The list features creators from the length and breadth of the country – from Patiala to Darjeeling. How can brands leverage their reach?
As part of its ‘We Are In The Making’ campaign, leading social media platform Instagram has just announced a list of . Since Instagram Reels’ launch in 2020, more and more people have been spending time on the app to create and view short videos or ‘Reels’.
The list has been curated by a mixed jury of influencers like Kusha Kapila and Masoom Minawala; actress Sara Ali Khan; music composer GV Prakash; Nikhil Taneja, co-founder and CEO of Yuvaa; Aju Philip, co-founder of and Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships, Facebook India.
Ever since 2020, Instagram has been growing, and events that happened during the year have accelerated its growth. When COVID-induced lockdown was first announced in India in March 2020, people began spending more time on social media, than ever before. Then, on June 29, popular short (15-second) video platform TikTok was banned in the country.
Shortly after TikTok (which is owned by Chinese media company ByteDance) was banned, Instagram announced the arrival of Reels on July 11. Reels was Instagram’s answer to TikTok. It was launched in 50-plus countries and allowed the users to access a new set of editing tools, which included options like AR effects.
According to a report by leading American online newspaper TechCrunch, Instagram’s deals with major record labels mean that the users won’t have to wonder if their sound will later be removed due to a rights issue. It will offer various musical content right out of the gate.
There are two sections on the Instagram app where Reels can be accessed. One through the explore page, and through the Reels tab. Reels also show up in the feed, thanks to the accounts you follow. In July 2021, Instagram expanded the duration of Reels (videos) from 15 to 30 seconds.
“The end objective is content discovery. The users are shown Reels mostly from the accounts they don’t follow so that they can discover more types of content they may like. Reels from the accounts you follow will show up on your feed. You can find Reels from the accounts you don’t follow in the explore section or the Reels tab,” explains Chopra.
The 25 Under 25 list features creators from the length and breadth of the country – from Patiala to Chennai, and Ahmedabad to Darjeeling. It also features influencers who specialise in different niches. From beatboxer Surya MKR () to mental health advocate Divija Bhasin (), and trans activist Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju (@trintrin) to entertainment sensations Rupa Ram () and Sagar Pop ().
All the creators represent varied interests. The list also features regional language creators like Kushal Mistry from Ahmedabad, who creates Gujarati content.
Gen Z tends to be a bit sceptical about the content the influencers create, especially branded collaboration. Chopra informs us that the influencers can establish authenticity through their content and by fostering connections with their audiences.
“We just provide them with a platform to publish and access their content. It’s up to how the individual content creator interacts with his audience and forms a connection with them. We don’t tell the influencers how to create authentic content,” says Chopra.
How does Instagram help brands when it comes to influencer marketing?
An Instagram India spokesperson says that the brands are essentially looking for one thing, and that is business impact. This could be in the form of sales or salience.
“Leveraging branded content with the creators, is a way to deliver on both the objectives. The authentic relationship between people and their followers, means that there’s a natural affinity for people to interact with the creators, public figures and brands alike. This is why 90 per cent of people on Instagram follow a brand,” he mentions.
However, not all the creators are happy with Instagram. Many complain that the app’s algorithm limits their reach, and their content doesn’t reach the intended audience. “One of the main misconceptions we want to clear up is the existence of a single algorithm. Instagram doesn’t have a singular algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. We use a variety of algorithms for every section of the app,” clarifies Chopra.
He admits that there is no secret sauce for visibility on the platform. If the creators create content for the app’s different sections (Stories, feed and Reels), then they will eventually garner visibility.
Beyond creating conversations around a brand, Instagram also allows companies and business accounts to run branded content ads. Instagram also gives its users an option to run ads on Reels. These ads are full screen and vertical, similar to those seen in the Stories segment of the app, and will appear in between individual Reels. As with regular Reels content, these ads will loop and can be up to 30 seconds long. People can comment, like, view, save and share Reels ads.