By Anna Germanos, Head of CPG, Retail & E-commerce for MENA at Meta
Globally, 3 trillion minutes (5 million years) of video content cross the Internet each month in 2022. That's 1.1 million minutes of video streamed or downloaded every second. Up 1 trillion from 2017 because video as a format is entertaining, easy to digest, visually appealing, and has the ability to build a powerful human connection.
As such, video has now become a critical part of any modern marketing strategy and more importantly, people are asking for it to build relationships with brands, as well as to discover new brands. This is particularly relevant in MENA, where the population is concentrated around youth that drives mobile technology and digital, making it one of the best marketplaces for video marketing globally.
At the same time, the average person’s attention span has decreased over the years — with some experts saying it’s now under 10 seconds—due to a large amount of information constantly vying for their attention. Not only is it harder to keep people engaged, but it is now also harder to retain their loyalty, as pandemic constraints have increased people’s willingness to experiment with new brands.
This shifting landscape can present challenges for businesses marketing efforts, but innovative companies are investing and finding value in short-form videos like Reels as a tool to gain attention, build community and differentiate their brand in an increasingly saturated marketplace.
Reels is Instagram’s biggest engagement growth driver, offering the best way to break through a shortening attention span and grow your business through a meaningful, durable connection with your customers. Reels already make up more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram and compared to this same time last year, we find that consumers are over 13% more likely to use Instagram Reels to build relationships with brands or to discover new brands. Reels are a great way to grow your community and help brands tap into Gen-Z and young audiences and develop more authentic relationships with consumers. In fact engagement with users aged 18-24 on Reels is more than 2X the average engagement. Reels also help grow businesses; not only do they contribute incrementally to building and discovering brands but also boost sales. Beauty retailer Sephora found that adding Reels to the video mix further lifts brands metrics such as ad recall, brand awareness, and favorability; and Jawwy, an app from Saudi Telecom Company, has recorded a 67% lower cost per purchase for Instagram Reels ads.
Curious about the opportunities reels can unlock for your business? Here are some best practices on how to create engaging reels to grow your business and reach your goals.
(1) Captivate your audience with sound and magic
Using interesting transitions, experimenting with music drops, and trying narration styles that highlight a message, task or product can draw your audience in and hold their attention. To get inspired, look at what your most active followers are engaging with to better understand what might resonate with them.
(2) Inspire engagement
Draw your audience in with a hook upfront and reward their attention with a payoff at the end. Create content that is relatable, recognizable, and repeatable. You can invite your community to interact with you – challenge them to Remix your reel, or start a conversation with them in the comments. Behind-the-scenes content shots can often feel more accessible and showing your audience these special moments can help them feel included. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think of how you can engage with them, not speak at them.
(3) Use creators to establish trust and credibility
Creators not only spark new trends and entertain audiences, but they have also trusted sources for recommendations. A recent study by Edelman found that 63% of 18-34-year-olds trust what an influencer says about a brand more than what the brand says about itself in advertising. Reels help brands tap into a very large pool of nano and micro-creators who master storytelling and know how to build an authentic relationship with their audience.
Think about how you can broaden the appeal of your brand and expand your reach with creators by tapping into branded content and branded content ads. Premium fashion group, HUGO BOSS, created a Reels team with 16 creators that presented their outfits in their own unique and entertaining ways which generated a 1600% increase in social engagement on the BOSS Instagram account over four days. The more you can do to enable creators to advocate for your brand in their words, the greater your ability to build an authentic relationship with their audience.
(4) Make your reels shoppable to move from discovery to purchase
You can also tag products in your reels, so audiences can shop and learn more about your products. When you’re working with creators, encourage them to tag your products in their reels, too. This feature makes it easier for people to make a purchase at the moment of inspiration or discovery from their favorite creators.
To help brands and customers, we’re making it easier for more people to create great Reels and discover and interact with Reels relevant to their interests. We’re continuously introducing new features to make it simple and fun! As we continue to expand our video offerings to delight and entertain people, we’re excited to bring you along with us.