When Snapchat started off as the first and only player in the branch of short videos, a million user community was born. Only a little later, social media giant Facebook followed with its popular app Instagram and their InstaStories – and success followed quickly. Short video sequences that are only accessible for a limited amount of time – usually for 24 hours – are now more popular than ever. It wasn’t long until Instagram parent Facebook and the most-used messaging service WhatsApp jumped on board as well. Now, YouTube also wants to be part of the game and is about to implement a very similar tool.
By using short clips and videos, content creators are able to interact with their followers on a much more intense level. Those who want to be kept in the loop, need to check the apps regularly. The story tools allow an unfiltered peek behind the scenes and thus strengthen the personal bond between the creators and the viewers of the stories. YouTube Reels, as the short video tool is supposed to be called, will be implemented as a part of a campaign to expand the so-called YouTube Community Tab. But there are a few significant differences to the formats that we’re already familiar with.
While on Instagram and Snapchat, each user can both create and watch stories, only YouTubers are able to upload clips with the Reels tool. Subscribers can only view the short videos. Currently, the tool is being tested in the beta phase by YouTubers with more than 10,000 subscribers, as it is already the case with Community Tabs. Another difference is that the videos aren’t automatically deleted after 24 hours, but can stay online permanently, if desired. Additionally, each YouTuber is able to create several Reels, allowing them to sort their Reels into different topics (source: YouTube Creator Blog).
Functions that we already know from the common networks are: linking to other content within their own channels, adding text or captions and applying stickers to the videos. With YouTube Reels, the video platform that in June announced more than 1.5 billion users, wants to further build and strengthen their community, as well as keeping the users on the platform even longer. All of the above is only valid assuming that the new tool will be accepted by both content creators and YouTube viewers.