Longer Reel formats in content marketing


In the dynamic world of social media, a significant development has emerged that’s crucial for higher education strategy: the evolution of Instagram Reels. Introduced in August 2020, this feature has quickly become a cornerstone of digital interaction, especially among Millennials and Gen Z. With 17.6 million hours spent daily watching Reels and an active user base projected to rise to 2.5 billion by the end of 2023, the impact on digital marketing is substantial.

The recent rumours of Instagram testing longer 3 and 10-minute Reels signals a pivotal shift. Given the enduring popularity of short-form videos since Vine’s era, this move by Meta (Instagram’s parent company) prompts a reevaluation of content strategies. Notably, 73% of people learn about new products or services through short videos, a trend anticipated to persist.

This expansion into longer Reels may be a strategic response to TikTok’s extended video formats, reflecting the ongoing competition between these platforms. For your higher education institution, this could mean adapting strategies to maintain relevance among younger audiences increasingly drawn to innovative content forms.

Longer Reels offer an exciting opportunity for more comprehensive storytelling and deeper audience engagement. This extended format could transform how educational content, campus life, and student stories are shared, providing a richer narrative than the current shorter clips allow.

For advertising, longer Reels could pave the way for more detailed and impactful campaigns. Traditional short-form ads have been effective, but the potential for longer formats opens new avenues for showcasing the unique aspects of your institution, from academic programs to student life.

However, this shift also presents challenges. Maintaining viewer interest in longer content demands creativity and relevance, especially in an environment where attention spans are notoriously short. The key will be crafting content that is not only informative but also engaging and aligned with the interests of your target demographic.

The introduction of longer Reel ads would require a balanced approach to frequency and placement. An overemphasis on ads could alienate your audience, whereas too few might underutilize this new feature’s potential.

As longer Reels evolve, they offer your institution an innovative platform for storytelling, engagement, and advertising. It’s an opportunity to redefine how your institution connects with prospective students, showcasing the vibrancy and richness of campus life and academic offerings in a way that resonates with the digital-savvy generation.