In the month of August, when Facebook launched Instagram Reels as an in-app feature, common perception suggested that the social media behemoth did so to eat into Tiktok’s market space.
However, as always, the CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been thinking one step ahead.
It turns out, by introducing the TikTok clone Reels, Facebook not only wanted to trample Tiktok’s success but also monetise the feature as soon as possible.
On October 5th, Facebook announced that they will start testing out shopping functionality within Reels later this year and that shoppable IGTV videos will be rolled out globally right away.
Reels being launched only two short months ago, the revelation of this plan now makes it one of the very few products the company has put thought into scaling rapidly. Thus, it is essential to dig in and find out why the social media giant aims to do so.
Shoppable Reels: Replicating Douyin’s Success With Social Selling
Douyin – the Chinese version of TikTok and its sister app – has seen a tremendous amount of success with shopping features. Therefore, it is no surprise that Facebook wants to replicate the same for the rest of the world.
The Douyin app allows its creators to make their very own customized online stores. The app users can sell items from Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace.
Facebook can try to pull off something similar as they launched Facebook Shops in the month of May.
Thanks to the existing infrastructure Facebook has built over the last few years; it might even consider to speed things up seeing how TikTok is currently stuck in a rut with the messy acquisition.
Commerce And Payments: Future of Facebook
While the fact that Douyin’s success with social selling can be a massive motivator for Facebook wanting to replicate the same with Reels, one must also consider how the social media giant has been focusing on commerce as of late.
In the month of March 2019, Mark Zuckerberg, while sharing his views on the importance of encrypted communication in a blog post, also happened to mention how the same would lead to fulfilling the company’s vision of moving towards a domain wherein commerce and payments play a central role.
Since then, considering how Facebook has introduced several features around payments such as – Instagram Checkout, Facebook Shops, and Facebook Pay, the idea of monetising Reels doesn’t come off as very shocking.
Incentivizing Creators To Drive Engagement To Reels
One can also perceive the idea of quickly monetizing Reels as Facebook’s way to drive maximum engagement to its TikTok clone feature.
The idea here is relatively straight-forward. TikTok works so well because of its creators. Now, to replicate and generate the amount of engagement TikTok videos do, the social media behemoth must have felt they need creators to choose Reels over the latter.
Thus, the introduction of shoppable feature which can act as a financial incentive for creators to choose Reels as their permanent home. There exist multiple categories wherein it would hugely benefit social media influencers or creators if they could sell to their audience. For example- makeup and outfits are two such niches.
Now, it remains to be seen what does the future hold for monetized IG Reels. If it would succeed in helping Facebook inch further towards their goal of being more commerce and payments centric is anybody’s guess right now. We will keep you updated. Until then, stay tuned.