Instagram Reels adds a series of creator-focused updates, including a dedicated ‘trends’ section

As governments around the world express growing concerns about TikTok, its rival Instagram Reels is getting a series of updates aimed at creators. Meta announced today that it’s adding a dedicated destination for trending audio and hashtags on Reels, expanding gifts on Reels to more countries, enhancing Reels editing tools, adding new metrics and more.

With this latest update, creators will be able to see the top trending songs on Reels. They will be able to see how many times the audio has been used and then tap it to use it themselves or save the audio for later. Creators will also be able to see what the top trending topics and hashtags are on Reels. To access the new dedicated destination for trending content, creators have to navigate to their Professional Dashboard and select the “Check today’s Reels Trends” option. From there, they will be taken to a “Reels Trends” page where they can find trending audio and hashtags.

Instagram's new dedicated page for trending audio and hashtags

Image Credits: Instagram

The company says the new dedicated section aims to help creators learn more about what’s currently popular in order to better inform their own content and ensure they’re staying on top of trends.

Instagram is also expanding access to its Gifts monetization feature to creators in more countries in the coming weeks. The feature will be rolling out in Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Gifts, which first began testing last year, allows fans to provide a favorite creator with direct monetary support in the form of themed virtual gifts. The gifts are purchased in the Instagram app using the virtual currency Stars and can cost anywhere from just 10 stars to several hundred stars.

In addition, the social network is adding a new feature that will show creators which fans sent them gifts. When creators tap on a new heart icon next to their supporters, the user will receive a notification that the creator saw and recognized their gift.

Instagram's new editing tools for Reels

Image Credits: Instagram

The new update also makes it easier for creators to edit their Reels on Instagram, as the app has brought together video clips, audio, stickers and text under a unified editing screen. The company says this change makes it easier for creators to align and time parts of their Reels to the right moments in a more visual way. Instagram plans to introduce additional tools that are designed to make editing Reels simpler and easier for creators.

Creators are also going to get access to new Reels insights to better understand how their content is preforming. First, Instagram is adding a new “total watch time” metric that captures the total amount of time a reel was played, including any time spent replaying the reel. Second, creators are going to get access to a new “average watch time” metric that captures the average amount of time spent playing a reel, calculated by dividing watch time with the number of total plays.

Instagram's new Reels metrics

Image Credits: Instagram

“For example if your average watch time is 17 seconds, out of everyone who watched your Reel they watched an average of 17 seconds,” Instagram explained in a blog post. “This will help you better understand where people are being engaged or where you may need to create a stronger hook to have viewers stay longer.”

Another new feature gives creators more insight into how their Reels are contributing to their growth, as creators will now receive a notification when someone starts following them directly from their Reel.

The new updates come at a time when it would make sense for Meta to try to capitalize on the growing scrutiny around TikTok, which has been banned on government devices by numerous countries around the world and currently faces a potential ban in the U.S. Given these circumstances, it’s not surprising that Instagram is beefing up its rival product and making it more appealing to creators.