Thursday March 18, 2021 By David Quintanilla
Do Reels Improve Your Overall Instagram Engagement?

Have you ever seen your engagement stats go up after posting an Instagram Reel? You’re not the one one.

For the reason that short-video format debuted on the platform final yr, manufacturers and creators alike have discovered that these posts reel in additional than simply views. Many have seen their follower counts and engagement charges improve, too. One Instagram creator says she gained 2,800+ followers by posting a Reel every single day for a month.

At Hootsuite, we determined to dig into our personal Instagram information and check this concept out.

Hypothesis: Posting Reels improves your overall Instagram engagement

Our running hypothesis is that posting an Instagram Reel may have a shine effect on our overall Instagram metrics. In other words, posting Reels may boost our overall engagement and follower growth rates.


To run this informal experiment, Hootsuite’s social media team carried out its Instagram strategy as deliberate, which incorporates posting Reels, single-image and carousel posts, and IGTV videos.

Hootsuite’s first Reel was posted on January 21, 2021. Over the 40-day interval between January 21-and March 3, Hootsuite printed 19 posts to its feed together with six Reels, seven IGTV movies, 5 carousels, and one video. When it comes to frequency, we printed a Reel roughly as soon as every week or so.

On the subject of discovery, there are a selection of variables to account for on Instagram. In each case, our Reels had been printed to the Reels tab and feed. Some accounts have noticed that the efficiency of a Reel considerably drops when it is just posted to the Reels tab. We didn’t check that concept on this experiment.

Others have famous that sharing Reels to Instagram Tales also can have a marked affect on engagement. We shared all of our Reels to Instagram Tales, so hold that in thoughts as you learn the outcomes.

Audio is one other approach Reels may be found on Instagram. After watching a Reel, viewers can click on on the monitor and discover different movies that pattern the identical audio. Of the six Reels we posted, three function trending tracks, whereas the opposite three use authentic audio. Lastly, three Reels included hashtags, and none of them had been “Featured” by Instagram curators.

Methodology Overview

  • Timeframe: January 21-March 3
  • Variety of Reels posted: 6
  • All Reels printed to the feed
  • All Reels shared to Instagram Tales


TL;DR: Follower depend and engagement fee went up, however not at a fee a lot greater than earlier than we began posting Reels. Attain additionally stayed the identical.

Take a look at Hootsuite’s follower breakdown in Instagram Insights (pictured under). Positive sufficient, each bump of the inexperienced “new follower” line corresponds with the publication of a Reel.

Follower breakdown:

Hootsuite's Instagram follower breakdown

Supply: Hoosuite’s Instagram Insights

“We’ve seen important spikes in our follower depend one to 3 days after posting a Reel. My speculation is that these spikes in follower development got here from our Reels content material,” explains Brayden Cohen, Hootsuite social advertising strategist. However in keeping with Cohen, total, Hootsuite’s comply with and unfollow fee hasn’t modified a lot.

“We sometimes see roughly 1,000-1,400 new followers each week and roughly 400-650 unfollows per week too (that is regular). I’d say our comply with and unfollow fee has stayed the identical since posting Reels.”

Let’s drill down into the information a little bit extra. Observe: All stats cited under had been recorded March 8, 2021.

Reel #1—January 21, 2021

Views: 27.8K, Likes: 733, Feedback: 43

Audio: “Stage Up,” Ciara

Hashtags: 0

Reel #2—January 27, 2021

Views: 15K, Likes: 269, Feedback: 44

Audio: Authentic

Hashtags: 7

Reel #3—February 8, 2021

Views: 17.3K, Likes: 406, Feedback: 23

Audio: freezerstyle

Hashtags: 4

Reel #4—February 17, 2021

Views: 7,337, Likes: 240, Feedback: 38

Audio: Authentic

Hashtags: 1

Reel #5—February 23, 2021

Views: 16.3K, Likes: 679, Feedback: 26

Audio: “Goals,” Fleetwood Mac

Hashtags: 3

Reel #6—March 3, 2021

Views: 6,272, Likes: 208, Feedback: 8

Audio: Authentic

Hashtags: 0


When it comes to total attain, Cohen says, “I do see an identical improve in # of accounts reached from our Instagram account on dates that we posted Reels.” Whereas there are peaks and troughs, there’s a gradual rise in attain over the month of February.

