Comments Have Evolved Into A Content Format

Instagram allows creators to share comments to Stories, Instagram tests 10 minute Reels, Meta adds keyword search to Threads, and more.

Instagram

Today’s Edition

  • Instagram's latest comments-related feature highlights how comments have evolved into a content format

  • Instagram is bringing back an iteration of IGTV

  • Meta adds another highly requested feature to Threads

News, Insights & Trends

Instagram Tests A New Feature for Creators to Share Comments from Public Posts in Stories

Instagram is currently testing a new feature that allows creators to share comments from any public feed post or Reel to their Stories. Creators with access can simply swipe on a comment they wish to share and tap the "Add to Story" icon. The comment will then appear alongside the original post or Reel.

Why it Matters: This feature provides creators with the opportunity to highlight interesting and engaging comments, serving as a tool for rewarding and recognizing fans, conducting ad hoc Q&A sessions, and more.

Comments, particularly those left on short-form videos like Reels and TikTok, can sometimes be more captivating, entertaining, or engaging than the posts themselves. Given the various ways creators can respond to, highlight, and craft content around comments, comments have evolved into a content format in their own right.

Instagram's latest feature is just one of many comment-related features recently launched, which foster audience interaction and engagement and offer a low-effort method for generating content. Another notable example is YouTube enabling creators to respond to fan comments with Shorts.

Instagram Tests the Ability to Share Reels That Are 10 Minutes Long

Instagram is exploring the possibility of allowing creators to share Reels up to 10 minutes long, as revealed by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi's initial findings. The platform has since confirmed that it is internally testing this feature.

Why it Matters: Currently, Reels are limited to 90 seconds, which can be restrictive for creators. This limitation forces them to split longer content into multiple segments, creating extra steps and inconvenience for viewers. Allowing longer video lengths could streamline the experience for both creators and viewers, particularly for content that competes with YouTube's offerings. This essentially marks the revival of IGTV in a new format, following its discontinuation last year.

This shift also mirrors the broader industry trend toward longer-form video content. While YouTube has long been a prominent platform for long-form videos, other social media platforms are trying to catch up. For instance, TikTok extended its video length limits to 10 minutes last year and actively promotes long-form content through initiatives like the Creativity Beta Program. Similarly, Pinterest has raised its video upload limit to five minutes.

Expanded durations not only enhance the user experience but also open doors to new advertising formats, such as mid-roll ads, which create new revenue opportunities for creators.

Meta Introduces Highly-Requested Keyword Search Feature for Threads

Meta has begun testing keyword search for Threads, allowing users to search for posts using keywords. Currently, this test is limited to Australia and New Zealand, but Meta has plans to expand the search feature to other English-speaking countries soon and then support other languages afterward. The company also expressed its commitment to refining the search experience based on community feedback

Why it Matters: Keyword search fulfills another demand from users and comes just a week after Meta introduced a web version of the app, which was also eagerly awaited. While access to the feature is currently limited, it represents a significant step forward for Meta. Users will now be able to use keywords to discover more content that aligns with their interests, enhancing content discovery for both consumers and creators. With two highly requested features now available, it will be interesting to observe whether these additions result in increased user engagement in the coming weeks

Meta has also been testing various strategies to boost Threads adoption, such as encouraging Instagram users to create Threads accounts and suggesting Threads accounts to follow in the Instagram feed.

YouTube Enhances Warning System for Community Guideline Violations

YouTube is updating its warning system to provide better support for creators who unintentionally violate its Community Guidelines. Starting this week, when creators receive a warning, they will be offered the option to undergo an educational training course. This course aims to educate creators further about the Community Guidelines, address specific questions related to the violation, and offer guidance on avoiding content that breaches these guidelines in the future. This marks a departure from the previous approach of issuing a lifelong warning.

Under the updated system, here are the scenarios and their outcomes:

  • If creators complete the course and do not violate the same policy within 90 days, their warning will be removed.

  • Creators who violate the same policy before the 90-day mark will have a strike applied to their channel.

  • If creators breach the same policy after 90 days, they will receive another warning and will have the opportunity to take the training course again.

While YouTube is revamping its system, it is important to note that it is not altering its policies regarding the "three strikes in 90 days, and you're out" rule. Additionally, YouTube retains the authority to fully shut down creators' channels in cases of repeated guideline violations or severe content.

Why it Matters: The introduction of the option for creators to remove warnings translates to fewer opportunities for receiving strikes, which, if accumulated, could lead to the termination of their channels. As creators are the backbone of YouTube, it is in YouTube's best interest to retain as many creators as possible while upholding a safe environment.

