India is ‘very critical’ for photo and video sharing app Instagram and the launch of Reels has led to an ‘explosive growth’ in consumption and creation of short video content on the platform, said Facebook’s India managing director Ajit Mohan in an interview.
Referring to the launch of other short video apps in the country following the ban on Chinese TikTok, Mohan said the space is ‘extraordinarily competitive’ and Facebook — which owns Instagram — expects the competition to intensify.
Reels was test launched a week after the ban was imposed June 29 on 59 Chinese apps including TikTok following border hostilities.
There is already a separate Reels tab for Indian users, but now the company has also launched the first consumer marketing campaign for the feature in the country. India is the first market globally where a Reels consumer marketing campaign is being launched.
The Instagram advertising campaign — ‘Do Your Thing’ — launched on Sunday during the IPL will have multiple creatives appearing on TV and digital and will continue through the rest of the year. The first set of advertisements that went on air includes four films.
“Today, four out of five most shared songs from the music ticker globally are of Indian artists. Two out of five songs shared the most globally on Reels are from Indian artists. Discovery through Reels has been driving very strong follower growth for creators in India,” he said.
“Even without any overt effort, we are seeing both new creators as well as public figures and celebrities leveraging Reels in the last couple of months. Instagram growth has been pretty strong over the last few years even before Reels. Reels has contributed to the continued momentum including explosive growth in consumption and creation of short form videos,” he added.
Mohan said the current focus is not on monetisation of the feature.
“Given that Instagram as a platform even beyond Reels has been a natural home for partnerships between people, influencers and brands, we are seeing great advertiser interest. In fact, we are seeing a lot of brands organically using Reels. It is all organic given the nature of Instagram but we are leaning in and making sure that we are programatically connecting the dots between influencers creators and brands as well,” he added.
Talking about the Bois Locker Room incident which spurred safety and abuse concerns on Instagram, Mohan said the company was clear it had to ‘lean in’ to make the experience safer and protect people from harassment and bullying.
“On Instagram, the focus has been on building features that fight bullying, improve equity. There is a strong focus on fairness and mental health and the idea of people feeling supported. We have announced a whole bunch of new features and we will continue to do so,” he said.
“For example, we have now made it easier to manage unwanted interactions. We are testing a new feature that automatically hides potentially offensive comments. We are giving people the power to choose who can tag or mention them in a comment, caption or a story. We are looking at other ways to highlight positive comments.”