Unfortunately, it turns out we actually kind of like watching Instagram Reels.
When Instagram first launched Reels and promised to pivot the social media platform to video, users were livid. We threw fits. Kylie Jenner demanded that we “make Instagram Instagram again.” And, at first, Reels flopped as a lame version of TikTok.
But, at Meta’s earnings call on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg reported that time spent on Instagram had risen by 24 percent, an engagement increase he blames on Instagram Reels.
“Reels continues to grow quickly on both Facebook and Instagram,” Zuckerberg said in the earnings call. “Reels also continue to become more social with people resharing Reels more than 2 billion times every day, doubling over the last six months. Reels are also increasing overall app engagement and we believe that we’re gaining share in short-form video too.”
Reels aren’t just doing well because we’re seeing our friends and favorite influencers post them, though. A big part of the reason we’re all so sucked into Reels is, Zuckerberg said, because of artificial intelligence. He said the ranking systems and AI recommendations have “driven a lot of the results that we’re seeing today across our discovery engine, Reels, and ads.”
While Zuckerberg didn’t give us any daily breakdown of Reels users, he said the monthly active users rose for all of Meta’s apps combined. Meta CFO Susan Li said on the call that the company isn’t quantifying “expected engagement growth” for Reels, but it is happy with what they’ve seen. “It’s clear that people value short-term video,” Li said, according to Business Insider.
This comes just a few weeks after Instagram launched new tools for Instagram Reels creators, including new metrics, gifts, and a space designed for users to “find inspiration” through trending audio and hashtags. It’s surely a ploy for continued engagement, but, hey, it seems to be working.
Meta also reported a $28.6 billion first-quarter revenue — showing 3 percent year-on-year revenue growth. But the company also noted a $5.7 billion net profit — a $523 million decline — partly due to the restructuring costs related to some 21,000 job cuts. Shares jumped a mighty 12 percent following the meeting.