Reels are short clips that have only recently become available to Instagram users in Russia. It is analogous and the main competitor of Tik-Tok. They have a similar editor and both allow you to put covers on videos.
In this article we will tell you how to make a cover for Reels, how to put it and why you need it at all.
Why do I need a cover for Reels?
Reels are shown in the main grid (if you choose this option when publishing) together with the posts and in a separate tab Reels on the profile page. There is also a dedicated button for Reels in Instagram (with recommendations) + Reels can go in the general feed of posts and in the Reels recommendations feed.
In the Reels section and general feed videos run automatically, and in the grid with posts the user has to click on the video to view it.
To make it look pretty, it’s better to make covers. In addition to beauty, clickability plays an important role. If it’s not clear what’s in the frame (e.g. blurred frame), the user is unlikely to click on the video.
Example of an account with covers – on the left horizontal covers in Reels tab, and on the right the same, but in the profile grid (cropped):
Example without special covers – just frames from the video.
The first option is more preferable because it gives users additional information.
Cover size for Reels
The size of the cover display depends on where we will place the Reels – in the main feed or in the Reels tab.
How the cover is displayed depending on the placement:
In the post grid: aspect ratio 1:1, size 1,080 x 1,080 px.
In the Reels tab: aspect ratio: 9:16, size 1,080 x 1,920 px (maximum), 600 x 1,067 px (minimum). It is better to take the maximum size, since the account may be accessed from a computer.
In the general feed (if it gets there): aspect ratio 4:5, size 1 080 x 1 350 px.
Basically, you should be guided by the cover size for the post grid and Reels tab. So you don’t have to worry about how it will look in your Instagram feed, just don’t place important elements too quickly to the edges of the square.
This is where it’s important to decide whether or not the Reels will be in the main grid with the posts. If they are, then make all the main content in the center, as the cover is cut off when published.
Example, how the cover looks like in the Reels (vertical):
And here is the same in the general profile post grid (square):
To summarize: you can make the total size 1,080 x 1,920 px, but place the main elements so that when publishing in the feed the most important details do not go beyond the borders of the square.
How to create a cover for Instagram Reels
The cover can be a frame from a video, but it is better to create your own unique cover. This can be done in the online editor Canva.
Let’s say you are a wedding photographer. And in Reels you are posting shots from your photo shoot.
Step 1. Go to Canva.com and activate the 30 day free period. Later you can get rid of it and use the service for free!
Next, write the size 1,080 x 1,920 px or just choose the format of the storis.
Step 2: Set a frame from video or photo as a background (you can do it just as a picture, but it’s more natural). You can get the frame by taking a screenshot of the video or using third-party video editor.
If you are a blogger and shoot Reels about yourself, you can set as the background any of your photos.
Step 3: If you need, you can add a placeholder with text. But you don’t have to make the text occupy the whole square – the photo should be visible too. The text is taken from the tool “Text”, we make a square from the figure “Square” in the section “Elements”.
Download the ready cover
P.S. You can make a template with a square in the same Canva for yourself and then overlay it on top of the covers, increasing the transparency. This will help make sure that all elements are within the square.
The cover is added at the stage of video publication.
We get to the point where you need to specify a signature for the video and click on the picture with the word “Cover”. You can also move the slider to the ON position at the point about adding Reels to your Instagram feed.
Next, you can select a frame from the video as the cover or upload a picture from the gallery. For the second, click on “Add from Photofilm”.
To crop the cover while publishing the video, click on “Crop Profile Photo”. The boundaries of the crop can be moved. That is, the square itself may not be in the center of the whole cover, but, say, at the bottom. Just make sure that everything else does not go beyond its limits (for example, text).
If the cover is flipped, try saving it on your phone in a different orientation.
Create unique and memorable covers for Reels to get more views and organize your feed.