This single update may be the best summary of Meta’s 2022 innovation efforts.
Yes, as you can see in this image, posted by Radu Oncescu (and shared by Matt Navarra), Meta’s adding yet another way to get users to share Reels on Facebook – even if they don’t have their own video content to upload to the app.
Following the explosive growth of TikTok, Meta has been trying to get more users sharing more short-form video, in order to tap into the same trend, and align its own platforms with what it considers a transformative usage shift.
In order to do this, Meta’s added a heap of tools and processes designed to both highlight short video clips in feeds and facilitate simplified creation of short-form video content, with this latest iteration being the ultimate end game for such process.
Meta’s evolution throughout 2022 in this respect has effectively gone like this:
‘We’ve got short form video too’
‘We’re making short form video a priority’
‘We’re inserting short-form video into the main feed, from people and Pages that you don’t follow’
‘You really should try short-form video yourself’
‘Please upload short-form video’
‘Seriously, we’ve made it so easy, you don’t even have to record video, we’ll do all the work for you.’
Again, the option summarizes all that Meta has been working towards, in Facebook and Instagram, throughout the year, which is essentially just using TikTok as its product development lead, and hoping that will be enough to slow the migration of its users across to the Chinese-owned app.
Will that work? I mean, Meta has repeatedly noted that Reels usage is on the rise, and continues to generate big traction, and there would be a significant percentage of Facebook and Instagram users who simply can’t be bothered downloading a new app, and building a new social graph, in order to watch short video clips.
That’s the target audience for Reels, really. Meta’s not trying to beat TikTok so much as it’s working to dilute its unique value, and stop users from leaving.
And if TikTok, eventually, were to get banned in the US, it’s also setting itself up to be a successor, as Instagram has become, in at least some capacity, in the Indian market.
It makes sense, but TikTok has certainly done a lot of heavy lifting for Meta’s product teams over the past 24 months.