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Meta Launches Facebook Reels to All Users, Expanding its Short-Form Video Push



Meta Launches Facebook Reels to All Users, Expanding its Short-Form Video Push

Meta’s taking its battle against TikTok to the next stage with the full launch of Reels on Facebook, using the platform’s massive scale to capitalize on the popularity of short-form video content.

Already available to some users, Meta is now making Facebook Reels available in 150 more regions, with a new Reels display at the top of user feeds.

That will get a lot more people watching a lot more clips via Meta’s TikTok clone functionality, while Facebook’s also adding new creative tools and features to further encourage take-up.

Facebook Reels will include remix functionality to encourage trend engagement, while creators will also be able to post Facebook Reels up to 60 seconds in length, in line with Instagram’s Reels extension launched last July. Users will also be able to share publicly posted Reels to their Stories, adding even more engagement potential.

In addition to this, Facebook’s also adding Reels drafts, and a new video clipping option “that will make it easier for creators who publish live or long-form, recorded videos to test different formats”.

That last one is important, because like YouTube, Facebook’s looking to use its short-form option as a complementary channel, while also giving creators the opportunity to build community, and maximize their monetization potential through longer content as well.

That could end up being a major problem for TikTok. As it stands, monetizing short-form content remains problematic, because you can’t attribute pre or mid-roll ads to specific clips, like you can with longer posts. That immediately limits your revenue potential, and while TikTok is looking to counter this with its Creator Fund and by facilitating brand partnerships, none of these options provide the same money-making possibilities as longer form uploads on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.

TikTok creators have already started calling out the platform over its flawed monetization tools, with revenue potential actually decreasing as the platform gains more users. At some stage, TikTok will need to address this, but with other platforms already paying out billions to creators via their established funding frameworks, there’s likely no way that TikTok will realistically ever be able to compete at the same scale.

Which means that TikTok, for many big stars, will only ever be a supplementary channel, with no direct opportunity for broader monetization. That could see fewer of them go putting real effort into their TikTok clips – and if they can also use Reels and Shorts to directly promote their main money-making content, why would they bother continuing to post on TikTok at all?

Also, what if Facebook and YouTube start doing out exclusive contracts to their most popular creators?

TikTok is huge now, and is on track to get significantly bigger this year, but much of its success still relies on top stars continuing to share clips. If that flow of content stops, your ‘For You’ feed could get real boring, real quick, which could, eventually, become an existential issue for the app.

We’re not close to that stage yet, but that’s what both YouTube and Facebook are pushing for, and with Facebook Reels now providing the capacity to reach another 2.9 billion potential subscribers, that’s a big lure, which may still see Meta’s short-form options become a bigger consideration.

Which is why this other wrinkle is also interesting – in addition to the expanded launch of Facebook Reels, Facebook’s also launched a new promo campaign for its growing stable of long-form video creators.

Storytelling Goes Here

As explained by Meta:

“The ‘Storytelling Goes Here’ campaign showcases video content that reflects the diversity of high quality long-form videos we have on Facebook from Creators, Publishers and Originals, and shares what a person may watch and where they might see an in-stream video brand advertisement.”

As noted, YouTube is also moving along the same lines, with the recent addition of a Shorts display within each Channel’s uploads listing.

The core message being that short-form content is great, but long-form is where the money is. And TikTok can’t offer both.

Which is why this is such a critical expansion, and with Facebook usage stalling (in some regions) and video now accounting for almost half of all the time people spend in the app, it also makes sense to lean into Reels and make the most of its TikTok-fueled popularity.

Facebook’s also testing more direct monetization tools for Reels, including the expansion of its Reels Play bonus program for top-performing clips, and Stars tipping within the Reels experience.

It’s also testing a new sticker ad option for Reels that will enable creators to attach sponsored content to their clips.

“We’re expanding tests of Facebook Reels Overlay Ads to all creators in the US, Canada and Mexico, and to more countries in the coming weeks. We’re starting with two formats: banner ads that appear as a semi-transparent overlay at the bottom of a Facebook Reel, and sticker ads: a static image ad that can be placed by a creator anywhere within their reel. These non-interruptive ads enable creators to earn a portion of the ad revenue.

Facebook Reels ad stickers

That will provide even more monetization potential, to a potentially massive audience – and I can envisage some creators re-uploading popular clips with these stickers attached to make a quick buck.

But long-form content is where the real push is coming, and where the real pressure is being heaped onto TikTok to help its top stars earn big in the app.

