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Meta For Small Businesses: The Official Reels Guide

Not long ago, we delved into the workings of Meta algorithms within their product suite. Just recently, users have once again sparked discussions surrounding the company's official guide on content ranking across Instagram and Facebook. Gone are the days of hypothesis testing; unlocking views is now attainable post-absorption of 84 pages of developer insights. Rest assured, we'll shed light on all the pivotal details right here.

In today's landscape, our thinking has evolved into a clip-based mentality: with a torrent of information, there's a desire to absorb and grasp it faster. Short videos represent a significant leap in the evolution of creating, consuming, and disseminating engaging content. Whether it's a narrative-rich story, a glimpse into an influencer's everyday lifestyle, an educational clip, or mesmerizing footage of natural phenomena, the more diverse the content in this format, the better.

Reels are invaluable for brands to create and share. They not only help brands integrate into cultural contexts and stay on-trend but also organically attract audiences and new customers. 

By adhering to creative recommendations, short Instagram videos enable achieving remarkable results compared to other advertising platforms:

  • A 16% reduction in cost per action.
  • A 13% increase in return on advertising investment.
  • A 29% increase in conversion rates.
  • An 11% growth in user reach.

The Language of Reels and Its Basic Principles

The Reels video format provides a vast playground for content experimentation. The primary criteria for successful content are that videos should entertain, evoke emotions, or teach users something new. All of this should be presented in a light-hearted manner.

The so-called "Language of Reels" has several distinctive features:

Emphasis on emotional response. To evoke a reaction from users, diverse content should be posted. Diversity lies in the combination of audio, visual effects, and a creative approach to storytelling.

Successful short videos are easily digestible. Attention should be paid to the appropriateness of the video's pace, conveyed values, and clear messages.

After watching Reels, the viewer feels emotional closeness. Touching stories, behavior templates, and visual impact are all suitable approaches that allow the creator to establish a personal connection with the user.The majority of content consumers note a preference for "imperfection," sincerity, and simplicity in brand publications.

A Brief History: What to Include in Your Video?

Behind every seemingly spontaneous and unplanned video lies a specific structure. Before diving into the filming process, Meta recommends preparing a storyboard copy of the creative, having writing materials ready, and stocking up on imagination.

The Beginning - Capturing Attention: Quality Reels videos grab the viewer's attention from the very first seconds. Key techniques for a strong start include using audio, engaging the audience, offering value (implying reciprocity), sparking curiosity, and recreating a relatable situation that prompts a response.

The Middle - Holding Attention: A successful video is relevant and offers value to the viewer. For instance, in the case of advertising a new product, it's essential to demonstrate its practicality in real-time, describing its functionality and purpose. Information can even be presented in a playful manner.

The End of the Video - the 'Reward' for Attention: Upon completion, the viewer should derive value, gain useful insights, be prompted to take action, or be invited to participate in the creator's future endeavors.

Types of Reels

This refers to a set of the most common narratives on the platform. It's not always necessary to create a video from scratch; sometimes, adapting existing content to one of the popular formats is sufficient.

  1. Photo Dumps: a collection of randomly selected images and videos synchronized with music.
  2. 'Which Type Are You?' List: presenting situations, characters, or objects that viewers can relate to.
  3. Fact Compilation: breaking down the video into several segments, each sequentially filled with information to create an overall impression of the subject.
  4. Transition Sequences: a visual effect that adds dynamism to the video.
  5. Behind the Scenes: showing the process of creating the final product or item.
  6. Point of View (POV): a story that evokes an emotional response.
  7. Before/After: showcasing the positive impact when the main subject of the video appears.
  8. Educational Course: an excellent way to share interesting knowledge, experience with the audience, or explain complex information in simple terms.

Other Sources of Ideas

Developing awareness and sourcing content ideas can be achieved through various methods. Authors are encouraged to analyze trends, observe postings from similar profiles, strategize content plans around significant holidays or events. To gain a clearer understanding of their audience's needs, it's recommended to gather feedback from the audience through surveys or by creating a question box.

