Meta Tries To Beat TikTok at Its Own Short-Form Video Game

TikTok on the Mind

It’s not hard to see why Facebook parent Meta Platforms (FB) is paying such close attention to rival TikTok. While Facebook’s user base recently stopped growing for the first time, TikTok is the new kid on the block. It reached one billion global users last year and has only had formal ads since 2020.

During its February earnings call with analysts, Meta mentioned TikTok nearly a half dozen times. The competition between the two companies is intense, and clearly has Meta rethinking some aspects of its social media approach. In order for Facebook and its Instagram platform to remain dominant, it plans to borrow from what is driving TikTok’s success.

Keeping It Reel

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has identified the company’s short-form video product, Reels, as priority number one in 2022. Reels was first launched in 2020 across the globe on Instagram, and made its way to Facebook earlier this year. Executives say it’s already Meta’s fastest-growing content format.

Broadly speaking, Reels are similar to the bulk of content that’s created on TikTok. Meta defines them as short and entertaining videos where users encounter new ideas, collaborate with others, and discover cultural trends. The company isn’t loading Reels up with ads yet, as compared with Instagram Stories or Feed posts.

Can Meta Reel in The Ad Dollars

There are signs Reels can boost Meta’s revenue, as Stories ads are now achieving the same level of monetization as Feed ads. Stories grew out of a desire to compete with Snapchat (SNAP) and were launched in 2013.

Now, Meta is hoping to attract content creators onto its platforms by offering a revenue share program for Reels. Some analysts argue there’s no guarantee that will work, because many creators get paid off direct sponsorships rather than revenue-share agreements. Meta is betting short-form videos are the key to driving engagement, and it hopes Reels can tackle TikTok.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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