Sahail Ashraf posted on 25 February 2022
Meta is taking the fight to TikTok by pushing short-from video even further. Will it be enough to beat the video champion?
The Meta Facebook Reels feature (as in Instagram), which has already been available in some regions, will now appear at the top of user feeds in 150 additional regions. This seems to signal that Meta is taking the fight to TikTok.
As a result, Meta’s TikTok-clone functionality will drive a lot more people to watch a lot more videos, while Facebook is adding new tools and features to encourage further adoption.
Videos can be as brief as 60 seconds on Reels. Users can create video and photo clips set to music and share them with friends through their Feed, Stories, and the Explore page.
In addition to the United States, 50 other countries offer the video feature. Since their inception, (Instagram) Reels have been a great way for brands to showcase their creativity and add visual content beyond a grid post. Reels is distinctive in that instead of only displaying Reels from accounts you follow, the Reels tab shows Reels from all accounts.
Similarly to Instagram’s Reels extension, Facebook Reels will feature remix functionality to help encourage trend engagement, as well as the ability to upload up to 60 second Reels. Furthermore, users can upload public Reels to their Stories, meaning even more engagement potential.
Additionally, Facebook has added Reels drafts and a new video clipping option “to enable creators to test different formats for long-form or live videos”.
That’s a crucial point, because like YouTube, Facebook is looking to turn its short-form option into a complementary channel while also giving creators the opportunity to elevate their content, gain new fans, and maximise their monetisation potential by creating longer-form content as well.
For TikTok, that could prove problematic. The way things stand, you can’t attach ads to specific clips in short-form content, so you can’t monetise it yet, as you can with longer posts. Obviously, that limits your revenue potential, and while TikTok might be making an effort to counter this by launching its Creator Fund and facilitating partnership agreements with brands, none of these options provide the same amount of money making opportunities as longer form uploads on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, specifically.
There have already been some complaints by creators of TikTok regarding the platform’s flawed monetisation tools in the past few months, as revenue potential actually decreases just as the platform gains more users. The platform will eventually have to fix this problem, but it still has a long way to go. TikTok will likely never be able to compete with other platforms that are already paying out billions to creators via their existing funding frameworks.
As a result, TikTok will no longer be the primary channel for many big users and Influencers, since there will be no direct link to broader monetisation. This is likely to result in fewer people putting serious effort into their TikTok clips – especially if they can directly promote their main revenue-generating content via Reels and Shorts.
Despite TikTok’s massive growth this year, much of its success relies on celebrity stars sharing clips. When that flow of content stops, the ‘For You’ feed could quickly become dull and eventually become a problem for the app.
YouTube and Facebook are pushing hard, and Facebook Reels provide the potential to reach another 2.9 billion potential subscribers, so that may still be a factor that will push Meta’s short-form options forward.
Facebook (sorry, Meta) is also offering sticker ads to make Reels even more engaging. According to the company:
“We’re expanding tests of Facebook Reels Overlay Ads to all creators in the US, Canada and Mexico, and to more countries in the coming weeks. We’re starting with two formats: banner ads that appear as a semi-transparent overlay at the bottom of a Facebook Reel, and sticker ads: a static image ad that can be placed by a creator anywhere within their reel. These non-interruptive ads enable creators to earn a portion of the ad revenue.”
This could mean that some Infuencers can see even more monetisation possible, even to the extent of using old, proven content to make for more revenue.
Meta has been guilty of throwing everything at a problem in the past, but this particular roll-out seems destined for success. This is because it seems to have carefully studied what TikTok can and cannot do, and made sure that the new offering provides a ton of value.
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