YouTube’s New Social Features: Reels, Shares, Chat & More

YouTube recently updated it’s mobile app to include a ton of new social features for sharing and engaging with content. These updates include a new “Stories”-like short video format called Reels, new ways to add your personal contacts and share videos with friends, and new ways to post a variety of non-video content on mobile devices.

One of the many┬ánew social features to the YouTube mobile app is the ability to add your personal contacts to your account for sharing videos. To do this, just launch the mobile app and log-in to your account, then click the activity tab and you’ll see the “Add Contacts” button. You can use this to share videos with one specific person, instead of just blasting the video to everyone that follows you.

There are three different ways to add new contacts: adding from your phone book, sending an invitation link to a phone number, or viewing people you may know.

You can also privately share videos with people, which will show up in your “shared” section of the activity tab.

As we covered in our recent blog about Community on YouTube, there is a new feature on YouTube called Reels. This is YouTube’s equivalent to “Stories” that you see on Snapchat and Instagram, and may be the most exciting development out of these new YouTube features. This provides video creators with a new video format they can use to quickly engage with viewers, without the need of fully producing and editing a formal video. YouTube users can find Reels in the Subscription tab of your mobile app, up at the top of the screen where your channel subscriptions are found. Unlike the standard subscription icons, Reels are indicated by a square icon instead of a circular one.

The ability to create Posts and Reels via mobile is still in private beta, but your channel may already have access to it. To find out if your channel has access to these features, just update the YouTube app on your smart phone and click the camera icon with a plus on it up at the top of the mobile app. You’ll then see links that provide you with the ability to 1) upload a video, 2) go live, 3) create a post, create a new Reel (assuming your channel has had access to those features enabled). If you don’t currently have the ability to create a post or Reel – don’t worry. Those features will roll out to all YouTube users soon.

You can get the latest version of the YouTube mobile app for iOS here and for Android here. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions on these new updates.