A new article on Social Media Today
reports that as TikTok continues to rise, virtually every social app has been testing out its own short-form video variation, in order to latch onto rising consumer trends, and stay in touch with audiences. Facebook has Reels, available on both Instagram and in the main app, Snapchat has Spotlight, which enables creators to earn bonuses for content performance. And YouTube has Shorts, which has is already generating billions of daily views in the app.
"We're currently testing out a new Shorts experience - if you're in the experiment and you close the YouTube app while watching Shorts, you will be dropped into the Shorts player when you reopen the app (so you have direct access.) If you exit the YouTube app while watching any content other than Shorts, we won't direct you right into Shorts next time you open the app.'
The test underlines the rising influence of TikTok on broader app development trends, with users becoming increasingly accustomed to TikTok's engrossing, active stream of content, that keeps them scrolling, and glued to the app for longer sessions. YouTube's looking to tap into the same, and while the test is only being made available "to a small percentage of viewers using mobile devices", the broader impact, and implications of the experiment could be significant, both in terms of guiding YouTube's development focus, and likely the development of similar features in other apps as well.
The most likely candidate here would be Instagram, which has already noted that Reels is now the 'largest contributor to engagement growth' in the app. Given the popularity of Reels, and parent company Meta's renewed effort to win back younger audiences, it would make sense for Instagram to eventually also open to a full-screen Reels feed, as opposed to the traditional Instagram post stream.