Meta’s announced some new video enhancements for Facebook, as it continues to evolve from a social app into an entertainment platform, in line with broader industry trends.
First off, Meta’s renaming its ‘Watch’ tab to ‘Video’, which is more representative of the platform’s expanded video offerings, beyond its dedicated programming in the original Watch feed.
As per Meta:
“The Video tab, previously known as Facebook Watch, is now the one-stop shop for everything video on Facebook, including Reels, long-form and Live content. The Video tab will look familiar – you can scroll vertically through a personalized feed that recommends all types of video content – but will also feature new horizontal-scroll reels sections that highlight recommended reels, so you can quickly jump into short-form video.”
As noted, Watch had been Meta’s original programming hub, but in recent years, it’s drifted away from this approach, in favor of highlighting the top-performing content from users instead, via algorithmic matching.
Which it cloned from TikTok, the short-form video leader, that’s seen big success in moving people away from their social graph in order to see the best content for them, based on their interests, as assessed by TikTok’s systems.
Meta’s now following that lead, which has seen it increase time spent on Facebook and Instagram, as more people are hooked by AI-matched video content appearing in-stream.
As such, Meta doesn’t need professionally commissioned content in the same way that it once did, hence the re-branding of the Watch tab, which will also enable it to push a broader range of video content into that feed.
Meta says that a new ‘Video’ tab will be appearing in the main UI of the app shortly.
Along a similar line, Meta’s also redesigned its video Explore elements, in order to better highlight popular video topics.
As you can see in this example, the updated video Explore will highlight trending topics for each user, via a mix of human curation and machine learning. That, ideally, will get more people spending more time scrolling through the video feed, and discovering more top-performing content of relevance to them.
Meta’s also looking to facilitate more short-form video creation, by integrating the Reels editing tools into the main feed.
The update will broaden access to Meta’s Reels tools, including more responsive video editing, which will likely see even better, more polished video content being posted by more users in the app.
Meta also notes that users can now upload HDR videos for Reels, providing a higher-quality video format (more info on Meta's updated HDR support here).
Finally, Meta’s also adding the ability to view and write comments on Instagram Reels that have been recommended to you on Facebook, without needing to switch between apps.
If your Facebook and Instagram accounts are connected, you’ll now be able to get the full viewing and engagement experience for each clip on Facebook, which could help to enhance usage.
The bigger push, as noted, is to provide Facebook users with more entertaining video content, in-line with usage trends, which has seen more people spending more time in the app, due to more AI-recommended video clips appearing in their feed.
The counter to this is that creation and engagement in both apps is on the decline, with fewer people posting personal updates to both Facebook and Instagram than they have in the past.
People are now less inclined to share their personal updates, which is why video is now such a key focus for Meta, as it looks to maximize retention and interest.