July 19, 2024
Instagram's 'Sharing to Reels' feature opens up to all app developers

Days after TikTok announced a new developer-facing feature, Direct Post, that makes it easier for third-party apps to publish videos to its platform, Meta has announced that its own Sharing to Reels widget for mobile apps is now available to all developers. Similar to TikTok’s Direct Post, the idea with Sharing to Reels is to leverage the broader community of video editing apps to generate more content for Meta’s short-form video platform and TikTok competitor.

The Sharing to Reels integration was launched last November in a limited alpha test with a range of app makers as partners, including Lightricks (Videoleap), Reface, Smule, VivaVideo, SNOW, B612, VITA and Zoomerang. The company said at the time it planned to expand the test to more partners in 2023, but did not give a specific time frame.

Today, Sharing to Reels is opening up access to any app that wants to offer an integration that will allow their users to quickly export their videos to Instagram Reels by tapping a button. Previously, users would have to export the video from the third-party app to their device, and then re-upload it to Instagram Reels.

To use the feature, users would first create and edit their video in the third-party app, tap the share button when complete, and then tap the Instagram Reels icon. This will take them to the Instagram Camera, where they can continue to customize their reel with audio, effects, voiceover and stickers. They can also record or upload additional clips to add to their existing video. To finish the upload process, users tap “Next” to fill in the caption, hashtags, location or tag others, then tap “Share” to publish.

Early tester Smule saw a 150% increase in shared content, Meta says, which helped it earn more organic traffic after implementing the feature, but didn’t share any similar metrics for its other alpha test partners. However, it touted the convenience and time-saving nature of the feature, and noted that the reels users export will be visible through public recommendations on the Reels and Explore tabs in Instagram, offering broader exposure. In addition, users can also share their content via Stories and direct messages, Meta noted.

The company offers a similar integration for sharing video from third-party apps directly to Facebook Reels, also announced last year.

Meta didn’t announce any additional partners were coming on board with this expanded availability, however — it’s only opening up access to interested developers.

In the case of TikTok’s Direct Post, however, the company had partnered with several high-profile apps, including those that supported AI editing like Adobe’s AI-powered video editing software Premiere Pro and its AI creativity app Adobe Express. Other Direct Post partners included Twitch, SocialPilot and ByteDance’s CapCut.

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