Reels now accounts for over 20pc of users’ time on Instagram | Tech/Gadgets

Instagram introduced its Reels format in 2020. ― Picture courtesy of Instagram
Instagram introduced its Reels format in 2020. ― Picture courtesy of Instagram

SAN FRANCISCO, April 30 ― Can Instagram dethrone TikTok? The Meta group has already launched Reels, its own version of short-form videos, to try to compete with the Chinese giant. And the format is proving a hit on social media, now making up more than 20 per cent of the time users spend on Instagram.

This piece of good news was delivered by Mark Zuckerberg during the recent Meta Q1 2022 earnings call. Launched in 2020, the Reels format is now proving a popular tool, especially on Instagram. According to Meta’s CEO, users now spend more than 20% of their time on Instagram watching Reels. A success also echoed on Facebook, even if no figures were this time mentioned. This success has nevertheless underlined the importance of video, which now represents 50% of users’ time on Facebook.

Monetising Reels

Despite its success, Mark Zuckerberg stressed the difficulty of monetizing Reels content, as well as other newsfeed content, marking the next step for the Meta group. Instagram has previously deployed measures to encourage the development of content in the Reels format: “With Reels growing quickly, there’s also a big opportunity as we get better at monetising short-form video over time. We’ve accelerated our efforts to improve the Reels ad format. Our experience monetizing Stories is directly applicable here,” said Mark Zuckerberg.

“We’re leveraging what we learned with Stories ads to create ads for Reels that have a native format, perform well and are easy for advertisers to create. We’re working closely with our partners to help them make the most of the opportunity with video, like experimenting with new formats and with campaigns that utilize multiple types of video ads,” he added.

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However, the success of Reels appears largely to be driven by the artificial intelligence that proposes such content to users, rather than interactions between users themselves: “We’re also seeing a major shift in Feeds from being almost exclusively curated by your social graph or follow graph to now having more of your feed recommended by AI, even if the content wasn’t posted by a friend or someone you follow,” explained Mark Zuckerberg. “Overall, I think about the AI that we’re building not just as a recommendation system for short-form video, but as a discovery engine that can show you all of the most interesting content that people have shared across our systems,” he continued.

Monetization of short-form videos seems to be the latest major goal of social media platforms. Recently, YouTube announced the arrival of ads to its Shorts section in the aim of monetizing its short-form video feature, launched to counteract the success of TikTok. ― ETX Studio