Is It Better to Post Photos or Reels On Instagram?

Over the past few years, the IG algorithm has loved Instagram Reels. Content creators can’t stress the importance of video content enough; the proof is in the increased rates of engagement and reach. However, Reels aren’t necessarily being prioritized over photo content by the algorithm anymore. Knowing this, where is the future of managing your social media strategy on Instagram going, and how do these changes impact your business? Let’s talk about which is better to post: photos or Reels on Instagram.


How has Instagram Changed Over the Years?

Before we go down the Instagram algorithm’s rabbit hole, it’s essential to see a timeline of how Instagram has evolved. Intriguing and inviting more customers in by giving them a more profound user experience. Instagram is a fun app and something small businesses and entrepreneurs can use to leverage their businesses. Here is a quick timeline to show the more significant changes Instagram has made in a seemingly short period.

  • 2016: Instagram Story introduced a new way for consumers to connect and was a significant turning point in the app’s overall success.
  • 2017: Instagram introduces Instagram Live, which allows live broadcasts.
  • 2018: Instagram introduces Instagram Shopping. A significant avenue of income opened the door for businesses to make a more significant impact while increasing sale potential and demand.
  • 2020: Instagram introduces Instagram Reels and the ability to use music in Reels, Instagram Shop, and the “Explore” feature to recommend photos and videos based on the user’s searches and interests.
  • 2021: Instagram introduces a ” Guides ” feature, which allows users to create and share posts about their interests and experiences.
  • 2023: The introduction of a Twitter-like platform, Threads.

Boosting Your Instagram Reach and Engagement with Reels and Photos

With all the changes on Instagram in recent years, it’s no wonder social media marketers, managers, and content creators need clarification about what to post. It’s hard to know what type of content to focus on. These marketers are seeking more education on what kind of content their viewers are seeing and the content pushed by the IG algorithm. 

Recently, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said, “We were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far, and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos. We’ve since balanced, so things like how often someone likes photos versus videos, and how often someone comments on photos versus videos are roughly equal — which is a good sign that things are balanced.” You can see more about Adams’s involvement in our previous blog about the new platform by Meta, Threads.

All this information, and still the question to answer: Are Photos or videos more important on Instagram?

There is no cut-and-dry answer! What you need to post on Instagram is tailored to who you serve and how they want to see your content. So, analyzing your results is vital to your Instagram success. 


How to Use Metrics on Instagram

Check your analytics to determine what type of content performs best. If you need help figuring out where to start, read our blog about Why Your Small Business Needs Social Media. While there are a bunch of relevant metrics, we want you to focus on the engagement metrics of your last few reels and photos. Compare likes, comments, shares, and video views. Reels and videos typically generate more initial engagement due to their immersive and interactive nature. Replicate what has performed the best, and a couple of weeks later, revisit your analytics to measure to create your next round of content.


The Instagram Explore Page

The Instagram Explore tab is another way to see what is performing best. With a swift click of a button, you’re on the Instagram Explore tab. This feature easily allows users access to content outside of those they follow. This page is pivotal because your higher-ranking content may show up on Explore, giving you a more significant boost in visibility. Getting there, though, can be challenging. Your posts must perform well on their own before they make it to the Explore tab, making the engagement in the first 30 minutes to an hour after your post goes live the most crucial time to gain traction. So ask yourself- what performed the best for analytics? Did it make it to the Explore page? Is your content relevant to the other content you see on the Explore page? And what can you do better with your next post?

instagram explore tab for optimizing profiles for search engine optimization

How to Increase Watch Time of Reels on Instagram

Videos are more likely to achieve a higher watch time than static photos, giving videos the advantage of ranking higher in users’ feeds. Here are two ways to increase the viewers you’re getting on Reels.

1. Optimize Video Content: Use eye-catching cover photos and pay close attention to the first few seconds of your video to ensure it captures the viewers’ attention right from the start. Add relevant captions with keywords, utilize targeted hashtags, and maintain a consistent posting schedule.

2. Creative Video Content Ideas: Create content your viewers want to see from you (hello, story polls!) The content might be tutorials, behind-the-scenes footage, user-generated content, or product showcases.

Crafting a Harmonious Instagram Feed: Striking the Perfect Balance with Photos

Maintaining a balanced content mix, including high-quality photos, is essential. Photos provide a great space for building your community, and sharing them can encourage a deeper conversation and help boost the possible lack of engagement from Reels.


Instagram Reels Vs. Photos: What Preforms the Best

Videos tend to get more reach, but that doesn’t mean videos are more important; it just means that you have to

  • Follow your analytics and base your content on what is currently working.
  • Experiment with different types of content to read and analyze your analytics again.
  • As digital marketing experts, we believe having both “in your toolbox” for content creation will make your account successful. We encourage businesses and creators to experiment with both formats and observe their audience’s response. 


Stay Updated on Social Media Trends

All in all, Instagram is no longer pushing one or the other. They are both essential to prioritize in your digital marketing strategy. It’s important to note: remember to stay authentic and to adapt your business content strategy accordingly. Social media algorithms constantly evolve, and staying informed is essential if you’re looking to be successful. This may be as deep as stalking the Instagram Creator account for insider tips or being informed and staying up-to-date by reading our monthly blogsMoral of the story: Use both reels and static photos (carousels included!) The algorithm no longer favors one or the other.


Who to Choose for Social Media Marketing: Instagram For Your Small Business

At Express My Media, we understand the power of content in the ever-evolving world of social media algorithms. We know that engaging storytelling, clear calls-to-action, and incorporating relevant keywords and hashtags in addition to high-preforming content are essential for success. With our expertise in social media marketing, we help businesses stand out amidst the algorithmic changes and maximize their reach and engagement on Instagram. Subscribe to our email list and be the first to know about new blogs and a free digital marketing Ebook for small businesses you might see in your inbox! 😉

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