Meta Takes on TikTok with Updated Video Features for Reels

Meta Platforms announced new features for Reels on Facebook and Instagram, including the ability to import audio, new templates to assist in video creation, a Suggested Reels feature, the ability to generate short-form Reels directly from Live content, upcoming editing and scheduling tools and more. These updates — in addition to a Sound Sync feature for Facebook Reels and Instagram Reels of up to 90-seconds — should help Meta keep up with ByteDance’s TikTok on the social media front, even as it has one foot planted in the metaverse.

The video improvements announced Friday tackle TikTok head-on. Lengthening Instagram Reels from their previous 60-second cap shows restraint and may indicate Meta sees a market opportunity in digging-in on short-form, following what TechCrunch calls “TikTok’s move into YouTube territory with videos that can now be 10 minutes, instead of just three as before.”

“Meta’s been testing 90-second Reels with selected users over the last few months” and is now rolling out the feature broadly, notes Social Media Today. Among other improvements Meta announced:

  • Instagram Reels is adding the ability to import audio, allowing users to add background sound or overdub commentary “from any video at least five seconds long that’s stored on their Camera Roll,” TechCrunch says.
  • Instagram is adding templates that allow “users to create new Reels using the same structure as one they just watched,” writes TechCrunch, calling it “a simpler way to get started with video creation” and comparing it to TikTok’s templating option, while pointing out that “with Reels Templates, users are able to pull in both the audio and clip sequence, however. This helps users to recreate more complex formats just by adding their own content and trimming their clips.”
  • Poll, Quiz and Emoji slider stickers, first made popular by Instagram Stories, now added to Instagram Reels.
  • Suggested Reels rolling out globally as part of the Facebook Feed, as well as in Groups and Watch, “giving creators more ways to get discovered, extend their reach and grow their audiences.”
  • In addition to creating Facebook Reels on iOS and Android, users can now create, edit and publish Facebook Reels from a web browser using Creator Studio.
  • New tools that make it easier to create, edit and schedule Reels will be introduced in the coming weeks.
  • Meta also introduced Sound Sync, which automatically syncs users’ video clips to an audio.
  • Geared to gamer creators is a tool that generates short-form, vertical Reels directly from Live content, with dual views to simultaneously showcase gameplay and the creator cam.

“Reels is Meta’s fastest-growing content format,” writes Social Media Today. Meta appears to be responding to the pressure “to make Reels more engaging, as TikTok’s influence — and money-making potential — continues to grow,” TechCrunch summarizes.

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