Facebook Reels, which launched on Instagram as a competitor of TikTok, has expanded to 150 countries as a feature on Facebook.
The service first debuted for U.S. users on Instagram in mid-2020. Prior to the expansion, Facebook Reels had been in Canada, Mexico and India, and much more broadly across the world as a feature on Instagram.
“Watching video is half of time spent on Facebook and Instagram, and Reels is our fastest growing content format by far,” parent company Meta explained in a blog post. “We’re focused on making Reels the best way for creators to get discovered, connect with their audience and earn money. We also want to make it fun and easy for people to find and share relevant and entertaining content.”
The blog post amplified commentary from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg during Meta’s fourth-quarter earnings report earlier this month. While the quarterly financials were solid, the company was hit by changes in Apple’s app store, and the revelations of that hit to ad revenue prompted Meta stock to plunge 25% in a single day. It has not recovered, trading in the range of $200 a share, its lowest point in nearly two years.
TikTok has taken the digital world by storm, quickly racking up hundreds of millions of global users despite questions in the U.S. about the intentions of its China-based parent, ByteDance. Government officials in China have access to companies’ data, though the company has maintained that firewalls exist to protect the information of U.S. users.
Given the massive reach of Facebook — whose monthly active user base ended 2021 at 2.9 billion, and 1.9 billion on a daily basis — the rollout of Reels is a significant response to TikTok. Today’s announcement of the expansion also included news of several enhancements for creators looking to share in ad revenue. Reels can last up to 60 seconds, the company said, enabling more mid-stream ads. And any creator in the U.S., Canada and Mexico who is taking part in the in-stream ads program can now monetize their public videos. Meta said the tests will expand to “nearly all countries” with in-stream ads by mid-March.
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