A few days ago, Instagram launched a brand-new feature on its social media: Reels. This feature, already available in 50 countries, allows to create short videos (15 sec). For those who are familiar with Tik Tok, Reels has many similarities with the Chinese application… so simple copycat from Facebook or real innovation? Socialsky has looked into the question for you.
It is obvious that both applications offer videos in short format, but they are not the only ones to try this type of video: Vine and Snapchat have also gone through this. However, the applications share other common features: the ability to choose the speed of the video, a range of effects and a similar interface. Where the two applications are very similar is in the approach to the user. Both set up a real creative ecosystem for users: the application becomes a real place of expression. Thanks to the various effects available, users can develop their creativity and offer ever more varied content.
Reels is not an application in itself. Facebook’s goal is not to develop a new app but rather to offer more opportunities on an existing app. In this way, the social media becomes more visible to its users, and they stay connected longer. Instagram is therefore a multi-purpose application that offers both more “social” content with Stories but also entertainment thanks to Reels. The idea is thus to meet as many users’ expectations as possible but also to reach a wider audience. To achieve this, Instagram has invested a lot of time to redesign its Explore page.
Despite the rivalry that may exist between the two applications, Facebook did not want to directly implement in its application all the features that Tik Tok currently offers. They prefer to wait and adapt to users and their needs as they go along. There are therefore indeed some differences between the two products.
Positioning of FB
It’s all these differences that make Facebook claim that this is not a simple copy of Tik Tok but a real innovation. However, this is not the first time the social network giant has tried its hand at copying. In 2016, there was already the same controversy with the appearance of Stories on Instagram strongly reminding the concept of Snapchat. According to Facebook, they do not copy, they do better. Thanks to a significant investment in time and research, the social media is able to offer technologies that are easier to use, more intuitive and that better meet consumer expectations.
While Facebook was put under the spotlight because of the strong similarity of its applications with other products, Tik Tok also suffered a setback as the application has recently been banned in India because of the alleged use of user data. In addition, President Trump is threatening to do the same in the United States. These circumstances could be favourable for Reels, which would then find itself alone on the market. However, at the moment there is talk of Tik Tok being taken over by Twitter or Microsoft, which would completely change the situation in the United States since in this case the application would be American and consequently authorized in the country.
For users, on the other hand, this competition can be beneficial since they are now twice as likely to be seen if they register on both media. After all, let’s not forget that the main interest of social media is to be as visible as possible.
Will Facebook, the American giant overcome its Chinese competitor Tik Tok?