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Instagram's New Advanced Reels Editor

Apparently, the Instagram Reels team is working overtime, because we’ve been granted three new features in one drop. On April 14, 2023, Meta announced three new features for Instagram Reels: trends, editing, and gifts.

Here is Meta’s quick feature summary:

  • We’re adding a dedicated destination to find inspiration through trending audio and hashtags on Instagram Reels.
  • We’re adding two new metrics to Reels insights: total and average watch times.
  • We’re bringing gifts on Reels to more countries and adding a feature to let creators recognize fans’ gifts.

In this post, we will explore the new and improved Reels editor. Keep reading to find out what’s new and how it compares to TikTok and third-party editing tools.

What is the New Instagram Reels Editor?

Instagram’s new Reels editor is now available globally, across iOS and Android devices. It was designed to simplify the Reels editing process by combining video clips, audio, stickers, and text on one editing screen.

Source: Facebook

This new format uses layers to make it easier to align and time Reels elements to the right moments for smoother transitions. Having everything on the same screen should enable creators to be more creative with visual nuances.

The multilayer view is definitely reminiscent of TikTok’s editor, but that doesn’t mean you can now expect an identical experience on both platforms. TikTok’s GIPHY, green screen, and voiceover tools are still preferred, plus it’s still easier to find music on TikTok thanks to Instagram’s copyright rules.

New Reels Editor vs Third-Party Editors

Third-party editing tools are convenient for many reasons:

  • You can edit and organize multiple videos on your content calendar easier on your computer than on a phone.
  • TikTok and Instagram Reels have both been known to glitch and lose content.
  • Third-party tools can have better templates and editing capabilities than in-app editors.

As Instagram improves its editor, the main reason people opt for external tools may boil down to how much they want to use a mobile phone in their daily workflow. After all, Instagram– like all social media platforms– is designed to snag your attention and hold it for as long as possible.

We can’t count the number of times we opened Instagram for a research task, only to scroll for five minutes before remembering why we were there in the first place. If you can relate, editing with a third-party tool on a computer can eliminate distractions, increase productivity, and make organizing videos and uploading to PLANOLY that much easier.

Will Using Other Video Editing Tools Hurt My Reel’s Reach?

We’ve been searching for a clear answer on this for a while, and Adam Mosseri finally blessed us with clarification in a recent AMA. Editing your Reel in a third-party app (or just in your camera roll) and then posting without using the Reels editor will not negatively affect your reach. However, posting a video with a watermark of any kind will hurt your reach.

How the New Instagram Reels Editor Can Make Your Life Easier

Here are some of the newer features that simplify the process of filming and editing an Instagram Reel:

#1 Align Clips

The Align button is one of the Reels effects available before you hit the editing screen. Click it to view a translucent overlay of the previous clip over the entire frame. You can use this to align clips just right to soften your transitions.

#2 Gesture Control

Also in the effects column, the Gesture Control tool allows you to start and stop filming by raising your hand. This hands-free recording feature is super convenient when you’re filming with a tripod and don’t want to physically press stop, record, and then reposition yourself in the frame. It saves time while filming and during the editing process, as you’ll have less to trim from your clips.

#3 Dual

The Dual effect allows you to film with both cameras at the same time. So if you want to show your face and whatever you are doing on your laptop, you can film both simultaneously. You can also use it to record people’s reactions.

#4 Save Without Watermark

With the Instagram Reels editor, you can save your edited video without a watermark prior to publishing. This eliminates the hassle of removing the watermark whenever you want to repurpose your Reel on TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Pinterest, etc.

The button is at the top of the editing screen, right before Music, effects, stickers, and text.

You can do this on TikTok with a little finessing (press and hold on the video, press “clear display”, then screen record), but Instagram Reels makes this process a whole lot faster and easier by having a simple save button.


Mosseri repeatedly emphasizes streamlining the creation process as one of Instagram’s main goals. The platform is actively prioritizing enhancements for the creator experience.

At the end of the day, your choice of editor is just a personal preference. Play around with each editing tool, taking note of the features that best fit your content style and workflow.

Keep testing Instagram Reels, though– the announcement teased plans for more advanced editing features down the road.

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Aurora Sanchez

Aurora Sanchez is the SEO Specialist at PLANOLY. When not optimizing the PLANOLY website, she spends her time creating beauty content and loves the intersection of beauty, creativity, and character play.

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