YouTube is the latest social giant to clone Snapchat Stories. The company is testing “Reels,” a video feature that helps creators engage with fans between video uploads.
Reels isn’t as blatant a rip-off of Stories as Facebook or Instagram’s versions, but it does borrow several key features. In fact, YouTube even labeled the addition its “own spin on the popular ‘stories’ format.” Like Stories, YouTube publishers make reels by shooting short video clips straight from their mobile device. These 30-second-long videos can then be retouched with filters, music, text, or “YouTube-y stickers.”
Where Reels differs from Snapchat Stories is how the content is presented. The videos don’t disappear after 24 hours, like they do on Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram, and users can post multiple reels. So instead of only posting one Story with all the clips shot in a 24-hour period, YouTubers will be able to post several unique reels, each with its own set of videos.
You might be wondering what effect this will have on your day-to-day YouTube browsing. It appears, at least for now, that Reels won’t show up on the top of the app. It will instead have its own tab within a creator’s channel. There, viewers can comment or like/dislike individual reels. If you already know this isn’t a feature for you, don’t worry—reels will only find their way onto your homepage as recommendations if you start engaging with them.
YouTube will first experiment with a beta version of Reels before releasing it to all users.