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Meta Announces New Updates for Reels, Including Interactive Stickers, Sound Sync and Longer Clips

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Meta Announces New Updates for Reels, Including Interactive Stickers, Sound Sync and Longer Clips

Reels is Meta’s fastest-growing content format, and as it seeks to fend off ever-growing competition from TikTok, the company has today announced a range of new Reels updates, including longer clips, new interactive stickers, audio editing options and more.

Longer clips is probably the biggest update – from today, users will be able to create Reels clips of up to 90 seconds, up from the previous 60-second limit.

Meta’s been testing 90-second Reels with selected users over the last few months, and now, it’s giving everyone a little more time to create their Reels content.

Which, in some ways, goes against the short-form ethos of the offering, a key element of its appeal. But then again, TikTok expanded the length of its videos back in July (3 minutes), then again in February (10 minutes), and given its enduring popularity, it would seem like providing users with more flexibility on this front has had little impact on engagement.

Still, on TikTok, there’s no alternative – you can’t post longer clips, for example, to Facebook Watch, or as a regular video upload, which makes it a little different.

I guess, really, an extra 30 seconds is no big deal in this respect, though it could be significant for creators looking to build a presence via the option.

On another creative front, Meta’s also adding a range of new stickers to Reels clips.

“We’re bringing some of your favorite Instagram Stories stickers to Reels: with poll, quiz and emoji slider stickers, you’ll have new ways to connect with people through your reels.”

New interactive tools will help to improve engagement, with polls, in particular, proving hard to resist for many users.

Meta’s also adding a new audio import option, which will enable creators to upload their own audio directly within the Reels creation process, while Facebook Reels will now support voiceovers for your recordings, so you can narrate your videos.

Meta’s also adding a new ‘Sound Sync’ option, which will enable Reels creators to automatically sync their video clips to the beat of a chosen music track.

Reels Sound Sync

That could make it a little easier to make better-looking Reels clips.

Finally, Meta’s also launching Templates, which lets you ‘easily and quickly create your own reel using the same structure as a reel you’ve watched’.

Meta’s been testing this with selected creators over the past few months.

Reels templates

As you can see in this example, now, when you see a Reel that you want to recreate, you’ll be able to select ‘Use as Template’ to pull in the audio and clip sequence. You’ll then be able to customize the format with your own content.

As we noted in our previous report on the option, Templates leans into remixing, which is a key engagement element in TikTok (and is also available in Reels), and so long as you’re not copying an idea frame-for-frame, with no credit to the original, it could be okay. But it does seem like it’s perfectly aligned with doing just that, which could be a problem – especially given that Instagram recently announced a new algorithm update to better promote original content creators in the app.

Remixes, it seems, won’t fall foul of that shift.

In addition to these creative updates, Meta’s also looking to boost Reels discovery, by basically shoving them into more recommendation feeds across its apps.

On Facebook, we’re rolling out suggested Reels in Feed globally to help you get discovered by people around the world. We’ve also expanded Reels in Watch globally, so people can find Facebook Reels in Feed, Groups and Watch. On Instagram, creators have the option to recommend their reels on Facebook to expand the reach of their content.

As is Meta’s way, when it thinks it’s onto a winner, it does it to death (see also: Stories), which serves the dual purpose of both ensuring maximum exposure to such content across its various streams, while also making many users sick to death of seeing them. That, ideally, then also makes them sick of seeing them in other apps too – so while flooding you with a certain format may seem like a path to reducing engagement, maybe, it also helps to ween users off the latest trends, which then sees them stop using alternative apps as well.

Maybe that’s a step too far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Meta has helped to drive people away from competitor apps via over-saturation of rising content formats.

From a technical perspective, Meta’s also looking to provide more Reels creation options, with the capacity to create, edit, publish and schedule Facebook Reels from Creator Studio, as well as the addition of new video clipping tools in Studio, which will make it easier cut Reels highlights from long-form uploads.

Reels editing in Creator Studio

That’ll provide another way for brands to get involved in the Reels shift – and with more people engaging with more short-form video content, it’s well worth considering how you can incorporate the format into your content approach.

In addition, Meta’s also rolling out new editing tools to help live-stream creators cut Live clips down to ‘a vertical-friendly, 60-second format’. Which is specifically focused on gaming creators, but could eventually have benefits for all live-stream users.

It’s amazing to consider the influence that TikTok has had over the broader social media industry, and the way in which short-form video has rapidly become the key content format of focus for so many users.

The appeal of short-form video is that it’s quick and non-committal, so if you don’t like what you’re seeing, you can skip onto the next, and continue on through your feed, looking for the best highlights that suit your mood on any given day.

Which, inevitably, is also having a broader impact on user attention spans, and as more people spend more time consuming this type of content, that’s changing their general approach to content, and the expectations around how messages are communicated to them through media inputs.

In other words, more users are getting more used to quick, simple, entertaining clips – which means that your promotions need to follow the same trends if you want to maximize your own brand appeal.

These new Reels updates provide a range of new considerations in this respect.

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Social media businesses look out, here comes Chat GPT

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Social media businesses look out, here comes Chat GPT

XiaoIce has pioneered a cutting-edge artificial intelligence system designed to create emotional bonds with its 660 million users worldwide. — © AFP

From the explosion of TikTok to the fall of Twitter, the social media industry has experienced some seismic changes over the past 12 months. Next year promises to be no different. How are those who rely on social media for businesses purposes to navigate through the turmoil ahead?

Luke Lintz, CEO of Highkey Enterprises, a multinational social media marketing firm, has told Digital Journal about the top three social media trends he expects to see in 2023.

Short-Form Video Content Will Dominate

Lintz observes the rise in video shorts and sees this trend as one that is likely to continue. Here he says: “The number one trend in the digital marketing landscape next year will be the emphasis and prioritization of short-form video content.”

This is because: “Social Media platforms’ competition for attention with short-form content has been the epicentre of 2022 and will continue to be the focus in 2023. People’s attention spans are ever-decreasing, and social media users quite often don’t have time to sit down and watch a 10-minute video and would rather watch a short video tailored to what they like to watch rather than a picture.”

Using example, Lintz finds: “This is why we have seen Instagram change its newsfeed and algorithms to favour Instagram Reels content in competition with Tik Tok. We have also seen a massive prioritization of YouTube Shorts in their fight against the lost attention to Tik Tok. In 2023 we will see very large incentive problems for top YouTube shorts, Tik Tok and Instagram Reel creators to incentivize the best creators to stay on the platform. For creators and business owners, they must strategize ways to incorporate short-form video content into their content plans to stay relevant.”

Social Media Users Will Turn Their Back On The Algorithm

This could be the age of new media. Lintz says: “Burnt out by the pressure of chasing “likes” and constantly trying to add new followers, a growing share of social media users will turn to smaller platforms in 2023. Sites like Discord, Mastodon, Geneva, Substack and Patreon emphasize community building in private spaces.”

In terms of the cultural change driving this, Lintz says: “A search for safe spaces and nostalgia for the Internet of the early 2000s — when the word “algorithm” wasn’t part of everyone’s vocabulary — has fuelled interest in these more intimate digital environments. Expect to see people look for smaller social media platforms that they have more control over.”

ChatGPT Will Revolutionize Social Media Management Companies

There is one new item of technology that is set to bring with it significant change. Lintz predicts: “Chat GPT (‘generating pre-training’) is not only the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public, it also promises to usher in a new era for social media management companies, including HighKey Enterprises. The AI chatbot will take over basic writing tasks, thereby eliminating the need for human creativity to create new social media content.”

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