Facebook is integrating Reels, its TikTok-inspired shorthand video feature, into its main app, expanding the program from its roots in Instagram, and promising that it will be a new avenue for advertising.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced changes to Facebook’s main app with the introduction of Reels, a move that shows the company is trying to evolve with the times so as not to become an outdated social network. TikTok, the Chinese-owned app, has proven to be a formidable rival with its combination of creative video editing tools and a weirdly addicting algorithm.
“People can browse the reels based on their interests and what’s popular in a new section dedicated to the news feed,” Facebook said in a blog post on Wednesday.
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A year ago, Facebook brought Reels to Instagram, which gave the creators of this app a new outlet to showcase their videos and participate in the types of hashtag trends that characterize TikTok. Just this week, TikTok announced that it exceeded one billion active users. Facebook has 1.9 billion daily users and 2.8 billion daily users across all of its apps, including Instagram.
Facebook Reels is just the latest example of how American social media companies are trying to give users, especially popular creators who may be internet-born celebrities, a way to reach a wider audience. Videos have the potential to be shown to all viewers of an app, not just subscribers.
Videos are also popular with brands and create new canvases for ads on mobile devices. “Similar to Instagram, we’ll soon start testing full-screen, immersive ads between the reels,” Facebook shared in the announcement. “As with organic content from Reels, people can comment, like, view, save, share and ignore it.”