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Facebook Tests New Reels and Rooms UI, Integrated Into the Facebook Stories Panel

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Facebook may be close to giving Instagram Reels exposure a significant boost, by integrating a new Reels clips display directly into the Facebook app, as it seeks to combat the continuing rise of TikTok. 

Facebook Reels display

As you can see in this example, posted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Facebook is currently testing a new display option for the top of feed Stories panel, which would give users the option to see an alternative feed display of either Stories, Instagram Reels clips, or in-progress video and audio rooms.

That could help boost discovery of Facebook’s new audio rooms, which are now in live testing with selected creators and groups, but it would most significantly increase exposure for Instagram Reels, with Reels content highlighted right at the top of the Facebook app, which is used by 2.85b people per month.

Instagram, of course, has a billion active users of its own, but many Facebook users are not users of Instagram, or TikTok. That could make this a great option for Facebook to boost interest in Reels, by exposing a range of new audiences to the option, which could subsequently increase engagement, and interest in Reels overall.

Facebook has been trying everything it can to make Reels a bigger element in the app, in an effort to stop users from migrating across to TikTok instead. It’s still working on improving the Reels algorithm to maximize engagement and usage, while it’s also developing a new payment program for top Reels creators, which looks similar to Snapchat’s Spotlight payment offering for top clips.

But the real ace up Facebook’s sleeve here is exposure potential, and ultimately, monetization opportunities. Instagram itself is still bigger than TikTok in terms of users (though that may not be the case for too long), and if it can also expand Reels exposure to Facebook users as well, that could be an unmatchable, and highly attractive audience for those looking to build a following for their content.

Facebook’s been testing Reels recommendations in Facebook Watch and user feeds since late last year, but this experiment, which is currently not in live testing as yet, would be the biggest step that it’s taken on this front to date.

In addition to this, Facebook’s also developing a new option to create Reels in Facebook.

Facebook Reels creation

Again, both of these options are in the early experimental phase, and it may well end up that neither gets released.

But it is interesting to see how Facebook’s working to build Reels, as it continues to map out ways to fend off competition from TikTok.

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YouTube Tests Improved Comment Removal Notifications, Updated Video Performance and Hashtag Insights

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YouTube Expands its 'Pre-Publish Checks' Tool to the Mobile App

YouTube’s looking to provide more context on content removals and violations, while it’s also experimenting with a new form of analytics on average video performance benchmarks, along with improved hashtag discovery, which could impact your planning and process.

First off, on policy violations – YouTube’s looking to provide more context on comment removals via an updated system that will link users through to the exact policy that they’ve violated when a comment is removed.

As explained by YouTube’s Conor Kavanagh:

“Many users have told us that they would like to know if and when their comment has been removed for violating one of our Community Guidelines. Additionally, we want to protect creators from a single user’s ability to negatively impact the community via comments, either on a single channel or multiple channels.”

The new comment removal notification aims to address this, by providing more context as to when a comment has been removed for violating the platform’s Community Guidelines.

In expansion of this, YouTube will also put some users into timeout if they keep breaking the rules. Literally:

If someone leaves multiple abusive comments, they may receive a temporary timeout which will block the ability to comment for up to 24 hours.”

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YouTube says that this will hopefully reduce the amount of abusive comments across the platform, while also adding more transparency to the process, in order to help people understand how they’ve broken the rules, which could also help to guide future behavior.

On a similar note, YouTube’s also expanding its test of timestamps in Community Guidelines policy violation notifications for publishers, which provide more specific details on when a violation has occurred in video clips.

Initially only available for violations of its ‘Harmful and Dangerous’ policy, YouTube’s now expanding these notifiers to violations related to ‘Child Safety’, ‘Suicide and Self-Harm’, and ‘Violent or Graphic’.

If you’re in the experiment, you’ll see these timestamps in YouTube Studio as well as over email if we believe a violation has occurred. We hope these timestamps are useful in understanding why your video violated our policies and we hope to expand to more policies over time.”

On another front, YouTube’s also testing a new analytics card in YouTube Studio which will show creators the typical amount of views they get on different formats, including VODs, Shorts, and live streams.

YouTube average video performance

As you can see in this example, the new data card will provide insight into the average amount of views you see in each format, based on your the last 10 uploads in each, which could provide more comparative context on performance.

Finally, YouTube’s also launched a test that aims to showcase more relevant hashtags on video clips.

“We’re launching an experiment to elevate the hashtags on a video’s watch page that we’ve found viewers are interested in, instead of just the first few added to the video’s description. Hashtags are still chosen by creators themselves – nothing is changing there – the goal of the experiment is simply to drive more engagement with hashtags while connecting viewers with content they will likely enjoy.”

So YouTube will be looking to highlight more relevant hashtags in video clips, as a means to better connect users to more video clips on the same topic.

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Which could put more emphasis on hashtag use – so it could be time to upgrade your hashtag research approach in line with the latest trending topics.

All of these updates are fairly minor, but they could impact your YouTube approach, and it’s worth considering the potential impacts in your process.

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