This marks another notable update to its policies. A few months ago, YouTube updated its policies on impersonations, which helped provide creators with greater protection and safety.

YouTube to Offer Podcast RSS Feed Support by Year's End

By the end of this year, YouTube will support RSS feeds for podcasts on YouTube Music. This will enable creators to upload podcast episodes via an RSS feed, and users to add RSS feeds to their library within YouTube Music. Additionally, YouTube is testing a feature that would allow creators to generate video versions of their uploaded podcasts, which would be accessible on the core YouTube app and website.

Other upcoming podcast features include improved discovery and search functionalities, as well as the option for users to automatically download individual episodes instead of entire podcasts.

Why it Matters: These demonstrate YouTube's commitment to podcasting. The addition of RSS feed support will simplify the process for creators to upload podcasts. Additionally, the ability to create video versions of podcast episodes will expand creators' reach to a broader audience on YouTube. This comes at a timely juncture as audio technology company Triton Digital and YouTube announced that YouTube podcast videos will now be included in Triton's Podcast Metrics. This integration will enable creators to have a more comprehensive view of the performance of their shows.

Over the past few weeks, Spotify, Apple, and even TikTok have all announced or launched new podcast features for creators, further intensifying the competition within the podcasting landscape.

Snapchat Unveils Its Newest AI Feature: Dreams

Snapchat has announced a new generative AI-powered feature called Dreams, which allows users to create fantastical self-images with different backgrounds. The feature is available in the Memories tab, and users can use their own selfies to create Dreams. The first eight Dreams are free, and additional sets can be purchased in-app for $0.99 each. Dreams is currently available in Australia and New Zealand but will roll out globally in the coming weeks.

Why it Matters: Snapchat continues its AI venture, complementing its MyAI chatbot. Dreams offers capabilities similar to photo AI apps like Lensa and PrismaAI, but are directly available in Snapchat. With the popularity of these apps and Snapchat's Lenses success, Dreams will likely be embraced by younger users, who have another means of content creation and sharing. Additionally, Dreams can help boost Snapchat's revenue, as Snapchat users are open to paying for features, as the 4 million Snapchat+ subscribers have proven.

Premium X Users Gain the Ability to Hide Likes

X, formerly known as Twitter, has begun rolling out a new feature for Premium X users that lets them hide their likes. When users hide them, the Likes tab on their profile will only be visible to them. In addition, their Likes timeline will be hidden from X APIs. However, their individual likes on posts will still be visible.

Why it Matters: This option gives creators more privacy, which can be helpful in eliminating any potential backlash or controversy for liking certain posts. On the other hand, hiding likes can impact the discovery of other creators and content, as people often find insightful posts or threads by checking users' Likes tab. Regardless, this added customization can make Premium X more attractive for users who want the ability to keep their likes to themselves.

What I’m Reading

  • Social media is dead (Business Insider)

  • Inside Thread’s first month of influencer brand deals and what’s next (AdAge)

  • TikTok Sparks Inspiration—And Pressure—As Students Shop For School (Time Magazine)

  • Twitch competitor Kick is dividing the internet's top streamers (NBC News)

  • Seafood companies turning to TikTok to reach new audience (Seafood Source)

Go Deeper

Over the past couple of months, I've had the opportunity to participate in several speaking engagements and podcast guest appearances, all centered around discussions on the creator economy. Here's a list and respective links to some of these if you’re interested in going deeper on any topics.

  • MIT's Platform Strategy Summit: Together with summit Co-chair, Peter C. Evans, PhD, influencer marketers Ansley Williams and Heidi (Smolevitz) Mika, and creator Jordan Yates, we held a first-of-its-kind conversation on the creator economy during this annual summit. Topics covered included influencer marketing, co-creation, AI, Threads, and more.

  • The State of Creator Pay - A Discussion with Marketers and Creators: I joined my colleagues from Mavrck/Later, Rachael Cihlar, and Kurtis Smeaton, to dive into the latest research findings from our new Creator Compensation Report and how we think about compensation from both the creator and market point of view.

  • A Dose of Black Joy and Caffeine: Hosted by Adu Adu, the Global Head of Social Media, Creator, & Culture at Logitech, we chatted about the benefits of influencer marketing platforms, staying informed about the creator economy, navigating the marketing world as a person of color, and more.

  • The Business That Story Built: As part of her PR series, Christie Bilbrey and I talked about B2B influencer marketing and the various ways in which small businesses can collaborate with creators.

  • Lights, Camera, Live: Hosted by Stephanie Liu, we dove into the recent guideline changes introduced by the FTC regarding sponsored content.

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