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Facebook Launches Reels: What You Need to Know

Facebook Reels

In efforts to keep up with TikTok, Facebook looks towards launching Facebook Reels!

Reels is a short-form video feature that has drawn comparisons to TikTok from the very beginning. When it was created and launched on Instagram in 2020, the feature allowed digital marketers to record, edit, and share videos of up to 15 seconds on the Instagram app. These videos could be backed by audio and millions of licensed songs. It was only a matter of time till Facebook Reels came along.


In August 2021, Facebook brought Reels over from Instagram to its main app. When the feature began showing up for some users in the Facebook News Feeds, and within certain Groups, digital marketers immediately took notice. 


Facebook’s decision to launch Reels in its main app is almost certainly due to the widespread popularity of another video service — TikTok. TikTok is the only non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion downloads. It also grew to become the most popular social app last year.


Facebook has a reputation for copying the features that other social platforms have made popular. Back in 2016, Facebook famously added a feature called Stories that let users post photos and videos that would disappear after 24 hours. That move was reportedly done in a bid to slow down Snapchat’s impressive growth, and it led to a years-long feud between executives at the two companies. (The Stories feature was added to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, although it has since been removed from the Messenger app.)


While Facebook’s decision to launch Reels isn’t likely to slow down TikTok’s growth—at least not immediately—it does have some pretty major implications for brands and digital marketers. Here’s what you should know.


What Is Reels?

Reels is a video-sharing feature available through Facebook and Instagram. Every day users and digital brands can use Reels to create longer-form video clips that are set to music. These video clips can be shared with Instagram Stories or in a Facebook News Feed. 


On Instagram, users can find Reels through the Explore Feed or by clicking on the Reels tab on a user’s profile. On Facebook, users can find Reels in the News Feed and within Groups.


The social media algorithm that helps users discover new Reels content is still a bit of a mystery, however, it is likely influenced by who a user follows, what content they interact with, and where they are located geographically.


Facebook’s Impact on Reels

Facebook has already been testing Reels in India, Mexico, and Canada, allowing users in those countries to watch and create Reels from the main Facebook app. During the testing phase, Facebook reportedly found that “nearly half” the time spent on Facebook’s main app was dedicated to watching videos. The company says that Reels have grown “especially quickly.”


Adding Reels to Facebook’s main app is not expected to change the role that Reels has on the Instagram app. Those features should remain in place, and marketers who were previously using Reels on Instagram should plan to continue using the feature as is.


The addition of Reels could change the way Facebook’s main app looks to some users. As the testing phase concludes and Reels gets rolled out more broadly, marketers should expect the main Facebook app to look more like TikTok. That means more emphasis on video and less emphasis on written posts and audio content.


How to Use Reels for Marketing

Facebook Reels has the potential to streamline social media marketing for some top brands. With this new addition, users will be able to create Reels from many different places within Facebook’s main app. Brands that have been developing short-form video content in-house may now want to consider creating videos within the Facebook app rather than Instagram.


As of August 2020, Facebook is also testing a feature that gives Instagram creators the option to have their Instagram Reels shown as recommended content within the Facebook mobile app and Facebook’s desktop website. Creators who opt-in to will have their short-form videos appear in the Reels section on the Facebook News Feed. They will appear alongside other video content.


Here are three ways to use Facebook Reels as part of a broad digital marketing strategy:

  • Creating authentic content. Reels are a fun way to create authentic content, making this a great option for brands that want to showcase their human side.
  • Publishing educational videos. Brand marketers can use Reels to teach followers something new, like how to save money on a service or the best way to use a certain product.
  • Show off new products. Reels can be used to increase brand awareness and generate more sales.


How to Create Reels on Facebook

Not sure where to begin when using Facebook Reels? When the feature is fully rolled out, marketers will be able to follow these steps to create Reels within the Facebook app:

  1. Tap on “Reels” at the top of the News Feed, or scroll down the News Feed until you see the Reels section.
  2. Click the “Create” button.
  3. Use Facebook’s creation tools to capture video, select music, and enter text. 
  4. Choose a song from Facebook’s music library or record original audio.
  5. Select from a variety of special effects and editing tools, including a timer for recording video hands-free.
  6. Publish the video once it’s complete.


Brands can choose who to share their Reels with. For example, users can share Reels with friends, specific audiences, or the general public. Brand marketers will want to share their videos widely for the greatest chance of their content going viral. Sharing content with the general public will be the default setting when publishing Reels on Facebook.


Facebook Reels’ video editing tools will work very similarly to Instagram Reels, so brand marketers who are already using Reels on Instagram should expect the same workflow.


In the coming weeks, Facebook is expected to launch a number of augmented reality effects that users can add to Reels. These special effects could be created by Facebook or third-party developers.


Facebook Reels vs. Instagram Reels

Facebook’s gradual rollout of Reels means that not all users will have access to the complete set of video creation and editing tools right away. 


At present, some digital marketers may find that they have more Reels features in the Instagram app. However, Facebook will reportedly continue to add other features over time. For example, Facebook users currently do not have access to “Remix,” which is a Reels feature that allows Instagram users to upload a video next to another user’s video. (The Remix side-by-side video feature mimics the Duets feature on TikTok.)


The way that users discover Reels on Facebook will be similar to Instagram and TikTok. Facebook’s algorithm will “recommend” Reels to users based on what they are interested in and what is trending on the social media platform. This is nearly identical to how Reels display on Instagram’s Explore page.


Reels will help expose brands to new audiences, and this effect could be magnified with Facebook’s impressive user base. However, it’s possible that not all demographics will be represented equally. Generally speaking, younger audiences are more likely to consume video content on mobile devices. Since that user base skews young, some businesses may decide they do not want to invest heavily in developing content for Reels.


Facebook Reels Can Be a Valuable Tool for Businesses

If you choose to incorporate Facebook Reels into your social media marketing strategy, the feature can be a valuable tool for growth. While Reels does not call for niche types of content—in fact, creators have total control over the type of content they publish—digital marketers can use short-form video as an opportunity to showcase their creative side and advertise to new audiences.


Whatever your final decision, Facebook Reels is available for those businesses that want to harness social media’s full potential.

To learn more about how to prepare for the full release of Facebook Reels, contact the digital marketing specialists at CMDS.