As a marketing designer, you're more than just a content creator—you're a storyteller.
Every day, you breathe life into your brand's story, translating its values and vision into a language that resonates with your audience.
It all comes together to tell a compelling story that sets your brand apart in the bustling digital marketplace.
And now, there's a new tool for your design kit: Instagram Reel Templates.
Instagram Reel Templates are your secret sauce in the fast-paced world of social media. This relatively new Instagram feature empowers you to shape your brand narrative in a dynamic, engaging, and visually compelling way every time you post.
Ready to see how these templates can transform your Instagram strategy? Let's learn more.
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Instagram Reels: your stage in the digital sphere
Before understanding the potential marketing impact of Instagram Reels Templates, let's do a quick recap of Instagram Reels.
Reels provide short, entertaining videos. This post format delivers your message in engaging and dynamic video clips with audio tracks that attract a wide audience.
They differ from Instagram Stories, which only appear for 24 hours at the top of your followers' feeds.
Instagram's Reels feature rivals the video creation and sharing platform TikTok.
TikTok's specialized features for editing and enhancing short video clips provide tools for online entertainment and community-building.
We'll compare these two digital products with reels below.
Comparing Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories features
|Instagram Reels||Instagram Stories|
|Format||Short videos (from 15 seconds to 90 seconds, 15 minutes in special cases) that can be set to music, edited, and shared||Short videos (up to 60 seconds) that can be enhanced with text, stickers, drawings, and other dynamic content|
|Visibility||Can be shared to your Feed, the Explore tab, and your Profile. Everyone on Instagram can view them if your profile is public||Can be shared to your Story, which is visible to your followers at the top of their Feed, and can also be sent directly to other users. Visibility depends on your privacy settings|
|Lifespan||Permanent unless deleted by the user. They reside in the Reels tab on your profile. They can also be added to the post feed||Disappear after 24 hours but can be saved to Highlights on your profile for longer viewing|
|Interactivity||Limited interactivity: users can like, comment, and share. No direct reply feature||High interactivity: users can reply directly to stories, use interactive stickers like polls and questions, and tap on Link stickers to visit web pages|
|Editing features||Advanced editing features, including align and trim, AR effects, and the option to use audio from Instagram's Music Library or original audio. There's also a countdown timer and speed controls||Basic editing features, such as text, stickers, and drawing tools. There's also the option to add music and use some AR filters|
|Purpose||Typically used for more polished creative content, including dances, tutorials, and other viral challenges||Often used for more casual, day-to-day content and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Also used for quick updates, announcements, and direct engagement with followers|
Instagram Stories was introduced in 2016 as a way for users to create and share interactive video content with their followers. Once a user has watched a story, it moves to the far right at the top of their feed. Your stories are cleared after one day.
You can create story highlights to keep them at the top of your Instagram profile, but only followers visiting your profile can watch and interact with them. Non-followers can also access story highlights if your brand has a public account.
But when you post your creative video content as reels, you open up the possibility of reaching more people in your target audience. Why? Because reels can appear in the post feed and are shown based on signals that could match various Instagram users' interests.
What’s more, if your brand account has a public profile, your reels are also discoverable by non-followers.
This means you can use Instagram Reels to create more brand awareness and engage new potential customers who may not be familiar with your brand. For example, if you use a trending audio track, your reels could be shown to a broader audience already engaging with other videos using the same audio.
