I know the logic behind this, and I understand why Meta would do it. But there is a whiff of desperation here, of trying to latch onto the TikTok horse as it bolts away, taking all of Instagram’s popularity with it.
Today, Meta has announced that virtually all video uploads will now become Reels, whether you want them to or not, while it’s also added a range of new creative tools for Reels as it doubles, and triples down on the short video format.
The main change is in bringing all video clips into the Reels feed.
As explained by Meta:
“Since reels offer a more immersive and entertaining way to watch and create videos on Instagram, we’re bringing the full-screen experience to your video posts, too. In the coming weeks, new video posts shorter than 15 minutes will be shared as reels. Videos posted prior to this change will remain as videos and won’t become reels.”
Yes, 15 minutes. That’s not exactly short form, which means that pretty much all uploaded videos in the app will now be fed into the Reels stream.
In some ways, that makes sense. Reels is the fastest growing content format in the app, and the broader popularity of TikTok has led to habitual changes in consumption behavior, which means that users are now instinctively more aligned to the format.
In that sense, Instagram should feed into it where it can – but still…
The broader concept would be that as more people watch Reels, more content can only be beneficial for engagement, while it should also mean more views on your clips, as they’ll be surfaced within that stream.
But it could also make Instagram less differentiated, less unique – and again, it does feel a little desperate from Zuck and Co.
Either way, it’s a new dawn for Instagram content, and it’ll be worth monitoring your stats, and considering how you can best lean into the latest Reels trends to maximize engagement.
In addition to this, Instagram’s also adding a range of new creative tools for Reels clips
First off, Instagram’s adding some new Remix options, to providing more ways to collaborate within Reels clips:
- Remix for photos: Photos are core to the Instagram experience. In the coming weeks, you will be able to remix public photos. This gives you limitless inspiration to create your own unique reel.
- Expanded Remix layouts: Choose between a green screen, horizontal or vertical split-screen, or picture-in-picture reaction view to add your own video commentary to existing reels.
- Add your clip: Have a hot take? Rather than having your remix appear at the same time as the original reel, you can now add your clip after the original so it plays sequentially.
Instagram’s also expanding access to its Reels templates option, which enables you to use existing, popular Reels formats as templates for your own clips, while it’s also adding a new Dual camera mode, so that you can capture content and your reaction at the same time, using your phone’s front and back cameras simultaneously.
These additions also align with already established TikTok trends – so, pretty much, if you’re used to TikTok, you’ll already be prepared for these new creative options and tools.
Which is kind of the aim, but also kind of a concern. If Instagram remains solely focused on TikTok, then there’s no real originality in the app, and less of a unique value proposition.
Where’s the leadership that Meta once held as the main platform in the social media space?
It used to be that Facebook and Instagram were the apps that broke new trends, that showcased new tools, but since the introduction of Stories, it’s all been about replication, and defending its territory as best it can with rip-offs and copycat features.
Meta, in general, is more focused on the next stage, in the metaverse, and maybe then, it just needs to get its main apps through till it can transfer users into its next big phase, where it will take the reigns of leadership once again.
But I’m not sure that Instagram users really want this, nor that it will help Meta maintain its leadership in the long run.
Either way, the stats will tell the tale. You or I may not like these replicant features, but if people use them, and IG engagement goes up, it’s Meta that will have the last laugh.
Twitter Outlines New Ad Improvements in Line with Evolving Data Privacy Approaches
With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, all of the major platforms are working to update their ad tools, in order to maximize ad spend, and boost campaign performance.
That’s become more important than ever due to the broader economic downturn, which has impacted the results at all the social apps, as marketing budgets shrink, and businesses reassess their promotional activity. As such, the holiday push will also provide a chance for each platform to showcase its capacity to drive better outcomes. And with even less data to work with, due to Apple’s ATT update, that poses a range of challenges in itself.
Which is the key focus of Twitter’s latest ad updates.
Today, Twitter has announced a new and improved Twitter Pixel for website visitor tracking, an updated Conversion API, and a new App Purchase Optimization process to help improve your Twitter ads campaigns.
First off, on its updated Pixel – the new version of Twitter’s pixel will enable advertisers to track more actions, like when someone adds an item to their shopping cart, while Twitter has also simplified the pixel integration and activation process.
“We simplified our event creation process, which helps advertisers more seamlessly set up their measurement solutions, and introduced updates to our Pixel Helper Chrome extension. This will help advertisers better understand the impact of their web campaigns and provide clearer support when checking to see if the Pixel is implemented properly.”
Pixel tracking can provide direct data insights to help inform your campaigns, filling some of the gaps left by users switching off in-app data tracking. It won’t facilitate the same data at scale, but more insight is always better, and these new pixel elements could make it easier to utilize Twitter’s pixel elements.
Twitter’s new Conversion API, meanwhile, will enable advertisers to feed conversion data back to their Twitter account, without the use of third-party cookies.
“CAPI can also help improve optimization and ad targeting without the need for a Twitter Pixel, which is the first time an advertiser can finally connect data to see conversions without placing a tag on their site.”
The new API is the first major step in Twitter’s broader effort to build for the cookie-less future, with more privacy-friendly tracking solutions to maintain, and potentially even improve performance.
The final new element is App Purchase Optimization, which will enable advertisers to deliver ads to the Twitter users that are most likely to install an app or make a purchase ‘by using machine learning to identify audiences that are more likely to take an action.
As you can see in this example, the process will utilize Twitter’s evolving machine learning tools to select the right audience for your campaigns, which could help to maximize performance.
Twitter says that in early testing, 89% of advertisers saw a reduction in cost-per-purchase.
In addition to these new updates, Twitter has also shared some more detail on its in-development ad options, which don’t have a release date as yet. But again, with the holiday shopping push fast approaching, you can bet that Twitter will be pushing to get them out soon.
First on Twitter’s ‘Coming Soon’ list is Collection Ads, which will enable advertisers to highlight a ‘hero’ image, along with smaller thumbnail previews of related products beneath. Twitter first previewed the option back in March.
As you can see in this example, brands will be able to include up to five side-scrolling images beneath the main image, with each driving consumers to a different website or product landing page, if you so choose.
Twitter says that it’s also rebuilding its Web Conversion Optimization model in order to help advertisers reach people who are more likely to convert. Meta is also focusing on similar within its broader effort to mitigate the impacts of Apple’s iOS data tracking update, with the process essentially putting increased reliance on machine learning models to optimize performance.
Finally, Twitter’s also developing a new type of Dynamic Product ads that will ‘deliver relevant products to the right person, at the right time, based on their activity both on and off Twitter’. Twitter’s current Dynamic Product Ads are based on website tracking, with Twitter able to show ads to users based on the webpages that they’ve visited. But the new format will again take a more privacy-focused approach, in order to optimize ad performance with potentially fewer signals.
These are some significant additions to the Twitter advertiser arsenal, which also signal Twitter’s biggest steps yet in moving more into line with evolving privacy tools and restrictions.
Which is a necessary development – but in terms of actual value, and how effective they might be, it’ll really come down to how good Twitter’s machine learning tools actually are, and whether the right users end up seeing your ads as a result.
If the systems work as intended, these updates could be a big boost for Twitter marketers – but if not, it could be a frustrating holiday season for those utilizing promoted tweets.
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