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  • Meerelle Cruz

YouTube Expands Test of Opening the App to the Full-Screen Shorts Feed

You're about to see a lot more of TikTok's full-screen, short-form video approach, so I hope you enjoy it. Short-form video, like Stories before it, is becoming the most popular social media trend, with Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest all adding new ways to use it. Now, YouTube is taking its short-form video experiments to the next level.


Last week, we revealed that YouTube had started a new test on iOS that would let users who regularly engage with Shorts, the company's take on the TikTok-inspired trend, to have their version of YouTube open directly to the Shorts feed, rather than the usual YouTube display.


YouTube has already expanded the test after only a week they have verified that a recent global test in which the YouTube mobile app opens directly in Shorts if the user had previously watched Shorts videos before quitting is being expanded. According to the business, the test is only available to a tiny fraction of iOS users worldwide. YouTube has recently announced that the trial will be expanded to Android as well. That effectively makes Shorts the primary emphasis of the YouTube app for any user who connects with Shorts regularly or has simply departed the app from the Shorts feed, which is a significant change in UI for the platform, and a massive validation of the importance of the short-form video shift.


Indeed, YouTube claims that Shorts has topped 15 billion daily views, up from 6.5 billion earlier this year, and has become a key driver of app engagement growth, indicating a growing desire for short, full-screen clips. In this regard, TikTok's immediate, never-ending stream of engaging videos in the app, highly tuned to user interests, may well have changed consumer behaviors more broadly, keeping people not only hooked on TikTok itself but also increasing demand for the same on all platforms - which, in some ways, has forced other apps to adapt in line with audience interest.


Given the increased consumption of Shorts clips on YouTube, this is undeniable, while Meta also observes that Instagram Reels has enjoyed ‘good growth globally,' indicating that it, too, appears to be aligned with the same behavioral patterns. As a result, you can probably expect Instagram to look at expanding this test on YouTube to implement it on IG.

This would be a huge shift as well, but given the format's popularity, Instagram should update its UI to focus more on Reels and move away from the typical feed of ordinary Instagram posts. Meta hasn't explicitly stated that this is the path it intends to take, but it has hinted at it.

In the coming year, the firm plans to make big improvements to Instagram and Facebook to further emphasize video and make Reels a more fundamental component of the experience. If you haven't dabbled in a short-form video before, now is the time to do so, because it's poised to become an even more important part in 2022, in a variety of ways, with multiple applications aiming to increase engagement by providing additional ways to access these immersive, full-screen feeds of short video segments.


Instagram is expected to make a big announcement about this soon.


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