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Instagram Tests Reels Button on Lower Function Bar in Some Regions

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This is interesting.

Last week, when Instagram released its TikTok-inspired Reels functionality into more regions, amid ongoing speculation about the future of TikTok in the US, tech analyst Josh Constine noted that one of the key flaws of Reels, at launch, is that there’s no front page presence for the functionality, making it more difficult to find Reels content.

If Instagram really wants to build a TikTok rival, it probably needs to consider the immediacy of the TikTok feed, which opens up on an auto-playing video stream when you start the app.

And it seems that Instagram is aware of the same. 

Today, several German Instagram users have reported seeing a new layout in Instagram, which put a new Reels button on the bottom function bar, and moves the Discover magnifying glass to the top, next to the Direct tab.

Instagram layout update

You can see the updated format in these screenshots, posted by user @AJ_Malakai on Twitter (and shared by social media expert Matt Navarra) – the play button with a circle is the new Reels stream, with the Discover button up top.

That would give the Reels feed a lot more focus, which could make it a more significant element. Even if, as Constine also notes in his tweet, Instagram’s Reels algorithm isn’t on par with the TikTok stream, just yet.

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TikTok’s algorithm is seen as a key element in the app’s success, with the focus of the app shifted to content, not contacts. All of the videos posted to TikTok can be seen by anyone, unless a user chooses to make their account private. So in variance to Instagram, where only your friends will see your posts, the main TikTok feed can be populated by a wider range of clips that align with your interests.

Given the privacy parameters already established within Instagram, it can’t really replicate that experience with Reels, unless it looks to showcase all publicly posted Reels in their own tab. Which is still not the same, as it won’t open to Reels content, like TikTok does. But it’s closer. That appears to be what Instagram’s going with in this test.

Initial responses to Reels in general, however, suggest that the option still has a way to go to truly rival TikTok.

The New York Times today posted a scathing review of the option, with well-known industry journalist Taylor Lorenz writing:

I can definitively say Reels is the worst feature I’ve ever used.”

Lorenz specifically criticized the functionality of the option, noting that:

[Reels is] confusing, frustrating and impossible to navigate. It’s like Instagram took all the current functionality on Stories (a tool to publish montages of photos and videos with added filters, text and music clips), and jammed them into a separate, new complicated interface for no reason.”

Most responses on Twitter seem to mirror the same – Reels is okay, but it’s not TikTok. So if TikTok does eventually avoid a ban in the US, it’ll likely retain its audience, even with Instagram making its big push.

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Could a new tab for Reels on the main screen change that? Maybe. Maybe, by giving Reels more exposure, more creators will be enticed to try it – but based on early responses, it probably has a few other issues to work out, and it probably, really, makes Instagram a little too bloated, as myself and others have suggested.

So far, the new layout only appears to be being tested in Germany, where Reels was launched back in June. We’ve asked Instagram for more info, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

Socialmediatoday.com

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LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App

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LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App


LinkedIn has announced that it’s shutting down LinkedIn Lite, its pared-back version of the platform, designed for users in regions with more restricted connectivity and data access provisions.

Originally launched back in 2017 as a way to help “level the playing field for all members when it comes to accessibility”, LinkedIn Lite includes the basic functionality of LinkedIn, and is designed to load faster, while also using less data, handy for regions with more restrictive data plans.

But as LinkedIn continues to evolve, the Lite app gets further behind, with the full app’s more advanced functionalities – like video connection, full profile display features, Creator Mode, etc. – all getting more and more distant from the streamlined tool.

And with global connectivity evolving, LinkedIn now feels confident that it can move on without the scaled-back variation, which could also help boost in-app engagement and usage, and make LinkedIn a more significant presence in key markets.

Which, as you can see here, are growing. Now at 810 million total members, LinkedIn continues to gain momentum in developing regions, especially India (85m members, up from 60m in 2019), South Africa (+2m since 2019), the Philippines (+3m) and Nigeria (+1m)

LinkedIn Member Map

As with most social apps, India is a key focus, and LinkedIn says that Indian adoption of the full version of the app is now rising at 4x the global average, as mobile adoption continues to soar in the nation.

At the same time, retirement of the Lite app could also give LinkedIn’s team more opportunity to develop and maintain its new ‘InJobs’ app in China, with the full version of LinkedIn removed from China last October due to increasing regulatory pressure and scrutiny.

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At 56 million users, maintaining connection with China is key, and maybe that’s another factor in LinkedIn’s decision to step away from its scaled-down version.

Either way, the LinkedIn Lite app will be removed from Android app stores on 27th January 27th, before being deactivated completely March 15th.

LinkedIn says that it will transition Lite app users over to the full LinkedIn experience over the next few weeks.



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Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]

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Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]


Super Bowl LVI is just around the corner, which also means that we’ll soon see the biggest showcase of ad content of the year, highlighting new trends, creative activations and opportunities, which can sometimes re-shape advertising approaches from that moment forward.

And this year looks set to be particularly significant. As more people look towards a post-pandemic future, there’s a big opportunities for clever marketers to tap into this enthusiasm, and the various trends that come with it. That’ll likely see more innovative, integrated ad approaches, which will extend beyond the initial big game activations, and showcase new opportunities.

Twitter’s keen to cash in on that excitement. This week, Twitter’s published a new overview of user trends around the NFL playoffs, highlighting the huge boost in tweet activity heading into Super Bowl weekend.

As Twitter notes:

In the 2022 Divisional Round alone, we saw 27% more impressions on Tweets about the NFL, 58% more Tweets overall, and 42% more unique authors, compared with one year ago.”

It could be a key platform for boosting your tie-in efforts – and if you are considering the potential of Twitter ads for your campaigns, then these new stats might help.





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Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]

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Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]


Do you like K-pop?

Increasingly, the chances are that you do, given the massive growth of K-pop fandom around the world, with megabands like BTS and Blackpink building huge audiences, and each becoming cultural forces within themselves.

That fandom is most significantly present on Twitter, which has become a key hub for K-pop enthusiasts. K-pop tweeters are now so prominent that they even have the power to quash controversial hashtag movements, by banding together to flood the streams with K-pop-related tweets instead. 

It’s amazing to see, and today, Twitter has shared some new insights into the rising K-pop conversation, which got even bigger, once again, in 2021.

As explained by Twitter:

With a massive 7.8 billion global Tweets in 2021, #KpopTwitter once again showed its power by breaking its previous record of 6.7 billion Tweets in 2020. Registering a notable 16% increase in Tweet volume globally, #KpopTwitter conversations became more diverse and vibrant in 2021.”

So where, exactly, is K-pop discussion trending, and who are the big bands of note? Check out the below insights from Twitter – which also includes a list of rising K-pop stars if you want to get ahead of the curve.





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