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Facebook Announces Facebook Reels Trial

Facebook joins Instagram in short-from video war with TikTok

Facebook's battle with TikTok looks set to continue into 2022.

Following in the footsteps of Instagram, Facebook has announced that testing has begun on Facebook Reels.

It's no surprise to see Facebook continue the fight against TikTok, which is now the most downloaded mobile app globally.

In an attempt to turn the tide, Facebook and its owned platforms have been developing different products to tempt creators and users away from TikTok and back to Mark Zuckerberg's range of apps.

Like Instagram Reels, but on Facebook

The result? Reels. First on Instagram, now on Facebook. Like its cousin over at Insta, Facebook users will be able to create short-form video content and share it directly to News Feed or Facebook Groups.

Tests were initially launched in India, Mexico and Canada and have been broadened to the U.S. Additionally, U.S Instagram creators will have the option to have their Instagram Reels shown as recommended content on Facebook, which will help broaden reach and potential exposure – a move that could be good for brand partnerships, too.

Stop the flood

Facebook has decided to replicate Reels inside Facebook because of the huge demand for short-form video content across the internet. The platform is also trying to cash in on users appetite for any form of video – which accounts for nearly 50% of the time spent on Facebook.

If the app can give its people more of what they want, they might have less reason to go elsewhere for it, somewhere like TikTok.

Additionally, Reels has been credited as a massive driver of growth on Instagram by Mark Zuckerberg, who is keen to replicate that success on his original platform.

Available in three places within Facebook

Users can create Reels by tapping the 'create' button that'll appear in three different places:

  • The Reels section within News Feed
  • While you're watching Reels
  • By tapping Reels at the top of your News Feed

From there, users will have access to standard creation tools such as camera roll import, video capture, music selection and timed text.

Facebook will provide an audio library; users can record their own audio or use someone else's audio if that other person has set their Reels to 'public'.

Effects for Facebook Reels include a timer, slo-mo or fast-forward and a few augmented reality filters. Instagram Reels features such as Remix will be added more slowly as take-up increases.

Reels can be shared with Friends, a more specific audience such as 'Friends except…' or the general public. Reels can also be shared in Facebook Groups.

Instagram and Facebook crossover

The pivot to Reels makes the most of the crossover between Instagram and Facebook, provides content creators with twice the potential exposure, and allows increased monetisation across the portfolio. The feature will be helpful to creators who share videos to Facebook as those Reels will display a creators' Insta username, which is valuable for exposure.

Brands and marketers could take advantage of this by partnering with creatives who intend to post on both platforms, and in doing so, give promotional materials a double whammy of exposure!

It could also expose brands to those who haven't jumped across to TikTok yet. At the same time, the ability to post into groups broadens possibilities once again and gives videos the best chance of being seen by Facebook's massive userbase.

Reel-ly good growth

Reels have quickly become an essential part of Instagram's network.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, Investor Earnings Call (via The Motley Fool)

"[Reels are] already the largest contributor to engagement growth on Instagram.

"We're very focused on making it easy for anyone to create video, and then for those videos to be viewed across all of our different services, starting with Facebook and Instagram first."

Instagram Reels have been monetised, and Facebook is working hard to lure creators to it via increased creator funds.

Since its launch, Reels has been pretty successful. It had to force TikTok creators to stop re-uploading TikTok originals and has an eye-watering creator fund budget to tempt the best across, but that's to be expected from one of the internet's true giants.

The pivot to video was always going to happen, especially when TikTok gained ground on Facebook and then passed it as the most popular app. Facebook will hope it can find new users, attract more advertising revenue and host the best content from the best creators around.

Essentially, it wants to be relevant again.

And if brands and marketers can get increased exposure and organic growth by partnering with creatives who do well across both platforms, that's an easy win/win.

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