Nest + Meta Webinar: Unlocking the potential of Reels

Since launching Reels on Instagram in 2020, Meta has turned on the afterburners and not looked back. Quickly scaling, it now reaches billions of users all around the world across both Instagram and Facebook.

The platform’s trajectory reflects that of short-form video more broadly, providing marketers with a treasure trove of comparatively cost-effective advertising opportunities that can deliver big returns if exploited effectively. 

Amid this quickly shifting landscape, we hosted ‘Nest + Meta: Reels unlocked’ – a series of talks held at Meta’s Kings Cross office to discuss the world of Reels and how marketing teams can extract the most value from the platform.  

From Meta Agency Partner Sahil Jhamb’s take on the growth of the video marketing to our very own Luke Jonas and Rodrigo Aspillaga diving into Nest’s performance prospects, all three presentations can be watched in this 35-minute on-demand webinar.

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Where does Reels’ fit in the short-form video ecosystem

Luke set the scene with a bird’s eye view of Reels’ position in the short-form video ecosystem. 

It has an obvious and formidable competitor which some will say is a big problem: TikTok. Launched in the UK in September 2017, the platform was only used by 1.8% of smartphone users. 

But it didn’t take long to lift off. In 2019 Nest ran its first test on TikTok, and in 2020, amid the pandemic and lockdowns, we saw its first real surge in growth. To put TikTok’s rise into perspective, it took four years to reach a billion active users – half the time it took Meta.

However, Reels hasn’t been left in sidelined. Today, it actually has more users than TikTok and is in the same ballpark in terms of revenue. Indeed, the $10 billion that Reels makes in ad revenue is almost equivalent to what TikTok generates as an entire business. And given how much focus Meta is placing on Reels, this monetisation is only likely to increase. 

For marketers, this is good news – as is the fact that Reels is improving in terms of performance.

The two go hand in hand. Our data shows a 60% uptick in conversion rates in Q1 2024 versus the same period last year, and this trajectory of performance will only entice marketers to spend more money on the platform. 

The beauty of Reels is that it remains extremely cheap to leverage. Nest clients are taking advantage of this and increasing their spend, with Q1 seeing a 38% year-over-year uptick. Yes, Reels arrived back in 2020. However, as our findings show, there is still a lot to be gained from enhancing presence on the platform today. 

How brand can crack Reels

Rodrigo built on Luke’s scene-setting, picking up where he left off by outlining where Reels fits into the marketing funnel, and explaining the nuances of Reels metrics compared to other parts of the Metaverse. 

Interestingly, Nest data shows that targeted Reels achieve a 186% higher conversation rate than Reels which are auto allocated as part of a broader campaign centred around non-Reels-specific metrics. This also translates into improved cost per acquisition performance, which is 44% lower for targeted Reels.  

What about the content itself? 

Here, Rodrigo highlighted his ‘Reels Greatest Hits’, introducing five types of Reels creatives which are proven to perform well. From “try-ons” to “how-tos”, he explained how proven formulas can be leveraged to great effect.  

The process to pay attention to is the three I’s: Ideate. Iterate. Imitate. 

Spread over a period of four months, it involves a continuous cycle of reviewing, refining, producing and testing. Results from month one being fed into the process for month three, while results from month two are fed into month four. By the end, you should arrive at appoint where you can imitate, iterate, and innovate moving forwards. 

For this process to work, volume is imperative – this being arguably the biggest obstacle to success. Content fatigues faster on Reels, so companies constantly need to develop fresh creative. 

It may be that it makes sense to produce this in house. However, if scalability is an issue, then partnering with creators and influencers can be other avenues worth exploring to lighten the load. 

The key thing to understand is that every business is different, and the approach that works for one brand may not necessarily work for another. With that said, however, our view is that creator content is the most viable means of cracking Reels.

While it may present challenges in relation to quality assurance and brand alignment, adopting a cradle-to-grave process from storyboard to production and quality assurance can go a long way in mitigating the drawbacks and enabling the merits to blossom.

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