Social Media News April 2021
Facebook is testing Instagram Reels
Facebook is currently testing Instagram Reels in the News Feed to gain more reach for reel content. According to Jan Frisching from futurebiz, Facebook is testing it in India with selected creators who can post their Reels on Facebook. The test is not about sharing Reels on Facebook, but about the personalized recommendations of reels by the Facebook algorithm.
According to Facebook, creators can open up new target groups this way. Additionally, recommended Reels gain more reach.
Interestingly, the recommendation is not connected with a Facebook account or page, but with the Instagram profile or rather the username. So, this is not about building a Facebook community. It’s more about creating reach for the format and directing Facebook users to the Instagram accounts of the creators.
If the audio element is used by other Instagram users, these reels can also be recommended on Facebook. This may well lead to a higher number of Reel recommendations on Facebook.
Facebook already tested an adaptation of Reels last year. However, this involved the creation of Reels on Facebook. The current test already recommends shared Reels on the platform.
Since the recommendation is based on personal interests, there is a chance to draw the attention of new users to their own Instagram content. Facebook receives additional content, but primarily Instagram and the Reels format should benefit from the recommendations.
Facebook and LinkedIn are launching audio-only rooms
It’s official! Facebooks Clubhouse clone is coming. That’s probably no surprise since it is known that there is a huge rise in audio social. According to Andrew Hutchinson from SocialMediaToday, Facebook has also been working on its own live audio meeting rooms feature.
Facebook already has its video Rooms feature which allows private video chats that others can drop into. Soon, they will also offer audio-only options for Rooms. Hosts can decide between public or private audio groups. The option would provide the same use-case as Clubhouse or Twitter’s Spaces. This could put some pressure on Clubhouse because people still need invites to get access.
If Facebook can provide its own public Rooms discovery process, it could also become a big lure for creators looking to maximize their reach and community-building efforts. Also, the audio Rooms could be really fitting for Facebook groups in which 1.8 billion users engage every month.
According to Andrew Hutchinson from SocialMediaToday, LinkedIn is also following the trend and is currently developing its own audio rooms. The interface is going to be very Clubhouse-like with the speakers on top and the listeners underneath.
On LinkedIn, the feature could be even more valuable than on Twitter or Facebook, with professional-based rooms aligned with specific niches, helping to improve connections and build your industry presence. This could be a new option for creators to expand their presence on the platform and for brands to build a community.
The rooms are still being tested but it is likely to launch the new option for all users sometime soon.
It will be interesting to see when and how Facebook is going to roll out the new feature. It can definitely be a good option to consider, especially for brand pages looking to build a community, and maximize engagement in the app, with a view to driving more referral traffic.
Also on LinkedIn, the format could offer a range of new potential opportunities. With other platforms providing bigger audience reach and tools with which influencers can broadcast to their already established audiences, that could be a more appealing option and could stop new users drifting to Clubhouse instead.
YouTube launched “Shorts” in the US
After announcing a coming expansion of its TikTok-like ‘Shorts’ video option, YouTube has now launched an initial beta of Shorts to selected users in the US.
In the next couple of weeks, US users will see a new Shorts section in the main feed of the YouTube app. According to Andrew Hutchinson from SocialMediaToday, some users have already been seeing variations of this, with a ‘Short Videos’ shelf in their list, but the new format will come with the dedicated Shorts logo, while users will also get access to the Shorts camera, which provides a range of video creation features.
What does the feature offer?
The Shorts camera will give you access to a multi-segment camera, so you can string together multiple video clips, you’ll also have the ability to add music, control playback speed, and other tools.
In the future, these options will be expanded with text overlay tools and options to sample audio from other Shorts for remixes and response clips. There’s no definitive timeline for the launch of these next features yet, but they are coming, which will bring Shorts more in line with the TikTok experience.
For the music aspect, YouTube is offering its huge library of songs. The platform is looking to build stronger ties between its short video tools and its music resources, with a view to expanding creative potential and helping creators to maximize their opportunities.
In the beginning, Shorts won’t have monetization options, but interestingly, when users subscribe to your Shorts, they’ll also be subscribing to your main YouTube channel, meaning they’ll also be alerted to any longer-form content you post. Long-form has more monetization potential, which could become more relevant now.
Shorts will definitely have potential and will offer more creativity. YouTube launched Shorts in India in September 2020, in order to fill the gap left by the banning of TikTok on the region, and since then, YouTube’s Shorts gained 6.5 billion daily views. Monetization will probably be the key in the future. So, stay tuned and see how it turns out!
Update: Ads on IGTV
From June 2020 Instagram has been starting to test ads on IGTV in the US. The format will differ from other placements on Instagram because those ads will be longer than ads in feeds or stories.
According to Instagram IGTV has become a powerful place for creators to connect more deeply with their fans and share their lives and talents. With IGTV ads, they have another new way to earn money.
The difference between feed ads and IGTV ads is that Instagram shares a part of the earnings with the creators of the content.
According to Phillip Roth from allfacebook.de IGTV ads look similar to YouTube ads. When you see an IGTV in your feed you only see the teaser at first. In order to watch the full video, you have to click on it, once you have you will be presented with the full ad. It’s not clear yet if there will be multiple ads and if it’s possible to skip them.
Currently, ads have a length of 15 seconds and are shown in full portrait format on mobile devices only.
Instagram is testing IGTV ads in the US with a small group of creators and advertisers and will slowly expand globally. According to Facebook the feature will be widely available at some point in 2021.
Update: After testing the format in the US, it is now also available in the UK and Australia. Instagram says that it will continue to expand IGTV monetization throughout the year.
For companies, IGTV ads offer a new placement without any extra effort. It is definitely worth a try, because IGTV is a new type of content delivery for which you can have the user’s full attention. Here brands can build on and reach users there. Keep it in mind and be one of the first brands to join.