Comparing Instagram Reels and TikTok features
|Video length||From 15 seconds up to 90 seconds, 15 minutes in special cases||Up to 3 minutes (recorded) and 10 minutes (uploaded)|
|Discoverability||Emphasizing discovery through the addition of a section with top trending hashtags and songs||Traditionally strong discovery through "For You" page, trending songs, and other algorithmic recommendations|
|Editing tools||Revamped editor for easier alignment and timing of elements, adding effects and audio||Variety of editing tools, effects, and sounds|
|Templates||Users can use the timing and structure of other Reels as a template for their own, adding their own content to recreate more complex formats||TikTok offers a simpler way to start creating videos with its templating option, which is somewhat similar to Instagram's Reel Templates|
|Music library||Extensive, but availability varies by region||Extensive and generally available worldwide|
|Audience interaction||Notifications for new followers gained from reels||Notifications for new followers, duet and stitch features for user interaction|
|Engagement metrics||Detailed metrics such as total and average watch time readily accessible||Detailed analytics for TikTok Pro accounts|
|Monetization||Creators can receive "Gifts" as a form of monetization, and show brand partnership sticker in their content||Creators can earn through the Creator Fund, live gifts, and brand partnerships|
|Shopping integration||Strong ecommerce integration; users can shop directly from posts||Ecommerce features are growing, but less integrated than Instagram|
TikTok's premise is simple yet captivating: it's a platform for users to create and publish 15-second to three-minute long videos. These are often set to music, showcasing everything from dance challenges to comedy skits, tutorials, and more.
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The app's extensive editing features and algorithmic discovery feed have made it exponentially popular, inspiring creativity and launching global viral trends.
Instagram Reels, introduced as a response to TikTok's popularity, mirrors many of these features. It offers a similar platform within the Instagram ecosystem for bite-sized, engaging video content.
So, how can Instagram Reels Templates help you gain more interest within the Instagram ecosystem? Let's take a closer look.
What’s an Instagram Reel Template?
Instagram Reel Templates are more than just design elements; they're strategic assets. They streamline your content creation process, ensure brand consistency, and, most importantly, help you engage your audience.
Reel templates also enable you to copy the clip timings of an existing reel, saving time and effort.
Time-stamped templates help to guide your content creation by simplifying the process of editing reels.
Before, you had to estimate the duration of video clips to match a particular audio track and manually edit them. However, you can now insert your image and video files into a pre-made template.
Here's a simple analogy: think of an Instagram Reel Template as a recipe for a dish. The recipe (template) provides you with the steps (time stamps) and the order in which to add your ingredients (video clips). All you need to do is follow the recipe to create your dish (reel).
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These templates can be accessed directly in the reels video editor, or you can choose to use the template of an existing reel that inspires you. Using reel templates means you can create high-quality, professional-looking reels that are consistently on-brand.
Are you ready to try reel templates for creating original reels while saving substantial effort in content creation? Read below for our reel template guide.
Step-by-step guide: Time to start using Instagram Reel Templates
There are a few valuable tips to consider when designing high-quality reels for your brand account. And setting up your own reel templates is perfect for delivering consistent content with pre-set music and clip durations.
We've put this process into 5 steps:
Step 1: set up your design file
Before you start, ensure you've set the right size for your reel designs. Remember that there shouldn't be any important information near the image borders where the sharing buttons will appear.
Another factor to consider is that if you have a specific audio track in mind (for instance, a trending song), you should make sure your animated designs and video clip timings are not too short or long. This would lead to audio pauses or cut-offs.
Step 2: define your brand aesthetic
Successful Instagram Reel Templates are an extension of your brand's visual language. Start by defining the aesthetic that best represents your brand.
Is it minimalistic and clean, or vibrant and energetic? Your design should be a clear reflection of your brand identity.
Logos, color schemes, and typography are all brand elements that should be consistently represented in your Instagram Reels. Another reason reel templates are indispensable for brand accounts is that they help keep a uniform look and feel across your reel posts.
Looking for design inspiration? You’ll also soon be able to use professional, pre-made Instagram Reel design templates right inside Linearity Curve.
Step 3: focus on functionality
Instagram Reel Templates should facilitate your storytelling, not hinder it.
Prioritize functionality. Ensure the text is legible and used sparingly. Your images should be crisp with a high resolution, and video frame transitions should be smooth.
Your design elements must support your content. Keep the focus on the message you want to bring across to your potential customer and work your content ideas around the reels feature.
Step 4: edit and post
Once you have all your design and video assets ready, tap on the plus icon ("Create") at the top of your screen on Instagram and select "Reel."
Choose music from Instagram's Music Library or add original audio. You can also use original audio from other reels. Some creators recommend starting with a song or audio clip and tweaking your video timing accordingly.
