Do Reels Improve Your Instagram Engagement? (1/2)

Instagram engagement

Have you known that your engagement stats increase after posting an Instagram Reel? You’re not the only one.

Because the short-video format debuted on the platform last year, brands and creators alike have discovered that these posts reel in more than just views. Many marketers have seen the numbers of their followers and engagement rates increase, too. One Instagram creator says she increased 2,800+ followers by posting a Reel every day for a month.

In this article, we will dig into your personal Instagram information and check this theory.

Hypothesis: Posting Reels improves your Instagram engagement

This running hypothesis is that posting an Instagram Reel may have an effective impact on the overall Instagram metrics. In other words, posting Reels may increase the overall engagement and follower growth rates.


Let’s take a look at this example from Hootsuit.

To run this casual experiment, Hootsuite’s social media group carried out its Instagram strategy as planned, which incorporates posting Reels, single-image and carousel posts, and IGTV videos.

The first Reel from Hootsuit was published on January 21, 2021. Over the 40-day period between January 21-and March 3, Hootsuite published 19 posts to its feed together with six Reelsseven IGTV videosfive carousels, and one video. When it comes to frequency, we published a Reel roughly once a week or so.

In terms of discovery, there are a number of variables to account for on Instagram. In every case, the Reels were published to the Reels tab and feed. Some accounts have noticed that the performance of a Reel significantly goes down when it is just posted to the Reels tab. They didn’t test that theory in this experiment.

Others have noted that sharing Reels to Instagram Stories may also have a marked effect on engagement. They shared all of these Reels to Instagram Stories, so remember it as you read the results.

Audio is another way Reels may be found on Instagram. After watching a Reel, viewers can click on the track and discover different videos that sample the same audio. Of the six Reels, they posted, three feature trending tracks, while the other three use unique audio. Finally, all three Reels had hashtags, and none of them were “Featured” by Instagram curators.

Methodology Overview

  • Timeframe: January 21-March 3
  • Number of Reels posted: 6
  • All Reels published to the feed
  • All Reels shared to Instagram Stories


TL;DR: Follower rely on and engagement rate increased, but not at a fee a lot larger than earlier than we began posting Reels. Attain additionally stayed the identical.

Look at Hootsuite’s follower breakdown in Instagram Insights in the picture below. Sure enough, each bump of the green “new follower” line is when a Reel was published.

Follower breakdown:

Hootsuite's Instagram follower breakdown

Source: Hoosuite’s Instagram Insights

“We’ve seen important spikes in our follower count one to three days after posting a Reel. My hypothesis is that these spikes in follower growth got here from our Reels content,” explains Brayden Cohen, Hootsuite social marketing strategist. However, based on Cohen, overall, Hootsuite’s follow and unfollow rate hasn’t changed much.

Let’s jump into the data a bit more.

Note: All stats below were recorded on March 8, 2021.

Reel #1—January 21, 2021

Views: 27.8K, Likes: 733, Comments: 43

Audio: “Level Up,” Ciara

Hashtags: 0

Reel #2—January 27, 2021

Views: 15K, Likes: 269, Comments: 44

Audio: Unique

Hashtags: 7

Reel #3—February 8, 2021

Views: 17.3K, Likes: 406, Comments: 23

Audio: freezer style

Hashtags: 4

Reel #4—February 17, 2021

Views: 7,337, Likes: 240, Comments: 38

Audio: Unique

Hashtags: 1

Reel #5—February 23, 2021

Views: 16.3K, Likes: 679, Comments: 26

Audio: “Dreams,” Fleetwood Mac

Hashtags: 3

Reel #6—March 3, 2021

Views: 6,272, Likes: 208, Comments: 8

Audio: Unique

Hashtags: 0


When it comes to overall reach, Cohen says, “I do see the same increase in # of accounts reached from our Instagram account on dates that we posted Reels.” While there are peaks and troughs, there’s a steady rise in reach over February.

Instagram reach insights graph

Source: Hoosuite’s Instagram Insights


What about engagement? In contrast with the previous 40-day period, the average variety of comments and likes per post is higher.

However, that’s mostly because of the Reels themselves. Also, to have a much higher view rate, “Our Instagram Reels see 300-800 like per post whereas an IGTV and an in-feed video will get between 100-200 likes,” says Cohen. Take the Reels out of the equation, and the engagement rate for both periods is about the same.

So, do Reels enhance your overall Instagram engagement? In Hootsuite’s case, the answer is a bit. The number of followers and engagement rate went up, but not at a rate much higher than before they started posting Reels.

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