Most Reels users have no engagement, internal document shows

An internal Meta document shows that Instagram Reels has a long way to go before it can catch up with its main rival TikTok.

According to the document obtained and reported by the Wall Street Journal, Instagram users now spend 17.6 million hours watching Reels on a daily basis, ten times less than 197.8 million hours TikTok users spend on the platform each day. 

The document, titled ‘’Creators x Reels State of Union 2022’’ and dated August, also shows that Reels engagement had decreased 13.6% over the last four weeks, and “most Reels users have no engagement whatsoever.”

One of the reasons why Instagram fell short of its expectations is that the majority of its users don’t post Reels on the platform. While the company has over 11 million content creators in the United States, only 20% of them share Reels on a monthly basis, according to the document.

Devi Narasimhan, Senior Communications Manager at Instagram, stated that the figures for viewing hours are “outdated” and do not represent global numbers. She didn’t, however, provide any details about the other figures.

We still have work to do,” Narasimhan said, as reported by the WSJ. “But creators and businesses are seeing promising results, and our monetization growth is faster than we expected as more people are watching, creating and connecting through Reels than ever before,” she added.

The document also revealed that almost one third of Reels circulating on Instagram are coming from TikTok. Back in April, Instagram’s Head Adam Mosseri announced that they’d downrank reposted videos to give more credit to creators that share original content.

We’ve been forthright that Reels that are visibly recycled from other apps won’t be recommended as often,” Narasimhan told Business Insider. “Our community has told us they prefer to see Reels that are uniquely made for Instagram — this is what they find the most entertaining and inspiring.

In July 2021, Meta announced that it would pay $1 billion to Facebook and Instagram creators through 2022. According to the document, Instagram Reels has paid out only $120 million so far.

Meta’s suite of monetization product offerings is largely in-line with competitive offerings, though limited product scale results in fewer paid creators / low % of payouts,” the document continued.

The spokesperson said the figure is out of date and that it doesn’t include other payments made to Facebook creators as part of $1B fund. 

Written by Maya Robertson

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