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March 9, 2021

The Scoop on Instagram Reels De-Prioritizing Recycled Content

Who doesn’t love a good Instagram algorithm change?! We’re actually pretty stoked about this one, since it eases some of the tension we’ve been seeing in the ongoing clash between Instagram Reels and TikTok.

Here’s the deal, both Instagram Reels and TikTok have very similar, if not nearly identical formats, which makes it easy for people to reshare their TikTok videos onto Instagram’s Reels. But this is now a big no-no with the IG algorithm, especially if you want your content to be seen by a larger audience on top of those who already follow you.

After surveying the community and seeing how people engage with recommended reels, Instagram noticed that recycled content from TikTok was not as desirable for users as was content that was created in Reels (at least that is their “official statement” on the matter). The 2 key factors as to why this recycled content doesn’t do well:

  •       1) Recycled content from other apps contains a watermark or logo on the video.
  •       2) The recycled content almost always has a poor video quality and is usually blurry.


Instagram announced that they made changes to their Reels algorithm to de-prioritize content that is visibly recycled from other apps.

This makes sense for a couple reasons. One, Instagram and TikTok are competitors after all (and we all know what IG does with competitors, see Snaps vs Stories!). It’s in Instagram’s best interest to not actively promote another app within their app (duh!). Two, Instagram wants to make Reels as fun and engaging of an experience as possible, in order to keep people using this feature. To prioritize and promote content that is original, high-quality and attention-grabbing is ultimately to make their users happier.

But don’t fret, Instagram is not banning this content completely. If you upload a TikTok with a watermark, or any other video created in a different app, it will still be seen by your Instagram followers. BUT that’s where your reach will come to a grinding halt. If you’re a business looking to reach as many potential customers as possible, this is a crucial part of Reels you want to be mindful of!

Workaround: If you’re a diehard TikTokker and you can’t imagine NOT repurposing your videos, there are apps like SaveTok, ReTok, TikSave and others that allow you to save your TikTok videos as MP3s (without the watermark!) and repost to IG to avoid the de-prioritization!

Tips for Crushing Your IRL (In Reel Life) Game!

  • – Focus on creating fun & entertaining videos. You ideally want to grab people’s attention, make them laugh or surprise and delight them.
  • – Start a trend and create content that inspires others to participate in.
  • – Shoot vertical videos! Horizontal videos aren’t as eye-catching and are typically harder to recreate.
  • – Use creative tools in Reels like text, filters and camera effects.
  • – Add music from the IG music library and/or use original music you create or discover in Reels.
  • – Make sure to experiment! Try something new and allow your content to represent who you are. By experimenting, you’ll see what works for you or what doesn’t.


  • – Posting low resolution videos that are blurry.
  • – Content that is visibly recycled from other apps! Logos + watermarks will ding the algorithm to demote your video.
  • – Videos that are uploaded with a border around them.
  • – The majority of the video is covered with text.

Bottom Line: The key to Reels success is to actually use Reels to create your content! Get creative and be yourself. Happy Reeling!


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