TikTok versus Reels battle set to intensify

The video shorts battle of TikTok versus Reels looks set to intensify. After Instagram essentially copied the 15- to 60-second video short feature from TikTok, branding them as Reels, the company is now considering turning all Instagram videos into Reels. What would that mean … ?

Reels differ from normal Instagram videos in three main ways:

  • Creators get access to a music library, more filters, and editing tools
  • Other users can include your original audio in their videos
  • Other users can create a remix which includes your reel

Kind of fitting that Instagram ripped off a TikTok feature that lets users rip off other videos.

Social media specialist Matt Navarra spotted Instagram testing the feature.

Parent company Meta confirmed the test to TechCrunch.

We’re testing this feature as part of our efforts to simplify and improve the video experience on Instagram.

Meta is also offering Facebook users the option to convert their videos to Reels.

The move is driven by the ever-growing popularity of bite-size video, with viewing time more than doubling since last year. Reels in particular are a growth hack because every Reel posted provides source material for other users to create further Reels.

TNW suggests this is a panic move by Meta.

It’s hard to see Instagram making every video on its platform a Reel not being a response to TikTok’s burgeoning influence. Effectively, Meta is panicking. Its main competitor is attracting a younger audience that spends far more time on the app than its own […]

On a purely numerical level, Instagram is ahead of TikTok. The former app has around 1.4 billion users, while the latter 1 billion. On the surface, this looks good. But that doesn’t tell the full story. The real problem is who’s using the apps — and how they’re using them.

Last year, the number of Gen Z TikTok users surpassed that of Instagram. To reframe that, Meta’s app is becoming unfashionable amongst the youth.

This is not only an issue because it hampers future growth, but because Instagram was meant to be Meta’s pathway to young people, as Facebook has become the social network for old folks.

And while marketers still prefer Instagram over TikTok, this won’t last long.. Currently, the average time spent on Instagram globally is 28 minutes. On TikTok this clocks in at 52 minutes. Those are levels of engagement that can’t be ignored.

Perhaps Meta’s greatest hope is that TikTok is removed from the App Store

Photo: Denise Jans/Unsplash

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