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  • MaryGrace Lerin

Facebook Experiments with the New Reels and Rooms User Interface

As it looks to counteract the continued rise of TikTok, Facebook may be on the verge of significantly increasing Instagram Reels exposure by incorporating a new Reels clips display straight into the Facebook app.

As seen in this screenshot from app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Facebook is presently testing a new display option at the top of the feed Stories panel, which would allow users to see either Stories, Instagram Reels clips, or in-progress video and audio rooms.

That could help increase exposure for Facebook's new audio rooms, which are currently in beta with a select group of creators and groups, but it would most significantly increase exposure for Instagram Reels, with Reels content highlighted right at the top of the Facebook app, which is used by 2.85 billion people per month.

Of course, Instagram has a billion users, but many Facebook users aren't on Instagram or TikTok. This might be a wonderful way for Facebook to promote interest in Reels by exposing a new audience to the choice, which could lead to increased engagement and general interest in Reels.

In an effort to keep users from moving to TikTok, Facebook has been doing everything it can to make Reels a bigger part of the platform. It's still working on enhancing the Reels algorithm to boost engagement and usage, and it's also working on a new payment program for top Reels creators that looks a lot like Snapchat's Spotlight payment system for top clips.

But the true ace up Facebook's sleeve here is the prospect for publicity and, ultimately, profit. In terms of users, Instagram still outnumbers TikTok (though this may not be the case for much longer), and if it can also broaden Reels' visibility to Facebook users, that may be an unrivaled, and highly appealing audience for individuals trying to establish a following for their material.

Since late last year, Facebook has been testing Reels suggestions in Facebook Watch and user feeds, but this trial, which is presently not in live testing, would be the most significant step forward to date.

In addition, Facebook is working on a new option for creating Reels on the platform.

Both of these possibilities are still in the early stages of development, and it's possible that neither will be released.

However, it'll be interesting to see how Facebook builds Reels as it continues to plot out ways to compete with TikTok.

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