Instagram just brought four key updates to help Reels creators: Reels Trends, Enhanced Editing Tools, Improved Insights and Gift Expansion.

Instagram recently put out a blog post and video from Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, explaining the new features.

  • Central destination to find trending audio and hashtags
  • Redesigned editing experience bringing together video clips, audio, stickers, and text
  • New insights on total watch time and average watch time to help you better understand how your reels are performing, plus new recognitions for hitting key milestones
  • Updates to gifts, including an easier way to recognize fans and bringing gifts to more creators internationally

What’s trending on Instagram Reels?

The first update allows creators to see what’s trending on Reels. Whether you’re looking to see the hottest music to use in your next short-form video or want some fresh inspiration, the new Reels Trends section is a dedicated destination of top trending songs, hashtags and topics. You can see how many times an audio track has been used and easily use it yourself or save it for later.

This feature is starting for creators in the US, before rolling out to more markets. You’ll find it in your Professional Dashboard, under Tips and resourcesReels Trends.

With comedy sketches, the audio has to be right and correlate to the mood of the video. A dramatic track helps the storytelling. I’m always on the lookout for audio, so this will allow me to save a bunch of sounds that are trending. As I begin the editing process, I’ll be able to quickly find saved audio that’s also trending.

Sachin Kumar, @sckachi, comedy creator in LA

Sometimes there’s pressure to stay in your niche as a creator. These trending topics will allow me to stretch myself and step outside of my normal bubble of conversation. For example, if basketball is trending although I’m a beauty creator, I can adapt that to speak about how skin care is still essential even during sports.

Schae B, @schaebreezy_, LA-based beauty creator

Overhauled Reels editing tool

Instagram are also improving Reels editing, making the interface similar to TikTok. By bringing together video clips, audio, stickers and text on to one unified editing screen, users can align and time elements easier than ever before. This is a change to the traditional editing process which used separate screens for each content type.

This one is available globally today across iOS and Android devices, with “even more exciting tools to come”.

See your Reels watch time

It’s important for creators to be able to see how their content is performing across social media platforms. This data helps you understand what content is and isn’t working, therefore informing future content ideas. Instagram have launched two new Reels metrics: total watch time and average watch time. Total watch time shows the total amount of time your Reel was played, including time spent replaying. Average watch time, as the name suggests, shows the average amount of time spent playing your Reel. This is calculated by dividing the watch time with the number of total plays.

Users can see these metrics and more right from the Reel itself. Also, you can start receiving notification anytime someone follows from your Reel, giving you an idea of how your short-videos are contributing to your growth.

The number of views is just one part of assessing the performance of your Reels. It’s really important to go in and understand how your Reels are performing based on specific variables. I’m often testing different hooks or opening lines. Seeing the watch time will help me understand where viewers dropped off and then I can adjust the hook from there. Insights help me bridge the gap between me as a creator and my audience. I may think a video is amazing, but seeing watch time will allow me to better understand where my viewers are engaged.

Sachin Kumar, @sckachi, comedy creator in LA

Sometimes I’ll reshoot a video based on video insights. For example, I learned that people stopped watching if I was holding a product in my beauty tutorials for too long so I tailored my editing to make these scenes shorter and keep viewers engaged.

Schae B, @schaebreezy_, LA-based beauty creator

Gifts are getting improved and expanding to more markets

Last but not least, Instagram are improving and expanding gifts. Gifts on Reels started rolling out last year, allowing fans to show their appreciation by tipping creators. Fan can purchase and send gifts with Instagram’s in-app currency – stars. Creators earn money from these gifts.

Gifts are available now in the US and expanding to Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, New Zealand, and the UK in the coming weeks.

Along with the expansion of this feature, you can now also see which fans have sent you a gift and show recognition, with a new heart icon beside each supporter. Your fan will receive a notification that you’ve seen and appriciate their gift, creating a stronger connection between you and your supporters.

Artists around the world can start earning money on Reels, by uploading and monetizing their content across Facebook and Instagram, for free with RouteNote.