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Instagram Adds Reels Replies, Providing Another Way to Tap into Short-Form Video

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It’s been in testing for a while, but today, Instagram has officially announced that users can now reply to post comments with Reels, providing another way to integrate Reels into the Instagram process.

Instagram Reels replies

As you can see in this example, now, when you reply to a comment on a post, you’ll also have the option to tap on the blue Reels button to create a video reply, which will then appear as a sticker that you can send to the commentor.

Here’s another look at the process in action (via @TheBKH):

It’s another way to help Instagram boost engagement, while also leaning into the short-form video trend. It’s also, unsurprisingly, almost identical to the same feature that TikTok added in June last year.

Instagram’s added some new color options to the sticker, but essentially it’s the same thing. Which, given Instagram’s more recent history, is pretty much par for the course – though you will be able to reply to comments on regular posts and videos with Reels too, which expands the function a little.

On one hand, as with all of Instagram’s copycat functions, it feels a little cheap, a little stale maybe to see it simply re-create what TikTok already does.

On the other hand, it’s working – Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted in the company’s most recent earnings announcement that Reels is now “the primary driver of engagement growth” on the platform, with millions of users now interacting with Reels clips every day. If Meta can keep a few more short video fans on its apps, instead of seeing them drift off to TikTok, that’s a win, and that, in itself, is likely enough to justify its continued copying of TikTok’s features.

But I maintain that if Meta really wants to win back younger users, it needs to come out with new, unique features, and lead the way with the latest trends. A side-effect of replication is that you are inherently following someone else, and if you’re not seen as the leader in the latest shifts, you’re unlikely to be the cool app, and the place where younger users are primarily interacting.

Meta, of course, knows this. In fact, it’s a key part of Facebook’s growth story – once Facebook overtook MySpace as the primary social app of choice among mong users back in 2005, MySpace tried to copy Facebook’s key tools, in a last-ditch effort to stem the user migration.

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That clearly didn’t work, and Facebook eventually became the place to be, which then propelled the company to bigger and better things.

TikTok is on a similar trajectory, and while Meta’s family of apps is far bigger than MySpace ever was, it’s not unfeasible to imagine TikTok becoming the top social app at some stage in the near future.

Meta has already said that it’s making young users a focus, and as part of that, it really needs to re-establish itself as the leader, not the follower of the latest trends.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Pinterest Launches Pin Ads in Argentina, Colombia and Chile

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Pinterest Launches Pin Ads in Argentina, Colombia and Chile

As it continues to expand its ad offering, in order to maximize its business opportunities, Pinterest has today announced that Pin Ads will now be made available to all businesses in Argentina, Colombia and Chile.

As explained by Pinterest:

“Businesses of all sizes now have access to multiple types of ad formats and targeting options in Argentina, Colombia and Chile, to reach new audiences with meaningful, useful content as they discover ideas and plan new projects.”

Pinterest says that it recently launched its first ads with a small group of early partner brands in these regions, including Tiendas Paris and Publicis Groupe, which has paved the way for today’s full market expansion.

The announcement is the latest in Pinterest’s growing Latin American business push, with Pinterest Ads also made available in Brazil and Mexico last year. The app reaches around 80 million active users per month in the region – over 18% of its total user base – which represents significant opportunity, and highlights the expansion potential that Pinterest still has in this respect.

Further to this, Pinterest also launched ads in Japan just last month, enabling businesses to reach another 8.7 million active Pinners.

It’s somewhat surprising to consider the extended reach that Pinterest is still yet to achieve with its ads business, and how that could translate to more revenue for the company – and with the platform also warning of ongoing revenue pressures throughout 2022, and its overall user base in flux to some degree, it needs to tap into these expanded markets to boost its potential and showcases its value to investors.

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Maybe that will be the remit of incoming Pin CEO Bill Ready, who took over from Ben Silbermann last week. The platform has been on a roller coaster ride throughout the pandemic, with usage reaching new highs, then normalizing once again, which has left many unsure what the future holds for the app. Ready, a former Google commerce chief, will now be tasked with stabilizing the ship, and maximizing performance – and you would assume that this would include a significant expansion of its ad business to facilitate more opportunity.

In selling its new Latin American expansion, Pinterest also reiterates that 97% of the top searches in the app are unbranded, and consist of 2-3 word queries, which makes Pinterest an effective tool to reach people while they’re still considering their next purchase.

“Pinterest is one of the rare platforms where it is truly possible for brands to engage with new customers who are intentional, open and making buying decisions.”

There is opportunity in Pins, for sure, and the addition of a Google insider should help to advance its discovery ambitions in this respect.

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