Instagram is looking to replicate a Snapchat feature to capitalize on viewers’ growing hunger for videos.
Sources told The Wall Street Journal that Instagram will launch a long-form vertical video feature on June 20, enabling users to post up videos up to an hour long.
The decision to launch long-form video comes about two years after the launch of Instagram Stories, a feature that allows users to share photos and multiple short videos of up to 15 seconds uploaded within a 24-hour time-span. Instagram Stories is now one of the app’s most popular and fastest-growing features, according to the company, with about 300 million daily users.
The longer video option on Instagram aligns with recent moves by Facebook to make video a bigger focus of its offerings. This push has given Facebook an entree into additional video advertising, which sells at higher rates than other kinds of digital advertising.
These long-form videos will be visible on the authors’ profiles, near the Stories Highlights bubbles, but will only allow for pre-made video uploads. Creators will not be able to shoot and post long-form.
The move would make Instagram even more enticing as it vies with competitors such as Snapchat and YouTube.
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In 2016, Instagram launched “Stories,” a feature that emulated Snapchat’s layout. Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, offers Facebook Live, an alternative to YouTube’s pre-recorded and live-streamed videos.
The Instagram feature won’t just offer the average user a chance to upload longer videos, though. Instead, it’s aimed at competing more with Snapchat’s Discover section, offering social media influencers and marketing partners a place to post the videos they produce.
According to multiple sources, Instagram will offer a dedicated space featuring scripted shows, music videos and more in vertically oriented, full-screen, high-def 4K resolution. Instagram has been meeting with popular social media stars and content publishers to find out how their video channels elsewhere would work within its app. It’s also lining up launch partners for an announcement of the long-form video effort tentatively scheduled for June 20th.
… [T]he feature is more focused on the kind of videos you see from YouTube creators. These often range from five to 15 minutes in length, shot with nice cameras and lighting but not some massive Hollywood movie production crew.
Those that partner with Instagram for the feature might find it lucrative, as well.
Instagram intends to eventually let creators and publishers earn money off the longer videos, though it hasn’t finalized how accompanying ads like pre-rolls and mid-breaks or revenue splits would work. It is not paying creators up-front for shows like Facebook Watch, either. But the videos will each feature a swipe-up option to open a link, which creators can use to drive traffic to their websites, e-commerce stores or event ticketing. Thanks to Instagram’s 800 million-plus users, the video section could be a powerful marketing tool beyond generating cash for creators directly.
The proposed Instagram feature also highlights video’s emergence as an integral part of successful digital PR and marketing strategies—both to the creators of the videos and to the social media platforms that host them.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The audience for original digital video, defined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau as ad-supported, professionally produced and distributed digitally, has grown substantially in recent years. An IAB report estimated earlier this year that the audience among U.S. adults has expanded from 45 million in 2013 to 72 million in 2018, or by 60%.
A recent Pew Research study revealed that teenagers are ditchingFacebook for YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, meaning Facebook must turn to its mobile-app acquisition to recoup some of its lost users’ attention—and marketing dollars.
Regardless of where these longer videos appear on the platform, it would be a big shift for Instagram. It wouldn’t, however, be a massively surprising one given Instagram is part of Facebook.
In recent months, Zuckerberg’s company has been pushing longer native videos on Facebook itself, perhaps in part because the ad revenue is so lucrative. But as teens abandon Facebook in huge numbers and continue to rely on YouTube for their long-form video it’s likely that this approach is not proving to be as financially rewarding as Facebook may have hoped.
How does this news change your social media and content marketing strategies, PR Daily readers?