On Tuesday, Facebook said it is testing a new feature that will recommend Reels from Instagram creators on its platform in India, provided the creator chooses to do so. India is the first market where this feature is being piloted with select creators such as Ashish Chanchlani, Pooja Dhingra, Masterchef Pankaj Bhadouria, Awez Darbar, Bong Guy and key public figures such as Suresh Raina, Sanjeev Kapoor, Harbhajan Singh among others.
The test will be done only with public accounts, who may soon see a prompt to opt-in to the feature. These videos will be shown as recommended content to users on Facebook based on relevance and they will be shown with the creator’s Instagram username even if they have a Facebook account, it said.
The company said this feature will enable creators to expand the reach of its content to new audiences, although it also opens up a potential monetisation opportunity for the social media giant in the future. In November last year, Instagram head Adam Mosseri had
told CNBC they plan to eventually bring ads to Reels, although he hadn’t disclosed any specific details on it, saying they are still working on ensuring the format is engaging for consumers and creators.
Instagram had launched Reels as a rival to ByteDance-owned TikTok in August last year. In India, it competes with more than a dozen short-video apps, including MX Player’s TakaTak, Glance-owned Roposo, and Dailyhunt’s Josh, all of which have been vying for the top spot in the country after TikTok’s ban in June last year.
That said, it’s worth noting that Instagram Reels is part of the main Instagram app, unlike the majority of its competition that are standalone apps.
Facebook has also been
independently testing a TikTok-like short video feature since August last year, which will now be rebranded as Reels.
One can select this option at the top of the News Feed that opens up the Facebook Camera, wherein users can capture either video clips, or upload video clips from their phone gallery. They will also get access to editing tools like augmented reality effects, speed, timer and countdown and the ability to add songs from the Facebook music library or use their own original audio clip in the short video.
Similar to other posts, users can share this video on their public news feed or use one of the existing custom audience options on the Facebook app.
Last month, Instagram had also extended Reels to its revamped lightweight offering Instagram Lite that was introduced late last year.
*Disclosure: MX Player is part of Times Internet that owns ETtech