Testing Advertising Formats: Developing Campaign Strategies Aimed at High Performance

To increase reach and elicit responses to published content, integrating short video formats is crucial. What's the strategy for success in promoting a video clip?

Step 1: Planning

This stage begins with conceptualizing the advertising campaign. Developing the concept requires storyboarding the creative and briefing it accordingly.

Step 2: Creation

It's essential to consider the recommendations for Reels creatives. Start by shooting the video in a 9:16 format. Then, utilize Instagram's suggested tools: overlay music with subsequent adjustments, effects, adding a second camera, and gesture control. The most critical aspect is to avoid overlaying Reels interface elements on text elements, stickers, and other significant objects. Also, don't forget about the 'language of short videos.'

Step 3: Advertising Publication and Performance Measurement

For the purpose of automating and optimizing processes, Meta suggests using Advantage+ creative and selecting Advantage+ placements to enhance results.

Additional Information

Often, the majority of user inquiries can be grouped into several main directions. In its Meta guide, the company addresses a series of common questions from creators.

Question: Where can I find up-to-date information on new features and trends in Reels?

Answer: In Meta's Creative Hub, you can find creative ideas, tools, and recommendations for small business companies. We also recommend regularly visiting the Instagram for Business website, where announcements of new features and useful tips are posted.

Question: What is the difference between advertising in Reels and video advertising?  

Answer: Reels advertising is one type of video advertising. "Reels" is both the ad placement and the creative format for video advertising. The optimal Reels creative is a full-screen 9:16 video with an immersive effect. Unlike traditional video advertising, Reels advertising is intended to be viewed with sound, and it should be emotionally engaging, easy to understand, and captivating.

Question: Should all advertising campaigns be created as Reels ads?                            

Answer: No, you simply need to add Reels creative and Reels placement to your existing campaign strategy. It is recommended to select Advantage+ placements with Reels creative to achieve the best results. In this case, Meta's automation tools will help select the most effective placement for the creative, including Reels placements. Reels creative can also be published in other placements that accept video content (such as Stories and the feed).

Question: What if I'm not ready to invest in creating engaging, emotionally engaging, and easy-to-understand Reels ads?                                                                                                

Answer: Implementing a Reels creative concept requires a shift in thinking and a new approach to content creation. The first step is to choose a 9:16 aspect ratio with sound. It is recommended to experiment with engaging, emotionally engaging, and easy-to-understand organic Reels videos. As you become ready, you can use the most effective of these videos in your advertising campaign, conducting an A/B test beforehand to assess effectiveness compared to ads using regular creative.

Question: I have video assets, but their aspect ratio is not 9:16. Can I convert them into Reels creative?                                                                                                                                  

Answer: Yes, most likely such assets can be converted and used. When uploading assets in Ads Manager, you can see the option to crop them to a 9:16 aspect ratio. If necessary, you can also trim the video.

Question: I have video assets, but they don't have sound. What should I do?                  

Answer: Ads Manager provides access to music for advertising campaigns regardless of their goals. Currently, only free music from Meta's Sound Collection is available. You can add music to Ads Manager using the Creative Editor or Advantage+ creative. Follow the instructions provided here for assistance.


When acquiring new knowledge or refreshing basic information, it's important to immediately apply the skills learned in practice! Test yourself and use the cheat sheet to create better Reels creative.

  1. Planning Phase: At this stage, the creation of a storyboard for Reels video and a creative brief is completed.
  2. Choosing the Video Creation Method: This can be an organic template, built-in creation and automation tools, or collaboration with other creators.
  3. Following Recommendations: Video shooting should occur in a 9:16 format, considering potential overlay of Reels interface elements on readable objects in the video.
  4. Audio Usage: Creating Reels videos requires an audio track with commercial use rights or your own audio (e.g., voiceover).
  5. Video Objects: Foundational objects in the video are suitable for storyboarding.

Apply these steps diligently to enhance the quality of your Reels creative and drive engagement!


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