As governments around the world express growing concern about TikTok, its rival Instagram Reels is getting a series of new updates aimed at creators. Meta announced today that it is adding a special destination for trending audio and hashtags on Reels, expanding gifts on Reels to more countries, improving Reels editing tools, adding new stats and more.
With this latest update, creators can see the hottest songs on Reels. They can see how many times the audio has been used and can then tap it to use it themselves or save the audio for later. Creators can also see what the most popular topics and hashtags are on Reels. To access the new dedicated destination for trending content, creators will need to navigate to their Professional Dashboard and select the “Check Current Reels Trends” option. From there, they’re taken to a “Reels Trends” page where they can find trending audio and hashtags.
The company says the new dedicated section aims to help creators learn more about what’s trending right now to better inform their own content and make sure they stay on top of trends.
Instagram is also expanding access to its Gifts monetization feature to creators in more countries in the coming weeks. The feature is rolling out in Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. First tested last year, Gifts allows fans to provide direct monetary support to a favorite creator in the form of virtual themed gifts. The gifts are purchased in the Instagram app using the Stars virtual currency and can range from just 10 stars to several hundred stars.
In addition, the social network is adding a new feature that shows creators which fans have sent them gifts. When creators tap a new heart icon next to their supporters, the user will receive a notification that the creator has seen and recognized their gift.
The new update also makes it easier for creators to edit their Reels on Instagram, as the app has brought together video clips, audio, stickers, and text into a unified editing screen. The company says this change makes it easier for creators to align and time parts of their roles in a more visual way. Instagram plans to introduce additional tools designed to make reel editing simpler and easier for creators.
Creators also get access to new Reels insights to better understand how their content is performing. First, Instagram is adding a new “total watch time” metric that shows the total time a role has been played, including time spent replaying the role. Second, creators will have access to a new “average watch time” metric that captures the average amount of time spent playing a role, calculated by dividing the watch time by the total number of plays.
“For example, if your average watch time is 17 seconds, everyone who viewed your Reel watched for an average of 17 seconds,” Instagram explains in a blog post. “This will help you better understand what people are involved in or where you might need to create a stronger hook to make viewers stay longer.”
Another new feature gives creators more insight into how their Reels contribute to their growth, as creators will now receive a notification when someone starts following them directly from their Reel.
The new updates come at a time when it would make sense for Meta to try to take advantage of the growing scrutiny around TikTok, which has been banned from government devices by numerous countries around the world and may be currently banned in the US. Given these circumstances, it’s not surprising that Instagram is bolstering its rival product and making it more appealing to creators.