Instagram Reels are gaining momentum. According to the recent stats, content on Instagram Reels gets 22% more engagement compared to regular videos on Instagram.

Reels help you reach new audiences for free, attract followers and even convert followers into sales. In this piece, we'll uncover how to create Instagram Reels and make them a proper content marketing asset.

Instagram Reels Specifications & Features

Reels are short videos on Instagram that are up to 60 seconds long. You can find Reels within a separate section on Instagram and your feed.

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You can like, share, comment, and create your own Reels on Instagram. To make ones, you need to open the Reels video editor or a third-party video editor, shoot a Reel, edit it and upload it back on Instagram.

Here are the Reels specs you should keep in mind:

  • Up to 60 seconds long;
  • Aspect ratio of 9:16;
  • Size of 1080 x 1920 pixels;
  • Cover photo size: 1080 x 1920 pixels.

💡Suggested read: Instagram Images, Videos, and Stories Size Guide & Infographics 2022

Let's get deeper into the process of creating Reels.

How to Create Reels within Instagram

Open the Instagram video editor

There are multiple ways to open the Instagram Reels editor.

  • Open your Instagram profile or a feed, click on the plus icon ➕ and choose Reel.
  • Open the Reels tab on Instagram, find the camera icon at the top right corner and click on it.
  • Or open the story editor by swiping the main feed right and find Reels in the bottom of the screen.

Regardless of the method you choose, the same editor opens, which is similar in functionality to the Stories editor.

In the Reels editor, you can:

  • Select music from the Instagram library;
  • Specify the duration of the video (up to 60 seconds);
  • Select video speed (slowdown x3 and x5, acceleration x2 and x3);
  • Choose a layout format;
  • Set a timer showing the time until the end of the video (you can also turn on the timer for up to 60 seconds);
  • Choose filters and lenses the same as those in Stories.
⚡️Tip: In this section, you can see Reels of other users using the effect you are interested in. To do this, select the effect and click on the + sign above the main menu. Then a gallery of videos with this filter will open. In it, you can see how popular the filter is and find ideas for your Reels.

Upload a pre-shot Reel

Apart from creating a Reel right on Instagram, you can also shoot a video in a third-party video editor and then upload it on Instagram.

When uploading a pre-shot video, you can trim the clip, if necessary, right in the Reels editor.

Videos can be divided into fragments – scenes. In total, the timing of all clips will not exceed 30 seconds. You can also shoot one clip first, then add a video from your phone and record again: all the clips you create will be in one Reel.

Besides, this adds a new item to the Reels menu – Align tool, which enables you to add and remove an object between the Reel's scenes. This will create an appearing or disappearing effect.

When you start a scene at the point the previous frame ends, it will look like an object or a person suddenly pops up in the scene.

How to add filters to Reels

  1. Open the Reels editor.
  2. Find ✨Effects icon above the record button.

You'll see a pack of available filters at the bottom of your screen.

3. To search for more effects, click on the sparkles icon, a bookmark icon to find the filters you saved, an arrow icon to discover more available filters, or a magnifying glass icon to open the search field and look for filters by entering keywords.

4. To record a filter in your Reel, hold on the filter icon or use the timer feature.

5. If you like the Reel with the filter applied, press the Preview button. You'll be headed over to the editing screen, where you can add captions, sounds, stickers, and more filters to your Reel.

6. Click Next if you want to share the Reel with your audience.

How to use the Align tool in Reels

  1. Open the Reels editor.
  2. To start recording, select any effects or songs you'd like to add in the Reel and press the Record button.

When you finish recording the scene, you'll see a new icon on the left, which looks like two overlaid squares. This is the Align tool.

3. Tap the two square button, and you'll see a semi-transparent view of the last frame you've recorded.

4. Add an object or a person to the scene by pressing the Record button with Reel logo. Align your last frame with the one you just added and press the record button again.

5. Tap the Preview button to open the editing screen when you're done.

6. Tap Next when you want to share the post.

You can make several clips by pressing and releasing the button with the Reels logo for shooting. To edit, view, or delete captured clips, you need to click on the Back icon.

If you click the Preview item, you can add stickers, text, apply an effect to the video – here the editing tools are similar to the Stories section. You can save the shot video to your phone, record a new audio track for it, or select music. The file from the Reels section is loaded into the smartphone’s memory with the Instagram logo and your username.

Choose a Cover, Caption, and Publish Instagram Reels

You can post Reels on your main grid with other photos and videos or publish them in a separate section on your profile. If you choose the latter, the Reel won't be visible on your main grid layout.

When publishing a Reel, click on the Share in feed button if you want the video to appear in the feed.

If you want to remove the Reel you've already published from the profile grid, simply click on the Remove from the profile grid button.

