I mean, that was probably to be expected.
Just days after TikTok announced that it had reached one billion active users, Facebook today launched Reels on Facebook for all users in the United States, bringing its shorthand video competitor to many more people.
In all fairness, Facebook seems more excited about the addition than anyone.
The social network has been testing Reels in its main app since March, starting with India, where TikTok is banned, giving Facebook more opportunities to capitalize on the format’s popularity.
And now it brings the option to its 250 million American audience.
As explained by Facebook:
“The reels on Facebook can include music, audio, effects, and more. You can find them in the News Feed or in Groups, and while viewing a reel on Facebook, you can easily follow the creator right from the video, like and comment on it, or share it with others. friends.“
Adding groups is the most interesting element – as you can see in the video clip above, with the ability to share your reels on your news feed, you will also be able to post your reels directly to groups. that you are a member of, while Facebook is also launching a new “Single Theme” group setting “which makes it easy to invite members to share their reels”.
As you can see in this example, through thematic reels you can entice group members to, for example, post videos of themselves blowing on their dogs’ ears to see their reaction, which could trigger a new trend of engagement in your group, and spur further interaction within the community.
That’s a good angle to take for Facebook, especially since Facebook groups are used by over 1.8 billion people each month. And just like its take on social audio, which is also powered by Groups, Facebook is looking to use the advantage it has by hosting these dedicated communities to maximize the use of Reels and make them a more trending trend. important thanks to a more targeted engagement.
But Facebook also knows that part of TikTok’s appeal is the reach and potential for fame on the internet, and it is keen to point out that Reels on Facebook can provide that as well.
“The reels can reach anyone, not just your existing followers, allowing the most creative, funny, and inspiring people to come out. People can discover reels based on their interests and what is popular both at the top of the news feed alongside stories and rooms and in a new section dedicated to the news feed.“
Facebook is also expanding its Instagram Reels recommendation test on Facebook, providing more Reels content to attract more people into the option, while giving Instagram creators more exposure potential through cross-reach. applications.
The expanded reach of both apps is one area where Facebook has an advantage over TikTok, while it also has a much more consolidated monetization system and much more resources to devote to building Reels.
What Facebook is looking to do with a new bonus program:
“As part of our commitment to invest over a billion dollars in creators until 2022, we’re also offering a new bonus program to help creators earn money when people view their reels. The “Reels Play” bonus pays eligible creators based on the performance of their reels and will be available on Facebook and Instagram. After seeing creators embrace the Instagram Reels Summer bonus, we hope this new bonus will allow more creators to make money from their content.
Incentives like this present some challenges, as Snapchat discovered with its Spotlight creator funding, which has gradually caused more angst among its creative community as those payouts have dried up.
As a concept, this makes perfect sense – effectively monetizing abbreviated content is difficult, as you can’t place mid or pre-roll ads on a 15-30 second clip. This forces every app to think more creatively and seek out branded content partnerships and dedicated incentive programs, which can clearly act as a powerful lure (Snapchat’s Spotlight quickly moved on to 125 million users, stimulated by its payment system). But they can backfire if that same income stream leads to addiction, and the app is unable to replace that income with a more sustainable cash flow.
Yet Facebook hopes to attract more creators, with the even greater appeal of reaching Facebook audiences.
“The ‘Reels Play’ program will pay a bonus to eligible Facebook creators whose Reels achieve at least 1,000 views over a 30-day period on Facebook. The Reels Play bonus program on Facebook is currently by invitation only. Creators who are invited will be notified in the Facebook app and in Creator Studio and can register to learn more here.“
Will extending Reels to Facebook make it a more engaging and engaging option and prevent more people from spending their time on TikTok instead?
It seems unlikely. As you can see from this graph, TikTok’s growth rate is unprecedented, and its magnetism has only been amplified by global lockdowns in the wake of the pandemic.
TikTok’s appeal to younger audiences, in particular, is impressive, and it was this specific element that scared Facebook, with the MySpace ghost still calling from the distant past, warning of potential obsolescence by not capturing the youth vote.
Facebook had initially hoped to beef up TikTok with better monetization tools, by stealing the best creators. But with TikTok also developing new business options, aligned with its authoring tools, this approach has become less effective over time, and with Facebook also continually in the news for the wrong reasons, it looks like TikTok has managed to stick with it. good through the main storm, and will now be able to better establish itself as a key challenger in space.
That’s not to say that Facebook has taken over MySpace – it still has 2.9 billion active users and is expanding into new markets every day. But Facebook is no longer the cool kid of the neighborhood – it’s a utility, a service, which clearly has its place, but which may well lose momentum over time as younger users continue to spend more time. in other more attractive places.
This is, of course, why Facebook continues to fight and fight to keep users’ attention wherever possible. But as has been the case for a few years now, Facebook is simply no longer the innovator, it is no longer leading the way, which leaves the door open to new competitors.
Facebook, however, is now focused on the next step, towards becoming a Metaverse business in the future. Maybe this is where Facebook can take the lead and gain a new edge over the opposition – or maybe Facebook just needs to change focus and rely on its utility tools to consolidate its place. .
It’s hard to see TikTok meeting that same need, in many ways – but again, as it continues to grow, this may become an even bigger thorn for Facebook in the years to come.
Regardless, you can now also check out Reels on Facebook, bringing an older audience into the short video trend. Expect some level of recoil as a result.