And I’m not sure TikTok can do it – I’m not sure that TikTok, or indeed any short-form video-focused app, will ever be able to provide comparable earnings potential to longer-form hosts, at least in the current state.

Which is why TikTok is also exploring long-form clips, as well as live-streams to build out its own platform.

And that’ll work to a degree – and again, it’s not like TikTok is on the brink of failure anytime soon. But money, as they say, talks, and it’ll be speaking very loudly into the ears of all creators once they reach a certain level of fame, which could turn TikTok into a wasteland of one-off clips and desperadoes trying to latch onto viral fame.

Less sustainable, less interesting, and ultimately, less popular over time.

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value



Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

Correction: February 2, 2023 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how much Meta expected to spend on its deal with the virtual reality start-up Within. It is $400 million, not $400 billion. Meta’s stock surged on Thursday …

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps



Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.

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Meta ‘Year of Efficiency’ call from Zuckerberg was what Street needed



Meta 'Year of Efficiency' call from Zuckerberg was what Street needed

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc., center, departs from federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With one simple slogan, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg temporarily quelled investor discontent with his company’s multibillion-dollar investment into the futuristic metaverse.

“Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we’re focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization,” Zuckerberg said as part of the release of Meta’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

Following a 64% plunge in Meta’s share price in 2022, Wall Street cheered the report, sending the stock up almost 20%, extending a rally that began late last year. Based on after-hours pricing, Meta is trading at its highest since July.

Growth is not what’s getting investors excited. Meta reported better-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter, but sales still sank 4% from a year earlier, marking the third straight quarterly decline. And the forecast range for the first quarter suggests that year-over-year revenue could increase, but it could also fall again.

Rather, Zuckerberg’s commitment to cost cuts and efficiency is a sign that increasing profitability is important to Meta, which was known as a growth machine prior to last year’s slump.

“The first 18 years I think we grew it 20%, 30% compound or a lot more every year,” Zuckerberg said on the earnings call. “And then obviously that changed very dramatically in 2022, where our revenue was negative for growth, for the first time in the company’s history.”

In looking to the future, Zuckerberg struck a realistic tone.

“We don’t anticipate that that’s going to continue,” he said, regarding the recent drop in revenue. “But I also don’t think it’s going to go back to the way it was before.”

Meta lowered its estimates for total expenses in 2023 to be in the range of $89 billion to $95 billion, down from its prior outlook of $94 billion to $100 billion. In November, the company announced it would lay off over 11,000 workers, or 13% of its staff.

Zuckerberg said Meta will be more “proactive on cutting projects that aren’t performing or may no longer be crucial” and that it will emphasize “removing layers of middle management to make decisions faster.”

Meta is also reducing spending as it builds new data centers that are intended to be more efficient while still able to power the company’s various artificial intelligence technologies. Capital expenditures are now expected to be in the range of $30 billion to $33 billion for 2023 instead of $34 billion to $37 billion.

Zuckerberg is selling investors on a story they want to hear, acknowledging that the company got bloated and needed more financial discipline. One of Zuckerberg’s top deputies, technology chief Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, wrote a personal essay just a few days ago echoing that sentiment.

Still, Meta has plenty of challenges ahead, in terms of both costs and reviving its core ad business.

Meta’s Reality Labs unit, which is responsible for developing the nascent metaverse, lost $13.7 billion in 2022. Finance chief Susan Li told analysts that the company isn’t planning for any reduction in that unit anytime soon. Zuckerberg still sees it as the company’s future.

Digital advertising, meanwhile, is suffering from a struggling economy, and Li gave no indication that companies are planning to dramatically increase their spending in 2023.

Meta has also yet to recover from Apple’s 2021 iOS privacy update that made it harder to target users with ads. Li said the company has been improving its online advertising system, but Apple’s update is “still certainly an absolute headwind to our revenue number.”

During the question and answer part of the call, Zuckerberg was asked about Meta’s progress in generative artificial intelligence, which has become the latest hot thing in Silicon Valley. His answer indicated that Meta is pursuing opportunities there, but will be cautious in how quickly it proceeds. Running these programs is expensive, and Meta needs to ensure it can develop them affordably, he said.

Zuckerberg said that while Meta is researching how best to incorporate the new technology, he wants “to be careful not to get too ahead of the development of it.”

Correction: Meta’s earnings report and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments occurred after the market close on Wednesday. An earlier version misstated the day.

WATCH: Meta grows in daily active users, shares pop on revenue beat

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