Nearly one-third of the world’s three billion internet users watch YouTube content each month. As online video continues to surge in popularity and competing social media platforms fight for users’ attention, YouTube is adding new features to keep its users engaged.
YouTube just announced the launch of YouTube Reels, a feature that mimics Instagram and Snapchat Stories. Read on to see exactly what YouTube Reels includes and how the feature will impact influencers and brands.
On November 29, 2017, YouTube’s Senior Product Manager Roy Livne announced the rollout of YouTube Community to all creators with over 10,000 subscribers. YouTube Community launched September 2016 to select users.
Creators with over 10,000 followers now have access to a tab on their channel’s homepage called “Community”. The tab functions as a social media news feed where they can post written messages, images, GIFs, links to YouTube videos, and polls.
In conjunction with this announcement, Livne introduced YouTube Reels, a beta feature of Community that is being tested by an undisclosed group of top creators. He presented Reels as YouTube’s take on the popular Stories format, and briefly explained its core features. Below, we break down the information that’s been released on Reels thus far.
1. 30-second videos — Reels will accommodate mobile videos up to 30 seconds long.
2. In-feature editing — Creators will have the option to add filters, music, text, and stickers to Reels before publishing.
4. Multiple Stories — Much like other social apps, creators will be able to publish multiple Stories in a row using Reels.
5. Stories that don’t expire — While Stories on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook disappear after 24 hours, YouTube creators will have the option to create Stories that don’t expire.
6. Links to YouTube videos — YouTube hasn’t said whether or not creators will be able to include third-party links in Reels content (a current feature available on both Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories) but has disclosed that the feature will allow users to include links to YouTube videos.
There’s clearly a high demand for Stories features and content among social media influencers and users alike, with top influencers doubling their usage of Instagram Stories in just the last six months. By getting in on the Stories trend, YouTube is keeping top influencers from shifting to competitor platforms.
Additionally, the introduction of Reels encourages YouTube creators to produce more content on the platform. While full-length YouTube videos often require a large time investment to create and edit, Reels gives creators the ability to quickly publish short videos. Reels will likely increase the quantity of content published on YouTube and as a result, increase time spent on the platform by users.
The decision to collaborate with YouTubers to test the beta version of Reels also shows an effort on YouTube’s part to improve influencer relationships, something the platform has struggled with in the past year. Roy Livne, YouTube Senior Product Manager, shared that the decision to create non-expiring Reels videos was based on influencer input. YouTube’s accommodation of creators’ opinions could help mend relationships and result in more influencer opportunities on the platform.
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Just as YouTube Reels will give influencers another avenue to connect with users, the Stories feature will allow brands to connect more personally with audiences in real-time. Once Reels launches, brands will be able to publish Stories on their official YouTube channels, which will increase their online visibility.
Reels will also provide a new format for influencer marketing campaigns and content, through brand-sponsored Reels. Furthermore, Reels will likely prove useful for promoting and linking to full-length sponsored integrations.