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YouTube Adds New ‘Shorts’ Shortcut Button to User Home Screens in India

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YouTube is testing a new shortcut option for its TikTok-like ‘Shorts’ feed, as it seeks to establish the option in the Indian market. 

YouTube Shorts

As you can see in this screenshot, posted by Digital Information World, the new home screen link gives Shorts prominent space in the top bar of the app, making it easier to tap through and see the latest in a dedicated Shorts feed.

As explained by YouTube

“We’ll be adding a Shorts icon to the top or bottom row of the mobile app that makes it easier for you to tap and watch Shorts on YouTube. Those who are in the experiment will either see a Shorts icon in place of the Explore tab (with the Explore icon moved to the top row) or will see a Shorts icon in place of the Cast icon in the top row (casting can still be done in the player while watching a video).”

YouTube says that it will begin testing this new option with “a small group of users in India using the YouTube app on Android and iOS”. 

Shorts is still only available in limited capacity, with YouTube putting specific focus on the Indian market, where TikTok was banned back in June. At that time, TikTok was up to 200 million Indian users, leaving a big gap in the market, which Instagram (via Reels) and YouTube have both sought to fill. 

Local video app Reposo has also seen a surge in interest following the TikTok ban – though it’ll be interesting to see how Google’s recent investment of $145 million into Reposo’s parent company InMobi impacts Reposo’s growth. 

Reposo currently serves 33 million monthly active users, but if Google is now able to influence decision-making and development at the video app, it could see Reposo eventually folded into YouTube Shorts. 

Maybe. At this stage, there’s no indication that Google will hold an influential stake in Reposo, but it is interesting to note the ongoing battle for user attention in the Indian market in the wake of Tikok’s removal. TikTok, meanwhile, continues to negotiate a possible return to India in future.

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Shorts is still in test mode, with a wider roll-out set for some time in the new year. YouTube hasn’t provided any official usage data, but as noted, with 200 million Indian TikTok users seeking alternatives, you can bet that both Reels and Shorts are taking up a significant proportion of that market. 

Shorts also has the advantage of providing another option for prominent YouTube creators to promote their channels, which could see it become a hit. Whether Shorts or Reels catch on in regions where TikTok is available is another question entirely, but it is interesting to note the impact that TikTok has had in influencing the product strategies at some of the world’s biggest apps.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Instagram Confirms that Videos Under 60 Seconds in Stories will No Longer Be Split into Segments

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Instagram Confirms that Videos Under 60 Seconds in Stories will No Longer Be Split into Segments

Instagram continues its gradual process of merging its video products into one, with the announcement that videos in Stories that are under 60 seconds in length will no longer be split into 15-second segments in the app.

As you can see in this in-app alert, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when you update your IG app, you’ll get a notification letting you know that your videos in Stories will no longer be cut up, making it a more seamless viewing experience.

Instagram’s been testing the update with selected users over the past year, as part of its broader process to integrate its video options, in line with the short-form video shift and general engagement trends.

Last October, Instagram retired its IGTV brand, as it combined IGTV and feed videos into one format, while in July, Instagram announced that all uploaded video under 15 minutes in length would be posted as Reels, further aligning its various video formats.

Instagram Reels update

The merging of its video options is aimed at simplifying the app, while it will also, ideally, help Instagram maximize user engagement, by making all of its video content, in all formats, available in more places where users are interacting.

By shifting its video content to a more aligned format, that’ll give IG more video inventory to insert into user feeds, which it’s increasingly looking to do via AI-defined recommendations, as it follows TikTok’s lead in making your main feed more focused on entertainment, as opposed to being restricted to only the latest posts from people and profiles that you follow.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently noted that just over 15% of the content in Instagram feeds now comes from people, groups, or accounts that users don’t follow, with its AI recommendations contributing more and more to the user experience. Zuckerberg noted that he expects to see that amount more than double by the end of next year.

Instagram’s been working towards this for some time, with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri noting back in January that: 

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We’re looking about how we can – not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram – simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”

The merging of its video formats will ideally facilitate more opportunities in this respect, while also making it much easier for users to understand where to find each different type of content – or increasingly, to not have to go searching for it at all, as it’ll be fed directly into your main feed, whether you follow the creator or not.

Which, of course, is a process that not all users are entirely happy with as yet, but still, Meta remains confident that they’ll come around as its recommendations algorithms continue to develop.

Instagram has confirmed the new Stories video expansion to TechCrunch, explaining that:

“We are always working on ways to improve the Stories experience. Now, you’ll be able to play and create Stories continuously for up to 60 seconds, instead of being automatically cut into 15-second clips.”

That’ll also make it easier to skip through those longer videos that you’re not interested in (as you’ll only have to skip once, as opposed to tapping through each individual frame) – though it may also have implications for creators who’ve structured sponsored content deals based on frame counts, as opposed to Story length.

That’s a relatively easy fix, longer term, with the focus shifting to length instead. But it may add some complications to the process in the immediate future, as the Stories eco-system evolves in line with the new process.

Instagram says that the new, longer video Stories are being rolled out to all users.

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