The Language of Reels: Content That Converts
Entertainment isn't what it used to be. We've gone from scheduled, passive programming to a landscape where entertainment is immediately accessible and globally available. People can capture, edit, and publish content very quickly and easily, producing creative that is more personal, more authentic, and more relatable than ever before. How to best take advantage of this current reality is constantly evolving and uses a language that not everyone speaks.
Rise, a Quad company and Meta partnered to tackle this massive creative opportunity on Meta’s fasting growing content format, Reels. Rohith Bhatia, Business Product Marketing Manager at Meta, and Deanna Devlin, Rise’s Creative Director, teamed up to share how to speak the language of Reels and supercharge your business results.
Business Product Marketing Manager
Deanna DevlinCreative Director
Check out the full webinar video and detailed recap below for everything you need to make Reels content that converts.
Why Reels? Why Now?
Within digital marketing, creative is the top performance difference maker and represents the number one opportunity to take your results to the next level. Meta’s Reels placement is a rich creative canvas where brands can turn attention into action with the right creative. Reels can can surprise us, teach us something we didn't know, or introduce us to a brand or product we haven't met yet.
The Reels system of communication is characterized by a set of trends, culture codes, and visual vocabulary. Because Reels is a language, the stories it can tell are limitless. In fact, any brand – regardless of their product, business size or production budget – can create a great Reel. So the question is, why Reels?
Reels Is Growing
Reels is Meta’s fastest growing content format and a crucial component of Meta's Discovery Engine. Don’t take our word for it though, the numbers prove how much people love consuming this short form, video content.
Reels plays per day
Monthly Meta Users
of time spent on Meta is watching videos
More time spent on Instagram since the launch of Reels
Reels Spark Action
As Reels grow, they are also proving to be formidable drivers of action. These bite-sized, engaging videos are revolutionizing the way brands connect with and convert their audiences. Testing showed that adding Native Reels (creative assets designed specifically for Reels) using the "language of Reels” creative approach, outperforms business-as-usual creative (BAU) for lower-funnel campaign objectives. Check out these Reels driven, material performance gains:
Higher Conversion Rate
Improvement in CPA
of people purchased a product or service after watching Reels.
Adding Strategy to Creative
Now that we understand what Reels can do for your brand, we need to uncover how Rise developing Reels assets and our creative strategy. Rise’s creative team takes a performance-driven approach to creative. Each of our four core capabilities – Brand & Campaign Strategy, Photo & Video Production, Campaign Execution, and Performance Analysis – play a vital role in creating content that resonates with the audience and delivers real value.
Creative, the Rise Way
What sets Rise Interactive apart in this creative arena is our unique approach. The secret lies in the seamless integration of our CX team with channel and client experts. This close partnership empowers us to make data-informed creative decisions, ensuring the content not only looks great but also delivers real results.
Let Your Audience Be The Guide
So, how does Rise Interactive translate these capabilities and approach into compelling content? It's not just about producing a video; it's about crafting a story that authentically and emotionally speaks to a brand’s unique consumer. Rise’s CX team has dissected what it takes to create content that thrives in a specific platform and format.
At Rise, we believe that creative success hinges on finding the right message, for the right person, at the right time. We take a three pronged approach in order to make that happen:
Identify your audience.
We start by identifying and understanding your audience so we can tailor your message. What are their interests, motivations, behaviors, demographics, and affinities? Where is this audience consuming media, how are they purchasing? We dedicate time to use the right tools that uncover insights into how to best influence their journey down the funnel. This audience-first research also provides points of inspiration to frame our content in a way that's most familiar to them.
Define your goals.
In a matter of seconds, your Reels content needs to capture the viewer's attention, deliver your message, and motivate them to take action. To achieve this efficiently, you must define a clear focus for your Reels content. Ask yourself: What do you want to achieve with this Reels ad? Are you looking to boost brand awareness, drive website traffic, increase sales, or simply entertain your audience? Your goals will influence the content, style, and approach we take. Without a defined goal, your content can become aimless and fail to resonate with your target audience.
Sequence your messaging.
Reels are a part of a much larger consumer journey, social commerce, and digital marketing wide ecosystem. For example, you might use Reels for both Awareness and Conversion, and you should take different messaging approaches for each even though you’re using the same placement. We tailor our creative story to the consumer through sequenced messaging that extends across channels, and across Meta.
Sequenced messaging means we build creative and messaging for the specific ad unit or platform based on where the user is in their shopping journey.
By understanding the touch points that we expect our audience to have with a brand, we can create content – informed CTA, proper ad length, messaging tactics that will work, editing styles to try out – that is as meaningful as possible to the viewer in that moment.
If you don’t have the option to shoot custom content for Reels, or work with a creator, Rise can use your existing asset library to create Reels. We can use the tools available like audio, in-app effects, and editing, in the storytelling language of Reels to create assets optimized for this format without having to start from scratch.
