As TikTok gains traction, Facebook seeks new methods to stifle it, with its recent effort coming in the form of Facebook Reels, which will allow users to make and share Instagram Reels inside the main Facebook app.
As seen here, Facebook is currently trying out a new Reels display unit inside user feeds in the United States, which will aid to connect more users to its short-video offering.
According to TechCrunch:
"Facebook Reels will give Facebook users the ability to create and share short-form video content directly within the News Feed or within Facebook Groups. Initially, you’ll be able to tap a “Create” button from the Reels section that appears as you scroll the News Feed, while you’re watching Reels or by tapping on “Reels” at the top of your News Feed. From here, users will gain access to a standard set of creation tools, including those for video capture, music selection, camera roll import, timed text and more."
Furthermore, Facebook is enhancing its option for Instagram Reels creators to share their Reels to Facebook, with those Reels being showcased alongside the users' Instagram profile name.
The progress goes without saying. In the past few months, Facebook has been running tests with Reels creation and sharing in Facebook, which also involved a test with new Stories/Reels/Rooms feed at the top of user feeds in an attempt to halt TikTok's progress.
Facebook had not gotten started with that format yet, however this new test is an extension of the Reels content showed on Facebook experiments that began in March, with the next phase seeming to be Reels creation inside the Facebook app itself.
This could be a huge step forward. In this regard, the advantage is that it will introduce many users who aren't already familiar with TikTok to the short-form video process, which has demonstrated to be extensively engaging for many young viewers. Perhaps the addition of Reels to Facebook will attract large segments of older audience groups to take part in, boosting Reels usage, whereas the inclusion of the format within particular groups could assist to optimize engagement and keep users uploading their clips to Facebook and Instagram rather than moving to TikTok for the same experience.
This could also allow Facebook to utilize its reach in emerging markets to outperform TikTok. People may be less inclined to download a new app and form new connections if they can already socialize with their existing networks through short-form video on Facebook.
It's highly improbable that it will drastically decrease TikTok's rise, which is still at the top of the download charts, but it might help Facebook's video engagement whilst accelerating it somewhat.
Even with being a direct TikTok replica, Reels is seeing solid engagement progress. Reels was the biggest contributor to engagement growth on Instagram in the quarter, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, during the company's latest earnings call. This could indicate that Instagram's growth has slowed in other aspects, but in any case, Reels has established itself as a valuable contributor, and is part of Instagram's recent announcement that it is "no longer a photo sharing app."
Short-form video engagement is becoming more common, and by subjecting more people to Reels, Facebook will effectively integrate with this trend, potentially driving engagement growth and opening up new opportunities.
Depending on take-up, this could make it a more important factor for brands. It could also follow in the footsteps of Facebook Stories and fade away. However, it's possible that it will prove to be a strong driver, so keep an eye on those view counts and engagement numbers.
Facebook states that a small proportion of users in the US will be presented with the new Facebook Reels display, within this week, while certain users in India, Mexico and Canada are already able to view it.