We’re over a quarter of the way into 2023, and it’s clear that the way we communicate and engage with each other online — especially between brands and consumers — is continually evolving. And with new platforms and types of content always emerging, the possibilities for how we use social media are truly endless.
With that being said, it can still be tricky for brands to determine the most effective way to reach their audiences while staying on top of trends and sharing the most popular types of content. From the continued rise of short-form video content to Facebook holding on to the title of most-used social platform worldwide, we’ll look at the shifts we’ve seen in content popularity and how businesses and their customers engage with each other via social media.
Are Reels No Longer on the Rise?
In August 2020, Instagram launched Reels, allowing people to create and share fun and entertaining 15-second videos. Reels quickly grew in popularity, with many businesses embracing them as a new way to engage with their followers. Businesses can use Reels to showcase products or services in a unique way and highlight behind-the-scenes views of their brand, allowing them to connect with the right audiences on a much more personal level.
Instagram users initially saw a rapid shift toward these short-form videos being prioritized over the platform’s traditional photo content. But now, almost three years since the launch of Reels, Instagram’s CEO has pushed for a return to what made the platform popular in the first place: good old-fashioned pictures. This is not to say that the popularity and usefulness of Reels won’t continue to grow in the coming years. Short-form video content is still a unique and personalized way for brands to engage with their audiences. But if you’ve noticed a dip in your company’s Reels engagement over the last few months, adding more photo posts to your content calendar may be worth a shot.
Still, there is no clear answer on whether Reels or photos get better engagement on Instagram as it largely depends on your specific audience and type of content being posted. Some audiences may prefer the dynamic and entertaining nature of Reels, while others may value the aesthetic and attention to detail of photos. It is important to understand your audience and produce high-quality content that resonates with their preferences to maximize engagement.
YouTube Hops on the Vertical Video Trend
Right on the heels of TikTok and Instagram Reels, YouTube launched its own short-form video feature called Shorts in September 2020. These vertical video clips can last up to 60 seconds, and they allow users to add music, text, and special effects to their videos.
One of the main reasons behind the rising popularity of YouTube Shorts is the platform’s massive audience. YouTube has over two billion monthly active users, which makes Shorts a promising marketing and branding tool for businesses to reach a wider audience. Additionally, YouTube Shorts are designed to be discovered through the app’s home screen and suggested videos, which increases the chances of user engagement and viewership. The algorithm also takes into account a user’s viewing history and preferences to recommend videos, which can further improve the discoverability of Shorts.
Many users have already reported getting more views on their shorts than their regular videos. Just as Instagram pushed Reels to the top of everyone’s feed when they were first launched, YouTube has shifted focus to promoting Shorts content. Shorts are also designed for increased user engagement. With attention spans continually decreasing, your followers may be gravitating toward this new, bite-sized and easily consumable content instead of engaging with traditional, longer-form videos.
Is Facebook Cool Again?
Facebook has been around for over a decade, and while other social media platforms have risen to prominence since its initial launch, Facebook remains one of the most popular platforms with over 2.9 billion monthly active users.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Facebook, with many people returning to the platform or joining for the first time. One reason for this increase in popularity is Facebook’s adaptability to changing trends and user needs. For example, Facebook has introduced features such as Facebook shop, which allows customers to browse and purchase products directly on Facebook, and Facebook Stories and Reels, which offer the same short-form content capabilities of its Instagram counterparts.
Another reason why Facebook is increasing in popularity is its role as a communication tool between brands and consumers. As users continue to seek out brands and content that are most relevant to them, businesses can foster that personal relationship with their customers by actively engaging with them, responding to comments, and answering questions via Messenger. This real-time communication between brands and consumers can help businesses build a relationship of trust and demonstrate that they value their customers’ feedback.
The Main Takeaway
Social media is constantly evolving and adapting in order to meet the needs of its users. By this time next year, we can expect to see even more shifts in what users tend to engage with most. No matter what type of content is currently the most popular — whether it’s videos, Stories, or carousel posts and photos — diversifying what you post on social media, staying on top of what your audience likes to engage with, and communicating with customers in a timely manner should always be a brand’s top priorities.