Both in the main feed and the Reels feed, users see Reels covers first. If you don't upload your cover, the platform will choose a random frame of the video. This frame is rarely successful.

You can choose a cover before posting your video in the menu together with the caption, just like when publishing regular posts.

Reels covers are also displayed in the Recommended tab, but they are not visible in the main Reels feed – there, the videos are played as an endless stream with automatic playback.

Reels cover options:

  • A frame from the Reel. To choose this, you need to scroll the video in the layout, selecting the desired frame.
  • An image from the phone gallery you prepared in advance – for this, you need to select an image from the Add from gallery tab.
⚡️Tip: Reels cover size is 1080×1920 px. But in the main feed, the covers are displayed in a square format, like all other publications – 1080 × 1080 px. To select a square that will be displayed in the feed, you need to pinch the cover and hover over the desired area.

When you're done coming up with a caption and hashtags for the Reels, you can publish the Reel on Instagram.

💡Suggested read: How to Come Up with Engaging Instagram Captions

How to add captions to Reels

  1. Open the Reels editor.
  2. Shoot a video and proceed to the editing screen by pressing on the Preview button.
  3. Tap the Aa icon in the top right corner of your screen to add a caption to your Reel.

4. Enter the text.

5. Use the style tools to customise the font, its colour, alignment, and more.

6. Tap Done.

7. When you’re ready to post, tap Next.

After posting, you can delete the Reels video from Instagram or set up comment management for it.

How to save a Reel as a draft

You can save the Reel as a draft in the editor before publishing it on Instagram. To do so, just click on the Save Draft on the page where you can add a caption, user tags, and hashtags. The Reel will be saved in the Drafts section in the gallery that opens when you record a Reel with a swipe, just like in Stories.

Reels Remix feature

Instagram has recently launched Remix for Reels. While the concept’s not new, as it’s very similar to TikTok Duets, it’s a fun and useful feature for new and long-time Instagram users.

We have already covered the Remix feature and how to use it in a separate article.

💡Suggested read: All About Instagram Remixes — New Reels' Feature

How to Choose Music for Reels or Create Your Own Track

The track library for Reels is the same as for Stories. You can search for different artists in it and save the selected tracks. The trending music you've most likely heard on your recommended Reels lately is stored in the For You section.

The music track editor is also similar to the editor in Stories: you can choose a track's fragment, lyrics, and add the trimmed part to your Reel.

⚡️Tip: Some tracks have automatically highlighted popular moments. These are the excerpts that are trending and are most often used by Reels creators.

How to add music to Reels

Most Instagram Reels contain music in them, such as popular songs, extracted backtracks, or voiceovers. Adding music to Reels is essential for the engagement and discoverability of your clip.

To add a song to your Reel, follow this brief guide:

  1. Open the Reels editor to start shooting a Reel.
  2. Click on the 🎵 icon on the left. Select a song from the Instagram audio library. You can also head over to the Saved or Import tabs to add your own track.
  3. When you choose a song you want in your Reel, the recording screen will be opened again.

4. If you want to pick a specific part of the song, click on the thumbnail of the album cover on the left and select the song fragment.

5. Hold the record button to start recording, and the track fragment will start playing. Once you let go of the button, the recording will stop.

6. Share your Reel by pressing the Next button.

7. On the editing screen where you've just landed, you'll see the audio mix feature, the ability to add stickers, and captions.

8. Edit the clip as you like and press the Preview button to go on.

💡Suggested read: Create Original Audio for Your Instagram Reels

You can adjust the volume of both the original track and a selected track. This feature becomes available when you finish your video, draft, or an excerpt from a future video.

You cannot add your music to the Instagram library through the editor. If you're a musician who wants to upload an original track, you should first distribute your music on various platforms, including Instagram.

Add voiceover to Reels

If you want to add your own or someone else's voice to your Reel, the voiceover feature comes in handy. You can add them to your Reels through the Import tab in the Reels editor. But before that, you need to record the voice or extract it from a video or another audio and save it on your device.

After Publication: Analyse Your Reel's Stats

The statistics for Reels are the same as for other posts' stats – you can see the number of accounts reached, views, saves, shares, likes, and comments. Yet it is impossible to find out who exactly watched the Reels.

⚡️Note that the metrics will only be available for Professional Instgram accounts (Creator or Business).

💡Suggested read: How to Gain More Views of Instagram Reels

Representative Reels' performance metrics include:

  • Reach tells you how many unique Instagram accounts watched your Reel at least once.
  • Plays show you how many times your Reel has been played. It's typically higher than the reach because some users watched your Reel more than once.
  • Likes, comments, shares, and saves. Well, you know what these mean – a number of times Instagram users engaged with your Reel.

In Instagram Insights, you can find the performance of a single Reel as well as of the entire content format, meaning how well Reels work as a whole in terms of your account's performance.