Meta-owned Instagram adds new features in bid to close gap on TikTok

by | Apr 19, 2023 | News

Meta social media platform Instagram has added a range of new features to short-form brand Reels that digital observers say will make it look even more like arch-rival TikTok. In its blog, Meta said: “We strive to make Instagram a home for creators like you to express your creativity, connect with your audience and earn a living. Today we’re announcing improvements to Reels — to empower you to do what you do best.”

One change is the ability to find out what is trending on Reels. According to Meta: “Creators are always looking to discover fresh content ideas, so now we’re adding a dedicated destination for you to be inspired by the latest trends. You’ll be able to see top trending songs, see how many times the audio has been used, tap in to use it  or save the audio for yourself. You’ll also be able to see what the top trending topics and hashtags are on Reels to inform your content. For example, festival season might be trending earlier than you think. We’ve found people start sharing #coachella content before the festival even begins. These are the types of insights you can tap into.”

Meta is also making it easier to edit reels on Instagram by bringing together video clips, audio, stickers, and text on a unified editing screen. This makes it easier to align and time elements of a reel to the right moments in a more visual way.

Other changes include updates to Reels insights “to help you better understand how your digital-first content is performing. We’re adding two new metrics: total watch time and average watch time – and making it easier to see insights while viewing Reels directly.”

Total watch time captures the total amount of time a Reel was played, including any time spent replaying the Reel. Average watch time captures the average amount of time spent playing a Reel, calculated by dividing watch time with the number of total plays. These metrics will help creators better understand where people are being engaged or where they need “a stronger hook to have viewers stay longer”.

Finally, Meta says it is planning to bring ‘gifts’ to more creators with expansions into markets including Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, New Zealand and the UK, in the coming weeks. It is also adding a new feature to show which fans have sent a gift so creators can recognise supporters. If creators tap the heart icon next to supporters, they’ll get a notification that their gift has been seen and recognised.

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