Experiment: Do Reels Enhance Your General Instagram Engagement?

Have you ever observed 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 12 months, manufacturers and creators alike have discovered that these posts reel in additional than simply views. Many have seen their follower counts and engagement charges enhance, too. One Instagram creator says she gained 2,800+ followers by posting a Reel day by day for a month.

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

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Speculation: Posting Reels improves your total Instagram engagement

Our working speculation is that posting an Instagram Reel might have a shine impact on our total Instagram metrics. In different phrases, posting Reels might enhance our total engagement and follower progress charges.


To run this casual experiment, Hootsuite’s social media group carried out its Instagram technique as deliberate, which incorporates posting Reels, single-image and carousel posts, and IGTV movies.

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

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

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

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

Methodology Overview

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


TL;DR: Follower rely and engagement price went up, however not at a price a lot larger 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:

Supply: Hoosuite’s Instagram Insights

“We’ve seen vital spikes in our follower rely one to 3 days after posting a Reel. My speculation is that these spikes in follower progress 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 price 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 price has stayed the identical since posting Reels.”

Let’s drill down into the information just a little extra. Word: All stats cited under have been recorded March eight, 2021.

Reel #1—January 21, 2021

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

Audio: “Stage Up,” Ciara

Hashtags: zero

Reel #2—January 27, 2021

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

Audio: Unique

Hashtags: 7

Reel #three—February eight, 2021

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

Audio: freezerstyle

Hashtags: four

Reel #four—February 17, 2021

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

Audio: Unique

Hashtags: 1

Reel #5—February 23, 2021

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

Audio: “Desires,” Fleetwood Mac

Hashtags: three

Reel #6—March three, 2021

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

Audio: Unique

Hashtags: zero


By way of total attain, Cohen says, “I do see the same enhance 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 graphInstagram 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 larger.

However that’s principally due to the Reels themselves. Along with having a a lot larger view price, “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 price for each durations is about the identical.

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

What do the outcomes imply?

Instagram needs high quality Reels to be seen

Instagram redesigned its dwelling display screen to place Reels entrance and middle, so excessive Reels view counts ought to come as no shock. In that sense, Reels have turn out to be a key frontier for natural attain on the app. The extra individuals you attain along with your Reels, the upper your probabilities that follower rely and engagement price will develop.

Whereas Reels might get extra attain than different codecs on the platform, Instagram’s algorithm nonetheless prioritizes Reels that test sure bins. Right here’s how the corporate explains its advice 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.”

View this put up on Instagram

A put up shared by Instagram’s @Creators (@creators)

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

Reels that characteristic individuals carry out effectively

The success of TikTok is basically creator-driven and Instagram Reels aren’t any completely different. Check out your Reels feed and also you’ll discover that the majority movies have one factor in widespread: 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 characteristic 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 a giant distinction

It’s in all probability not a coincidence that our high three performing Reels occurred to be the three that characteristic a trending observe. Ciara’s “Stage Up” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Desires,” particularly, are fairly standard on Instagram and TikTok for the time being.

View this put up on Instagram

A put up shared by Hootsuite (@hootsuite)

“Instagram favors if you add your audio and songs natively of their app versus including them beforehand in a third get together app or utilizing different music not out there 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 percentages that will probably be seen. Reels will be shared on to Tales, however Cohen recommends taking a special 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 10Ok 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 finished for in-feed Reels captions,” he says.

Hashtags have a minor impression on attain

Instagram Reels can embody as much as 30 hashtags, similar to different posts on the platform. In line 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.” Standard Reels hashtags embody #dance, #humor, #health, and #reelitfeelit.

Hashtags didn’t have an apparent impression 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 truth, Instagram head Adam Mosseri not too long ago informed The Verge he’s “not but comfortable” with Reels. Keep on high of Instagram updates right here.

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