should vastly increase the overall reach and engagement of the content.

Instagram Reels



Don’t have time to read the full article? No problem! Here are the six key takeaways that you should be incorporating when creating and posting Instagram Reels;

1.Where possible, record your Instagram Reels in-app. Organic content created within the app tends to do better in terms of reach and engagement.

2. Know that you only have 90 seconds to play with when uploading something to Instagram Reels. But to really capture your audience’s attention make it shorter and snappier!

3. Adding trending audio sounds to your Reels will show them off to people outside of your target audience who are just browsing through Reels.

4. Take the time to carefully choose the thumbnail / cover image of your Reel. You have a fraction of a second to capture the viewer’s attention, make it as eye-catching as possible!

5. Remove the watermark from content reposted to Reels from other apps. This is basically directed at people reposting their TikToks to Instagram Reels…

6. Adding subtitles to your Reels can have a positive impact on the number of views a Reel gets, as well as the duration it is watched for. Add them in!


Learning more about Instagram Reels.

You’re thinking about expanding your social media marketing to include creating some high-quality content in the form of Reels on Instagram. Are you wondering if it’s worth it? Are you wondering where to start?

We’ve got a few answers for you. Making the time to create Instagram Reels is a great way to connect with your audience and grow your business. Instagram Reels generate better audience engagement, greater brand awareness, and carry the potential to go viral. Who doesn’t want all that!?

To help you get started we have a few basic tips on creating Instagram Reels, using Instagram’s features, and making sure your content is set up to succeed on Instagram.

What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels were fully launched in 2020 as a new full-time feature on the app. It is kind of strange to think of Instagram now without Reels on it!

But at its most basic, an Instagram Reel is a short piece of video, usually captured in portrait mode, uploaded to the Reels page of an Instagram account.

Is investing in Instagram Reels worth it?

In a word – YEP!

Results on the platform have shown that Reels consistently outperforms all other types of content posted to Instagram. According to a Social Insider report last year;

Reels have an average engagement rate of 1.95%, more than double any other type of content uploaded to the platform.

Reels have an average view rate of 2.54%, compared to 1.74% for regular videos uploaded.

Instagram Reels have an average reach rate of around 21%, higher than any other type of content on the platform. (*Reach rate is the % of your followers that will see a certain post).


Once you have a Reel posted and performing well, it can then be used elsewhere, such as in ads to appear on Discover Pages or in Story format. You can then also post it to other platforms – such as TikTok (ssshhh, don’t tell Instagram!).


Making the most of Instagram Reels.

Now, the reason you are here. We firmly believe that implementing the following six tips and tricks will hugely improve the performance of your Instagram Reels. In addition to this please, we highly recommend you read our other blog all about incorporating video marketing into your overall marketing strategy.


1. Where possible, record your Instagram Reels in-app.

We understand that this might be difficult to do all of the time, but where possible, record a reel directly through the Instagram app.

You will never read this publicly from Instagram, but content that is recorded in-app is looked more favourably upon and generally does organically better, than uploaded content. This also applies to TikTok. Instagram wants its users to spend as much time in the app and use as many of its tools as possible.

For example, if you are a shop owner who posts quick, in-store updates in the form of Instagram Reels on a weekly basis, you should really be recording them in the app. As opposed to recording the video on your phone and uploading it to Instagram.

We understand that this might be difficult to do. Many of our clients are cost-effective in that they will carry out monthly or quarterly photoshoots. It is this content that will be uploaded to their social channels, including videos to Instagram Reels. So in addition to this, we would recommend posting some content that is recorded in-app.


2. The Duration of your Reel.

Capturing the attention of your potential customers is becoming increasingly more difficult in a crowded online space. Timing is everything! So how does it work on Reels?

Updates made to the Instagram app in 2022 meant that videos up to 15 minutes long can now be posted to the platform. But I am sure that we can all agree that the vast majority of your audience is not going to sit and watch a piece of content that is that long. Attention spans continue to shrink!

As part of these updates, Instagram also increased the amount of time that a Reel that is created in the app can be. The magic number? 90 seconds. So you have at most, a minute and a half to get your point across. Ideally, you can make it shorter than that.

The key here is knowing the 90-second limit, but probably, more importantly, knowing the attention span of your online followers. Get the message across quickly. Record the Reel in-app. You are off to a winning start!


3. Add Trending Audio to your Instagram Reels.

Adding music to your Reel is a great way to bring it to life, so why not use whatever music is hot in the charts right now?

You may have noticed when you’re scrolling through Instagram Reels that certain audio keeps coming up again and again. Whether it’s a voiceover, a sound, or a song, using audio that is trending on Instagram makes it more likely that your Reel will reach more viewers. Instagram’s algorithm recognises trending sounds and favours videos following the trend!

So, how do you find trending audio? When you see a video using the trending audio, click on the audio which is located at the bottom left of your screen. This will bring you into the audio and give you the option to save it. Then when you’re creating your reel, click add audio and choose from ‘saved’ at the top of your screen.


Instagram Reels


4. Choose the right thumbnail for your Reel.

These days you have a fraction of a second to grab someone’s attention. A well-thought-out thumbnail will put you on the right track!

Carefully selecting a thumbnail will keep your reel looking nice and tidy, and in turn, will look great when shared with stories or when viewed on the grid.

A carefully selected image will help the viewer identify what they’re watching. Another tip is using branded imagery, this can help you build your brand awareness and make your reels instantly recognisable.


5. Remove watermarks on content posted from other sites.

This is not exactly breaking news, but – Instagram and TikTok are fighting it out for a share of the same market.

So it will come as no real surprise that Instagram does not like content recycled from TikTok (and vice-versa for that matter!). Always use original content and remove watermarks from content posted to other sites. We’re looking at you TikTokers!

The Instagram algorithm will push down content that has been recycled from other apps so make sure you lose the watermark before posting a TikTok video to Instagram Reels.

How do I remove a TikTok watermark from my video? We regularly use Snaptik.



6. Add subtitles to your Instagram Reels.

Fun fact – 80% of consumers are more likely to watch a video with subtitles or closed captions.

That being said, it’s best to try and adapt your videos to cater to users’ preferred watching habits. Adding subtitles to a Reel makes your content accessible to everyone, no matter what they’re doing. Subtitles also help your content rank better on Instagram.

On a practical note, make sure when adding subtitles that you aren’t blocking any important imagery that is key to your message. Also, sometimes the subtitles will pick up a word that was not said in the Reel, based on someone’s accent or them speaking too quickly. Something to keep an eye on!

Add context to your subtitles by changing the colour or text if there is more than one person speaking in the reel!

Instagram Reels

Before you go…

Remember, above everything else consistency is key. Make sure you plan and prepare for Instagram Reels like you would any other posts on your grid. The only thing worse than not having Instagram Reels is half-having Instagram reels! Happy creating!


Here are some FAQ’s about Instagram Reels:

1. What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram reels are a new and easy way to share content with friends and followers by creating short and simple videos on Instagram using a host of fun effects.

2. What’s an Instagram Reel vs Story?

An Instagram story doesn’t appear on your grid and disappears after 24hrs. Instagram reels appear in your feed, can be added to your grid permanently, and can be shared with stories as well!

3. Who can see my Reels?

If you’re private, only your followers can see your reels. If you’re public anyone can see or share your reel.

4. How long can Instagram Reels be?

Instagram reels can be up to 90 seconds long.

5. When were Reels Launched?

Instagram reels were rolled out in April 2020 and are now available globally. Major updates took place in 2022.