As TikTok continues to gain momentum, Facebook continues to seek new ways to quell that growth, with its latest attempted pushback coming via Facebook Reels, which will enable users to create and share Instagram Reels within the main Facebook app.
As you can see here, Facebook is now testing a new Reels display unit within user feeds in US, which will help to link more users into its short-video offering.
Som rapporterats av TechCrunch:
“Facebook Reels will give Facebook users the ability to create and share short-form video content directly within the News Feed or within Facebook Groups. Initially, you’ll be able to tap a “Create” button from the Reels section that appears as you scroll the News Feed, while you’re watching Reels or by tapping on “Reels” at the top of your News Feed. From here, users will gain access to a standard set of creation tools, including those for video capture, music selection, camera roll import, timed text and more.”
In addition, Facebook’s also expanding its option for Instagram Reels creators to share their Reels to Facebook, which will see those Reels displayed with the users’ Instagram profile name.
The expansion is no major surprise. Desperate to halt TikTok’s momentum, Facebook has been testing Reels creation and sharing within Facebook over the past few months, which has also included an experiment with a new Stories/Reels/Rooms feed at the top of user feeds.
Facebook hasn’t taken the leap with that format just yet, but this new test is an expansion of experiments it’s been running since March with Reels content displayed on Facebook, with the next element being Reels creation within the Facebook app itself.
Which could be a significant leap. The benefit, in this respect, is that it will expose many users who don’t use TikTok to the short-form video process, which has proven to be increasingly engaging to many younger audiences, specifically. Maybe, with Reels on Facebook, large sections of older audience groups will also be enticed to join in, and that could give Reels usage a boost, while the addition of the format within specific groups could also help to maximize engagement, and keep users posting their clips to Facebook and IG, instead of migrating to TikTok for the same experience.
It could also enable Facebook to use its reach into developing markets to beat TikTok to the punch. If people can already interact via short-form video with their established networks on Facebook, that could lessen the desire for them to download a new app and build new connections.
It seems unlikely that it will significantly slow TikTok’s growth, which is still leading the download charts, but maybe, it could hasten it just a little, while building Facebook’s own video engagement.
And Reels has seen solid engagement growth, despite being a direct TikTok clone. In the company’s most recent earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Reels had been the largest contributor to engagement growth on Instagram in the quarter. Which could alternatively suggest that Instagram growth is slowing in other areas, but either way, Reels has become a solid contributor, and is part of Instagram’s recent announcement that it’s ‘no longer a photo sharing app‘.
Short-form video engagement has become an increasingly habitual trend, and by exposing more people to Reels, Facebook will better align with that shift, which could drive engagement growth, and present new opportunities.
That could also make it a bigger consideration for brands, depending on take-up. It could, of course, go the way for Facebook Stories, and largely fizzle out. But it might also end up being a strong driver, and it’ll be worth taking note of those view counts and engagement stats.
Facebook says that the new Facebook Reels display will be made available to a small percentage of users in the US, starting today, while it’s already available to some users in India, Mexico and Canada.
Ny rapport visar att unga användare i allt större utsträckning vänder sig till TikTok för nyhetsinnehåll
Amid ongoing concerns about its data gathering processes, and its possible linkage to the Chinese Government, TikTok’s influence continues to grow, with the platform now a key source of entertainment for many of its billion active users.
And it’s not just entertainment, TikTok is also increasingly being used for search, with Google reporting earlier this year that, by its estimates, around 40% of young people now turn to TikTok or Instagram to search for, say, restaurant recommendations, as opposed to Google Search or Maps.
And now, TikTok is also becoming a source of news and information, as more news organizations look to lean into the platform, and establish connection with the next generation of consumers.
That’s the focus of the latest report from the Reuters Institute, which looks at how people are using TikTok for news content, and which sources are playing a role in shaping their opinions in the app.
You can download the full, 38-page report här, and it’s well worth a read, but there are two specific elements that are worth highlighting to help better understand and contextualize the TikTok shift.
First off, there’s this chart, which looks at the percentage of people who are using TikTok for news content in each age bracket.
As you can see, younger users are increasingly turning to TikTok to stay informed of the latest news updates. Which is a significant shift, and not just for news publishers looking to connect with their audience, but also in terms of broader impacts, and how young audiences are staying in touch with the latest happenings.
Which then leads into this second chart:
As you can see, it’s not mainstream news sources that are the primary sources of news content on TikTok, its ‘internet personalities’ followed by ‘ordinary people’, with traditional journalists and publications much further back.
That’s a significant trend, which could reflect a broader distrust of mainstream media outlets, and the information presented in the news as we know it.
Now, younger audiences are more reliant on their favorite influencers to act as a filter, of sorts, to help highlight the news of most relevance – which could be good, in that it facilitates a new angle on the big stories each day. But it could be bad, in that the news they present and discuss is then based on the personal bias of each influencer, which is arguably a less transparent process than mainstream news outlets.
But that also depends on your perspective. Journalists, for the most part, work to uphold standards of integrity in their reporting, in order to limit the influence of personal bias, and present the key information within their updates. But increasingly, many news outlets have leaned into more controversial takes and opinions. Because that’s what works best with social media algorithms – you’re going to generate much more engagement, and thus, reach, with a headline that says something like ‘The President hates farmers’ as opposed to a more balanced report on the latest agricultural policy.
Many outlets have essentially weaponized this, and seem to employ partisan takes as a key element in their coverage, again, in order to maximize reader response, to get people commenting and sharing, and prompt more clicks.
Which definitely works, but it’s this approach that’s likely turned many younger consumers away from mainstream coverage, while the rising use of TikTok overall means that, one way or another, they’re going to get at least some news content there anyway.
Which could be a concern. Again, amid ongoing questions about the influence of the Chinese Government on the app, it seems like it should be a significant consideration that more and more young people are leaning on the app to stay informed about the latest news topics.
De Rapportera also looks at how news publishers are using TikTok, and what specific approaches are driving the most success.
“There’s no single recipe for success. Many publishers use a strategy based on hiring young creators who are native to the platform and its vernacular. This approach has connected strongly with audiences and brought critical acclaim but can make it harder to re-version content for other social platforms. Others have focused on showcasing the assets of the entire newsroom, including more experienced correspondents and anchors, delivering greater scale and flexibility but often without the same personal touch.”
So using platform-native influencers, and those more savvy with TikTok-specific trends, can help to increase engagement and performance. But there’s no definitive TikTok playbook, as such, that will lead to guaranteed, sustained success.
Which, in some ways, is because that’s not how TikTok is built. Unlike other social media apps, TikTok isn’t designed to get you to follow the people and companies that you like, in order to essentially curate your own experience.
On TikTok, the aim is to show you the most entertaining content, from anyone, in alignment with your personal interests, which you express by simply using the app. By expanding the pool of potential content to everybody, that gives TikTok’s algorithms a lot more ways to keep you glued to your feed – but the flipside is that it also makes it much harder for creators and brands to establish a following, and keep their audience coming back, as they can on other apps.
That puts more focus onto each post itself, and how entertaining your latest update is. Which is better for TikTok’s ecosystem in general, but it also means that there are more challenges in maintaining reach and resonance in the app.
That’s true for news organizations, but it’s also true for brands, because you can’t just get people to follow your brand in the app and hope that they’ll then see everything that you post.
On TikTok, it’s a new competition, every day, and if you’re not entertaining, and holding engagement with each update, you’re going to lose, on that day at least.
You can download the full Reuters Institute ‘How Publishers are Learning to Create and Distribute News on TikTok’ report här.
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