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Advertisers Are Struggling with Instagram’s TikTok Clone, Reels

Instagram owner Meta is trying to ease advertisers into the new format — including by asking them to test their ideas on TikTok

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Photographer: Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto/Getty Images
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Reels — the short videos that Facebook and Instagram are pushing — are getting more popular, parent company Meta Platforms Inc. says. The hard part will be turning that attention into advertising revenue.

Advertisers say that the format, which Facebook copied from ByteDance Ltd.’s hot app TikTok, is difficult to get right. Videos are more complicated than still images, the cultural trends are always changing, and users expect Reels to be entertaining, enjoyable and relevant to each individual person— including the ads — as they take up an entire phone screen.