After keeping it limited to a handful of markets for a while, Meta is aggressively bringing Reels to Facebook with a slew of new features in tow to keep creators and audiences engaged. Meta created Reels to capitalize on the short-form video phenomenon started by TikTok and took it to Instagram in 2020. Despite being a blatant copycat, it was a hit and became the fastest growing video format on the platform. So, in an attempt to milk the success, Meta ported the idea of 30-second reels to Facebook.
Initial tests were limited to high-yield markets such as India and the United States. During this time, Facebook has taken a deep dive into its engagement tactics toolkit to reward creators. The move made sense at the time and looks even more desperate in 2022. The company lost users for the first time in the last quarter – and billions of dollars in its market value – as TikTok emerged as the most downloaded app worldwide in 2021. It seems that the desperation to engage, stay relevant, and make more ad money has finally reached a boiling point.
Meta announced that Reels is expanding to Facebook users in 150 countries, along with many new monetization tools and new places for videos to appear for enhanced discovery. Starting with the latest tools, Reels on Facebook will now allow users to remix them, a bit like the idea of duets on TikTok. Next in line is the extended length of Facebook Reels, which can now be up to 60 seconds long instead of 30 seconds. Another beneficial feature that content creators will appreciate is the ability to save Reels as drafts, a feature that is already available on Instagram for both static and video content.
Facebook also has a cropping feature in the works that Meta will roll out in the coming weeks. The video clipping tool will support both live and pre-recorded videos. The aim is to let users experience videos in different formats. YouTube also offers a similar feature, but it’s only available from the creator dashboard. For average users, YouTube has a clips feature that lets you select a short segment of a video lasting from five to 60 seconds and share it on social media or embed it as a video. But offering new features to Facebook Reels is just half of the equation, as Meta wants them to appear pretty much everywhere on their basic social media platform that started it all. For example, Meta says that Reels can now be shared as Stories on Facebook, and interestingly, users can also convert Stories to Reels.
Of course, Facebook wants to lower the barrier of effort by allowing users to easily share the same content in any way and where they see fit. Facebook Reels will also start appearing on Watch, the dedicated video tab where users can view, share and interact with content uploaded by creators. In the coming months, users will be able to create Facebook Reels directly from the Watch tab. YouTube also has a dedicated tab for watching their version of Reels called Shorts, and it also has a create button for instant recording and uploading short videos. But Meta is going much deeper than YouTube. A dedicated Reels label that allows users to watch and create Facebook Reels will also appear at the top of the Feed. And in some countries, Facebook will soon start suggesting Reels in the Feed. Meta is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to pushing Reels to as many Facebook users as possible, and that could pay good dividends.