Step 5: experiment and iterate
The best designs come from constant experimentation and iteration. Don't be afraid to try new things with your reel templates.
Keep an eye on what works and what doesn't, and refine your templates accordingly.
Using a template via the reels video editor
You can access Instagram Reel Templates within the reels video editor by navigating to the "Reels" tab and tapping the camera icon. Or, you can tap on “Your Story” and slide to the “Reel” tab.
Go to the "Templates" tab in the video editor, and look for a template you like. Then, tap "Use Template."
You'll then be prompted to add photos or videos from your camera roll to customize your reel template.
Using a template via the reels feed
You can also repurpose an existing reel's template by scrolling your reels feed until you see a reel with a "Use Template" sticker icon. The other option is tapping the three-dot menu icon in the bottom right-hand corner and selecting "Use As Template."
Once selected, you'll see the time stamps for each clip in the reel and can tap "Add Media" to replace the clips with your own marketing content. You'll also see the suggested audio option.
Instagram continues to roll out updates to enhance the reels feature. Recently, they've made it easier to find out what's trending on reels with a new section for discovering the top trending hashtags and songs.
They've also introduced a revamped editor for better timing and alignment of elements, more detailed metrics for reels, and notifications for creators when they get new followers via reels.
Instagram has also expanded the gifts feature to more countries. Instagram Gifts lets fans support creators monetarily via the platform.
Instagram Reels is becoming an essential tool in the marketing designer's toolbox. Learning to use this feature effectively is crucial for successful social media marketing campaigns—so let's check out a list of Instagram Reels best practices.
Best practices: making high-quality content with Instagram Reels
1. Engage with trending topics
Trending topics are your ticket to increased visibility. Incorporate them into your content strategy, and design templates that accommodate these trends.
2. Leverage user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is a gold mine for engagement. Design templates that can showcase UGC and foster a sense of community around your brand.
For instance, you can leverage Instagram Reel Templates specifically for generating UGC by encouraging your viewers and followers to create their own versions using your brand's templates.
3. Optimize for mobile viewing
Remember, Instagram Reels are primarily consumed on mobile devices. Your templates should be optimized for smaller screens in portrait mode to ensure an excellent user experience.
4. Use data to drive decisions
Data is your friend. Analyze your Instagram Insights to understand what's working and what's not. Use these insights to inform your template designs and overall Instagram content strategy.
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Using well-executed reel templates reinforces your brand identity and increases recognition. It's not only about aesthetics—it's about creating a unified brand experience.
Try using original footage as often as possible, and avoid overly branded or stock imagery. People are generally advertising-fatigued and are looking for fresh, new ideas and experiences.
In design, simplicity often speaks louder than complexity. Avoid cluttering your reel templates. Let your message take center stage.
Use text sparingly and make the most of visual cues to convey your brand's voice.
Your reel templates should be versatile enough to accommodate different types of content. Remember, a template is a guide, not a constraint. You don’t have to use the entire template; you can use three or more frames. You can also switch up the audio track if you’d prefer.
Getting real with Instagram Reels
As a marketing designer, you profoundly impact how your brand is perceived and interacted with online. With Instagram Reels, you have a dynamic platform to amplify your brand's narrative and generate new leads.
The power of Instagram Reel Templates lies in their ability to streamline your content creation process while ensuring brand consistency. Incorporating your brand elements into your templates creates a unified and recognizable brand experience across all your reels.
Focusing on functionality and simplicity, your templates can support and enhance your storytelling and keep your audience engaged and wanting more.
Use your templates as a foundation, but don't be afraid to shake things up and try new ideas. Leverage data to inform your decisions and guide your design iterations. Don't just follow the trends—try to understand them, adapt them, and make them your own.
And finally, remember the ultimate goal of your Instagram Reels is to connect with your audience. So seize the opportunity, and let your brand's voice ring loud and clear on the Instagram stage. Your audience is waiting.
From up-to-date social post sizing guides to professional-grade design templates, Linearity Curve offers all the tools you need to design your custom-branded visual content. Are you ready to try new and intuitive design software?
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Take your designs to the next level.
Sharné is a contributing writer to the Linearity Blog.