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Google’s New TikTok & Insta Video Offering

Short Form Video Comes To Search

2020 was a massive year for short-form video, with juggernaut TikTok proving, without doubt, the love that users have for irreverent snippets.

One can only imagine the founders of Vine, must feel like Will Smith, after turning down The Matrix, to shoot Wild Wild West.

2021 looks set to be an even bigger year, with TikToks, Reels and more now beginning to rank within Search.

Reports suggest that Google is now trialling a new feature that displays Instagram and TikTok videos within the Google app on mobile devices.

Short Form Video Curation

Google has begun testing adding short-form video results for selected queries, which directly links to TikTok and Instagram videos.

Results will not be limited to just TikTok and Instagram. Rather, Google will initially aggregate content from a few other sources, including:

  • YouTube Shorts
  • TikTok
  • Instagram Reels
  • Tangi
    • New project to emerge from Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120
  • Trell
    • Indian TikTok clone

Brands and marketers could, in time, take advantage of this. With short-videos offering evergreen reach via the front page of Google.

To capitalise, organisations may have to consider creating TikToks, Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts in order to link into relevant searches.

How Is Google Ranking Short Clips?

The social videos will be placed under the Google Knowledge Box. Tech Crunch, who broke the story, explained it well, using the example of a search for the Green Bay Packers.

Sarah Perez, Tech Crunch.

“We found the Short Videos carousel appears when you scroll past the Google Knowledge Base box for the Green Bay Packers, followed by the the scores, Top Stories, Twitter results, Top Results, Images, Videos and other content, like a listing of the players, standings and more.”

When you click on a link, it takes you through to a web version of the video. It doesn’t take users through to the native app. Meaning users will spend more of their time on Google, even if they’re watching Instagram Reels or TikTok content.

Google latest update may allow it to display popular videos from several different short-form providers simultaneously, which would make it a more effective video search engine than any of those apps can hope to be on their own.

Additionally, shoe-horning in Youtube Shorts amongst TikToks and Reels will drive some much-needed eyeballs for YouTube’s latest plaything.

Google Discover Welcomes TikToks & Reels

The newly listed short clips will live within Google Discover, which is different from Search, although, on the surface, they do seem similar.

Google Search Central

“With Search, users enter a search term to find helpful information related to their query, but instead of showing results in response to a query, Discover surfaces content primarily based on what Google’s automated systems believe to be a good match with a user’s interests.”

Via Google Discover, your content could end up being suggested to users without them explicitly searching for it. Increasing organic exposure to traffic, drawing fresh eyes to your content and helping you develop new audiences.

But first, you need your content to show in Discover.

As long as your content is indexed by Google and meets Discover’s content policies, you should be good to go. However, Google notes that being eligible for Discover doesn’t automatically mean you will show up in Discover.

To give yourself the best possible chance of appearing in Discover, Google offers some quite broad and probably unhelpful recommendations:

  • Avoid click-bait in your page titles
  • Avoid tactics that artificially inflate engagement
  • Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal
  • Publish timely content
  • Provide clear dates, bylines and information about authors
  • Use high-quality images

You can also monitor your performance on Discover via the Performance Report For Discover.

How Is This Different From Google Stories?

Google’s new video feature shouldn’t be confused with Google Stories.

Stories were released in October 2020 and feature in the Search app. Stories are short-form video content, yes, but are created by many Google partners such as USA Today, Vice and Forbes.

Stories are content created by Google partners, but the new short-form video feature is an aggregation service that supplies users with content selected for them.

Stories are also focused on publisher content and are a fresh way for publishers to monetise their content. To create stories, publishers can use tools like the Web Story editor on WordPress, MakeStories or Newsroom AI. Or they can create the code themselves.

Therefore, on this basis, the application of Google Stories is pretty limited.

Whereas driving added reach and visibility for Reels, TikToks, YouTube Shorts etc. has a far broader appeal for marketers, should the trial be successful.

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