20th August 2021
Facebook is testing Reels in the US, a short-form video format that already exists on Instagram. It has previously been testing short-form videos in India, Mexico and Canada.
Reels has becoming increasingly popular on Facebook-owned app Instagram since it launched in August last year. Reels are very similar to video content on the increasingly popular app TikTok, where users create 15-60 seconds of content using either a library of music, their own sounds or another users’ sound.
Facebook adopted the content format following the rapid growth of TikTok and huge popularity with creators and users. Reels are already popular on the Instagram app, so Facebook is expanding the format into its main blue app.
In the test on Facebook, users in the US will be able to create and share short-form videos directly within the News Feed or within Facebook Groups. Sharing in Groups mean that users will be able to reach people with similar interests.
Facebook users will have the option to create Reels through multiple routes: by tapping a ‘Create’ button that appears while scrolling down the News Feed, when watching Reels and when clicking on the Reels section at the top of the News Feed.
Reels on Facebook will include the standard creation and editing tools that exist on Instagram such as camera roll input, video capture, timer, speed changes and more. Some of the additional features such as ‘Remix’ – a popular feature that allows you to add your video next to another - are likely to be added in due course. The music options will also be similar to Instagram, as users will have the option to choose from Facebook’s own music library, record their own audio or use the music from somebody else’s post.
Reels will be recommended to users based on interests and their behaviour on the app. As well as users being able to create Reels directly on Facebook, a feature is also being tested that will give Instagram users the option to have their Instagram Reels shown as recommended content on the Facebook app. This will expand the reach of Instagram Reels outside of the app and encourage them to be more widely shared – much like TikTok videos currently are.
Reels on Facebook will not include ads to begin with, but this is likely to change in the future, ads in Instagram Reels began rolling out earlier this year a few months after the feature launched.
Facebook will be spending money on a bonus program to encourage creators to make content across its family of apps, which may now include Facebook Reels. This is likely to encourage more people to start using the feature which could then pave the way for advertising opportunities.
Short-form video formats continue to rise across all social media platforms and Facebook Reels is the latest feature to launch. If the test is successful, it will be yet another addition for brands to play with in Facebook and another touchpoint for branded video content.