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NEW DELHI : As Instagram acquires more users on the back of its popular short-video format Reels, the platform has been working on launching more features such as Collab, which is being tested in India. Collab will soon allow one creator to invite another to collaborate for posts and Reels.

The announcement comes shortly after Facebook said Instagram is testing Reels ads that will help brands target engaged users that spend the majority of their time consuming video content on the platform.

Reels ads will be full screen and vertical, similar to ads in Stories, and will appear in between individual Reels. Stories is a feature where users upload pictures and can add effects and layers. Stories disappear after 24 hours.

The Reels ads will loop and can be of up to 30 seconds. People can comment, like, view, save and share Reels ads.

“Large and small brands are using Reels to create entertaining short-form videos and sharing them with Instagram’s vibrant community. Some are creating original content, some are leveraging creators for their reels, and others are even tapping into popular challenges in ways that are unique and authentic to their brand. Oppo, Spotify, Nykaa and Netflix are a few such brands," said Sandeep Bhushan, director and head of global marketing solutions, Facebook India.

“We have just launched Reels ads too, to help businesses reach greater audiences and allow people to discover inspiring new content from brands and creators," he added.

As per data revealed by the government in February, Instagram has total 21 crore users in India while Facebook has 41 crore while YouTube has 44.8 crore.

Digital marketing experts said that video content on Instagram, especially Reels can help brands reach a much wider audience as they can leverage new features and ad formats being tested to execute campaigns on new product launches, reviews and even various kinds of challenges.

Arvind Nair, regional director, Mirum India, a digital marketing agency said that while Facebook still holds huge value because of the sheer size (over 300 million user base), Instagram plays a much deeper role when it comes to engaging with millennial audience.

“…we will see even more innovations in the way videos are coming out on Instagram. Reels will further improve as Instagram looks to create more mobile first and experiential products. These trends align with the consumption trends that came out of habit during the pandemic. Since the lockdown, D2C and small businesses have further driven the growth of Instagram. The platform has created solid e-commerce model for small businesses inside the app as well which is further aiding its growth," he noted.

Shradha Agarwal, strategy head and chief operating officer, Grapes Digital, a digital-first agency said that Reels helped Instagram increase its user base by 70%.

“With audience, monetization has to be the big thing. Ads on Reels will become a success soon. I predict that the platform might introduce TikTok-like hashtag challenge as well. Branded hashtags challenge on TikTok garnered huge traction that came at a cost of 25 lakh- 30 lakh for two to three days," she noted.

Agarwal added that the new ‘Collab’ feature will be another way of creating more engagement on the platform.

“It will become easier for brands to use a feature such as Collab to bump up their reach using multiple influencers at one time. I also believe that using this collab feature brands can also indulge in co-created campaigns and banter, which was only restricted to a platform such as Twitter," she added.

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