Ever since Instagram Reels debuted back in 2019, they’ve been touted as the key to increasing Instagram performance. Instagram’s prioritizing video has been well documented (see head of IG Adam Mosseri’s explanation), but one question still stands– does only posting Reels improve performance? We’re about to find out.
If you’ve been seeing less static Instagram photo content on your feed, you’re not alone. Many creators report little to no engagement on even the most carefully curated photo content.
Higher engagement correlates with an increase in follower count. Reels get more eyeballs on your content, your profile, and your brand. The more Reels you post, the more authentic connections you can develop. That’s what Instagram has always been about. They’ve just found that video content is a better vehicle for forming those connections. If creators want to be successful on the platform, they need to work with Instagram’s algorithm, not against it. At the end of the day, forming connections is the heart of what creators are trying to achieve as well. It makes sense that a Reels-only strategy would maximize the benefit of the content format.
Sharing your Reels to your Feed increases the likelihood that your followers will see and engage with them. It can also give your Reels the initial engagement necessary to grab the algorithm’s attention.
However, some accounts report Reels not shared to feed got more shares and engagement in the long run. This is just anecdotal, so your best bet is to test and compare.
When asked how often to post Stories, Reels, Posts, etc. in a recent AMA, Mosseri recommended posting Stories Daily and about three Feed posts per week. He didn’t differentiate static photo Feed posts from Reels, or Reels in the Feed from Reels in the Reels tab.
Moral of the story: the only way to truly figure out if all Reels should go on your grid or not is by experimenting.
Instagram has multiple features for a reason. If photos and carousels weren’t getting any engagement, the features would’ve been out the door a while ago. There’s a reason Instagram is keeping them around.
If you currently post static photo content that your audience engages with, keep it up– just add more Reels to your content calendar to increase your engagement and reach.
If you’re working with a limited amount of bandwidth (aren’t we all?), then you will probably want to do a cost-benefit analysis on your static and video content. Put your effort into the content that will get the best response from your audience.
This likely means you should post more Reels, but don’t ditch your static content completely unless the data shows your audience is ready to make that transition with you. And, as recommended by Mosseri, show up on Stories daily, regardless of your position on the Reels vs. photo debate.
Instagram content is typically more structured and polished than TikTok content. This is one reason why trending audio remains so popular with Reels. Instagram creators have a structured concept to follow. They can use the same trends to build a consistent content style.
Instagram Reels templates accelerate the process of using an existing Reel’s music and timing. They ensure you aren’t just guessing about the clip length, which helps your content align precisely with the trending video concept. And because templates speed up the editing process, you can capitalize on current trends with less lag time.
While there isn’t statistical evidence that using a Reels template can boost engagement, it's safe to assume that creating timely videos that are well-edited and align with the trend they use will improve performance.
The no right answer. Every account is different. If posting a mix of static photo content, carousels, and video is working for you, keep it up. But if you’ve been feeling a lull in engagement recently, putting most of your time and energy into Reels isn’t a bad idea at all. It might even give your static content the boost it needed.
At the end of the day, Reels are getting the most engagement right now. That means they’re receiving favor from the Instagram algorithm. If you want to please the algorithm (we all do), then making more Reels should be a priority for your 2023 Instagram strategy. I’ll leave you with this parting tip: if you’re making more Reels this year, you should look into our Reels planner and keep tabs on the Weekly Video Trend Report.