Instagram reach insights graph

Supply: Hoosuite’s Instagram Insights


What about engagement? In contrast with the earlier 40-day interval, the common variety of feedback and likes per put up is greater.

However that’s largely due to the Reels themselves. Along with having a a lot greater view fee, “Our Instagram Reels see 300-800 like per put up whereas an IGTV and an in-feed video will get between 100-200 likes,” says Cohen. Take the Reels out of the equation, and the engagement fee for each intervals is about the identical.

So, do Reels enhance your total Instagram engagement? In Hootsuite’s case, the reply is: a little bit. Follower depend and engagement fee went up, however not at a fee a lot greater than earlier than we began posting Reels.

What do the outcomes imply?

Instagram desires high quality Reels to be seen

Instagram redesigned its residence display screen to place Reels entrance and heart, so excessive Reels view counts ought to come as no shock. In that sense, Reels have turn out to be a key frontier for organic reach on the app. The extra individuals you attain along with your Reels, the upper your possibilities that follower depend and engagement fee will develop.

Whereas Reels could get extra attain than different codecs on the platform, Instagram’s algorithm nonetheless prioritizes Reels that examine sure packing containers. Right here’s how the company explains its suggestion engine: “Individuals inform us they wish to see entertaining, humorous, and attention-grabbing content material in locations just like the Reels tab, and we’ve gotten higher at recommending that.”

Reposting TikTok movies as Reels? Instagram could ding you for that. “We’ve additionally heard that low video high quality reels (i.e. blurry on account of low decision) or content material that’s visibly recycled from different apps (i.e. incorporates logos or watermarks) makes the Reels expertise much less satisfying,” a post from the corporate explains. “So, we’re making this content material much less discoverable in locations just like the Reels tab.”

Reels that function individuals carry out effectively

The success of TikTok is basically creator-driven and Instagram Reels are not any totally different. Check out your Reels feed and also you’ll discover that the majority movies have one factor in frequent: Individuals! Neglect hyper-stylized product pictures, the Instagram aesthetic, and even illustrations. All of that comes second to individuals in character within the Reels format.

“We see that a picture of an individual within the Reel helps it carry out higher,” says Cohen. Of Hootsuite’s high three performing Reels on this experiment, two function an individual within the cowl picture (in each instances, it’s Cohen!). The third Reel additionally options an individual (Hootsuite’s Inbound Advertising Lead, Shannon Tien), simply not on the quilt.

Audio could make an enormous distinction

It’s in all probability not a coincidence that our high three performing Reels occurred to be the three that function a trending monitor. Ciara’s “Stage Up” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Goals,” specifically, are fairly fashionable on Instagram and TikTok for the time being.

“Instagram favors while you add your audio and songs natively of their app versus including them beforehand in a third social gathering app or utilizing different music not obtainable inside Instagram,” says Cohen. “I feel this performs an enormous issue.”

Sharing to Instagram Tales boosts views

Including your Reel to a Story will increase the chances that it will likely be seen. Reels may be shared on to Tales, however Cohen recommends taking a unique method: “I reshare the in-feed Reel to tales so the Reel in our feed will get extra views.”

In case your account has greater than 10K followers, sharing your Reel in a Story means that you can use them to drive visitors or conversions. “Sharing to Instagram Tales is extremely useful when offering a swipe-up hyperlink or CTA as this can’t be completed for in-feed Reels captions,” he says.

Hashtags have a minor affect on attain

Instagram Reels can embrace as much as 30 hashtags, identical to different posts on the platform. In accordance with an Instagram Story posted by the corporate’s @creators account, “Hashtags proceed to be an awesome supply of discovery for creators, significantly on Reels.” Fashionable Reels hashtags embrace #dance, #humor, #health, and #reelitfeelit.

Hashtags didn’t have an apparent affect on Hootsuite’s Reels. Posts that didn’t have any carried out simply as effectively, and in some instances higher, than posts that had some. “I feel hashtags assist with the discoverability of the content material and maybe assist push them to the highest of sure trending hashtags,” says Cohen. “I’m not 100% sure on the relevance of hashtags proper now although.”

All of those facets are nonetheless being fine-tuned by Instagram. In actual fact, Instagram head Adam Mosseri not too long ago instructed The Verge he’s “not but pleased” with Reels. Stay on top of Instagram updates here.

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