Reels Creative Essentials
Before we learn exactly how to speak the language of Reels, you need to know the essentials of Reels creative. Follow these three best practices to make sure your creative is seen, heard, and followed in the most engaging way possible.
Build in 9:16 Video to Captivate.
Reels is a full-screen, immersive video format. Start by creating a 9:16 aspect ratio video to make sure your video is as engaging as possible.
Reels ads that featured 9:16 videos showed a +7 point statistically significant higher average positive response score compared to non-9:16 ads.
Sound-on to Capture Attention.
Audio – whether that's music, voiceover or sound effects – is a key driver of engagement and entertainment on Reels. Unlike many other placements, 80% of Reels are viewed with sound on. The Meta Sound Collection has free music and sound effects you can use to enhance your creative without having to secure your own library.
You also can simply use Meta’s Advantage+ Creative Tool to automatically choose your music and capture attention.
Stay within Safe Zones for Clear Messaging.
To put it simply, people need to be able to see what you're showing them. Work within the safe zones so your text sticker overlays, calls to action, or key messages aren’t obscured by the Reels user interface. Keep the bottom 35% of your 9:16 creative free of text, logos, and other key elements.
Reels ads that violated the Reels safe zone had a 28% lower average click-through rate compared to those within the safe zone.
The Language of Reels
Reels has a style of communicating that's a little bit different. A style that's entertaining, digestible and relatable all at once – the "language of Reels". Pairing the language of Reels with Rise’s audience-first targeting, creates an unmatched approach that drives connection and results with consumers.
Creating videos in the language of Reels can improve cost-per-incremental conversion by up to 51%.
Once you've mastered the creative essentials, focus on these three defining qualities of the language of Reels: Entertaining, Digestible, and Relatable.
Make It Entertaining
Great Reels ads provoke an emotional response through a mix of music, visual effects and storytelling. They can entertain us by sharing something useful, by making us smile or by satisfying our curiosity.
BMW Mini leaned into entertaining Reels with a full funnel campaign using editing techniques within the app like transitions, jump cuts, swipe cuts, and pacing. For a more simplified videography approach, use lo-fi treatments and any additional tools outside of the app when an idea requires it.
Carlton Dry partnered with creators whose sense of humor resonated with their audiences to keep things entertaining. If you set up a joke, people will usually stick around for the punchline.
Try this: Experiment with using the first 3 seconds to nail the hook.
Make It Digestible
Great Reels ads respect the limited time their audiences have by being direct, immediate, and easy to understand. Stories on Reels can be very simple things that focus on the pace to capture, maintain, and reward attention.
Sappo stitched together a series of bite-sized product videos into a mesmerizing, simple transition sequence that also shows their wide variety of products. As long as its entertaining and easy to understand, a single moment is enough to reward the attention of your viewer.
Magal distilled their proposition into a single line that they used in the opening of this ad, which walks through their product features in a succinct way. Always think ‘what would my audience want to know?’ rather than ‘what do I want to tell them?’. Then make sure the message lands easily, seamlessly and intuitively with your audience.
Try this: Use both text and voiceover to strengthen key brand and product takeaways. Text stickers are also a great way to make sure that you land a strong call to action at the end of your Reel.
Make It Relatable
Great Reels ads are unvarnished and spontaneous. Try using recognizable stories, visuals and shared behavior to create a relatability that can help bring brands closer to their audiences. Don’t focus on painting a brand world that’s impossibly aspirational – just find an everyday moment that your brand could be a part of. And highlight it to demonstrate your humanity and empathy.
Prose used the Q&A format - a common story type on Reels - to turn their features and benefits into a conversation between two people (or more accurately, one person pretending to be two people!). Find a common pain point and turn it into a human story. Think about the problems your brand could solve, then think about how you could turn that into a story.
Adore Me recognized that they needed to communicate not through their brand language, but through the language of Reels to connect with audiences. Don’t worry about pitch-perfect brand delivery. Instead, swap actors for real people; and exchange high production sizzle for approachable stories. Making your video lo-fi, unvarnished, and raw is the quickest way to signal to an audience that you’ve understood the codes of culture.
Try this: Experiment with shooting on a mobile phone, outdoors or in other real situations other than a studio.
Build Trust with Creators
One thing you will notice throughout these best practice examples, are ads with a human presence. Creators, or even user-generated content, are an essential part of the Reels ecosystem, sparking new trends, entertaining different audiences, and authentically reaching more consumers. According to Edelman, 63% of 18-34-year-olds trust what an influencer says about a brand more than what the brand says about itself in advertising. Build this trust and connection by casting real people in your Reel – whether that's creators, or your own staff or customers.
In this webinar, Rise Interactive and Meta delved into the language of Reels for brands to learn how to make content that is both compelling and strategic. Want to authentically elevate your social media marketing and commerce? Contact us today!