This week in social media news, Facebook launches reels in the US, a new report finds users are more open to TikTok’s advertising options, Twitch tests a feature letting viewers pay to promote streamers, WPP and Snapchat launch an augmented reality partnership, Pinterest announces its second ‘Creators Festival’ event and more.

Facebook Launches Reels In The US

Reels has launched on Facebook for all of its US-based users after having tested the feature in India since March.

Why it matters: TikTok recently celebrated reaching 1 billion monthly active users—news that further incentivized Facebook to launch its short-form video competitor in the US where it boasts 250 million users on Facebook and more than 1.8 billion monthly users of Groups.

The details: Given that TikTok is banned in India, Facebook took the opportunity to capitalize on the popularity of short-form video there first, before determining whether it would be a viable competitor in other markets. Reels on Facebook allow for music, audio, effects and features like following a creator directly from the video.

Sharing themed Reels in Groups allows group members to create the same, similar, or reaction videos that could spark a new trend within the group. With the allure of internet fame, Reels on Facebook can be viewed in the News Feed along with Instagram Reel recommendations, giving Instagram creators more exposure potential across apps.

Reels on Facebook is in a prime position to compete with TikTok, given Facebook’s cross-app exposure, more solidified monetization system and larger resources to invest into incentivizing Reels creation. The invite-only Reels Play on Facebook bonus program offers a bonus to creators whose Reels reach 1,000 views within 30 days.

TikTok Users Are More Open To The Platform’s Ads

According to Kantar’s latest ‘Media Reactions’ study, TikTok is the preferred advertising environment for both brands and their audiences given the platform’s effective ‘Make TikToks, Not Ads’ ethos.

Why it matters: TikTok’s brand-building campaigns are seven times more impactful among people with high ad equity and consumers favor TikTok ads in 13 of 14 categories.

The details: Kantar’s findings are based on three elements: the Digital Dilemma (maximize consumer engagement without irritations), the “Glocal” Dilemma (balance benefits of scale with local relevance) and the Innovator’s Dilemma (maintain trust while driving innovation). Taking into consideration these factors, TikTok ads are particularly effective on several fronts; their collaborative atmosphere leads to less intrusive and more creative ad campaigns. Additionally, TikTok’s ads scored higher on relevance and usefulness than they did in last year’s reports. 

Twitch Tests Feature Allowing Viewers To Pay To Promote Streamers

Twitch is experimenting with a new feature that allows users to pay money to promote a stream. The feature is being tested on a small number of streamers initially.

Why it matters: The new feature is a paid version of Twitch’s “Boost this stream” community challenge program currently in place. In that program, viewers pool channel points and engage them to promote a creator throughout the platform. With the new feature, creators will have even more opportunities to have their streams be promoted and to be more impactful. 

The details: A notification will appear for 10 minutes randomly during a Twitch stream that informs viewers that the boost option is available. Viewers may then pay for a number of recommendations, for example, 1,000 recommendations for .99 cents and 3,000 recommendations for $2.97.

WPP And Snapchat Announce Augmented Reality Partnership ‘The AR Lab’

WPP and Snapchat’s new AR Lab partnership will deliver innovative and immersive marketing and commerce solutions for brands, fusing Snapchat’s leading AR technology with WPP’s integrated capabilities to help WPP clients connect better with customers on Snapchat.

Why it matters: According to a recent study commissioned by Snap, 94 percent of people are expected to engage with AR for shopping in 2022. Considering that advertisers have found AR campaigns on Snap platforms to be substantial business drivers, the new partnership allows WPP clients access to Snap’s AR technology.

The details: WPP will collaborate with Snap on new products and technology. WPP will also gain access to a custom AR Lab Strategy Guide. Together, the companies will execute a custom optimization scorecard for WPP clients that will offer more effective campaigns and insights into performance for real-time adaptation.

Pinterest’s Annual ‘Creators Festival’ To Showcase Key Trends And Tips

During the next ‘Creators Festival,’ Pinterest will showcase its latest features, highlight key usage trends, feature top emerging creators and executives and provide engagement tips for Pin marketers.

Why it matters: The Festival provides the opportunity for the platform to spotlight what its future has in store. Considering its monumental rise in usage during the pandemic, Pinterest is looking to maximize current engagement through more features and formats. Users can now engage on a more intimate level with one another the way they would on most other social media apps.

The details: Venturing into broader social media usage trends, Pinterest has added Idea Pins, the platform’s version of Instagram Stories. ‘Watch’ mode, which is still being tested, allows users to watch a full-screen, vertical TikTok-style feed. Additionally, the ‘Takes’ feature enables users to provide their own video response to an Idea Pin.

Pinners Turn To Pinterest For Halloween 2021 Inspiration 

Pinners are looking forward to experiencing a more traditional Halloween celebration than they did in 2020. Pinterest has been studying the trends that will define this Halloween season.

Why it matters: “Halloween inspiration” searches were three times greater in August this year as compared to August 2020, according to Pinterest. This year, pinners began planning for the holiday much earlier, with related searches beginning as early as the second week of May. Additionally, such searches increased three-and-a-half times as fast compared to the same time in 2020.

The details: This year’s theme spotlights metallics and vivid shades with ‘fairycore’ and ‘goblincore’ themes. 

“Retro Halloween aesthetic” is the top-trending Halloween term with searches having risen by a factor of 76 while “DIY Halloween masks” searches have increased 64 percent.

Pinterest searches on culturally inappropriate costumes have been prohibited since 2016.

Twitter Latches Onto Rising Interest In NFTs

Twitter is looking to incorporate a more creative way for users to display their NFTs while facilitating a more direct connection with users and their latest digital art purchases.

Why it matters: Twitter’s new focus on NFTs as avatars plays well into the company’s Metaverse concept. There, the NFT digital characters may be used in other online applications as the user’s virtual identity. In another sense, the NFT is a sort of verification for those venturing into new digital trends. Additionally, this step seems like the inevitable and natural next step after the social app announced it would allow for payments via cryptocurrency in September.

The details: One new experimental feature would allow users to connect their digital wallets to their accounts for the purpose of purchasing NFTs. Twitter may then provide a mark of authenticity or ownership on the NFT displayed. Another new feature called the ‘Collectible’ tab allows users to present their owned NFTs to visitors. Twitter’s new display option hasn’t yet launched but will be rolled out soon.