December 9, 2023

Instagram is testing a change that converts video posts to Reels, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The company says the change, which is currently being tested with select users around the world, is part of Instagram’s plan to streamline video on the app.

“We are testing this feature as part of our effort to simplify and improve the video experience on Instagram,” a Meta spokesperson said in an email.

Screenshot posted on Twitter by Social media consultant Matt Navarra It states that people who took part in the test will see an in-app message that “Video posts are now shared as Reels.”

The message states that if your account is public and you post a video that ends up in a file, anyone can discover your file and use your original audio to create their own video. If your account is set to private, your video file will only be visible to your followers. The message also states that once Reel is published, anyone can create a remix with Reel if your account is public. However, you can prevent people from remixing your reels in your account settings.

As with any other test, it is unknown when or if Instagram plans to roll out the change more broadly. If the change becomes permanent, it may pose some challenges. For example, it can be difficult to post a landscape video if it is uploaded in vertical Reels format. In addition, Instagram has not mentioned how this change will affect existing videos on Instagram.

The test comes as Meta is betting big on Reels. As part of its earnings for the first quarter of 2022, the company revealed that Reels now make up more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram. It’s no surprise that Instagram is looking to expand Reels even more by replacing video posts entirely. If the company ends up making that change permanent, they can brag that people are spending more time watching the reels.

Last year, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the app “It’s no longer a photo-sharing app,” he said, noting that the company is prioritizing the shift to video amid heavy competition from TikTok and YouTube. The company then took a step toward its larger goal of making video a more central part of the Instagram experience by combining long-form IGTV videos and Instagram Feed videos into a new format simply called “Instagram Video.”

If Instagram decides to convert all video uploads to Reels, this will further integrate the corporate video elements. Last year, when Mosseri came out Instagram priorities for 2022He said the company would double its video business and focus on Reels. He even hinted that Instagram will integrate all of its video products around Reels and continue development of the short product, suggesting that change may have always been the plan.

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