Published on June 19th, 2018
In case you haven’t heard the news, Instagram recently announced that it would be testing out long-form video content on the platform starting June 20th (aka tomorrow!)
This change would extend the maximum video length from 60-seconds to up to one hour.
Clearly, this is a significant change from previous limitations, and will undeniably alter how everyone uses the platform.
This will also likely change how users (and your buyers) engage and interact with content in the space.
So, what exactly does this mean for you and your marketing strategy? In order to effectively prepare for what’s to come, read on to get all the facts behind this shift.
Why Long-Form Video?
If you remember back when Instagram first announced they would be offering video, it was likely to compete with the 6 second video platform Vine (RIP).
Then shortly after, they added Stories as a feature to capitalize on the buzz that Snapchat received on its own platform.
Now, with this long-form offering, it is speculated that Instagram is going after YouTube’s appeal for both creators and users.
With over 1.57 billion active users daily, and 300 hours of new content uploaded per minute, it’s clear that YouTube nearly has a monopoly as a video-exclusive platform, and Instagram is making a big play to get a piece of that user base.
It wants to encourage high-quality creators to post on the platform more frequently (which is supported by reports that they’re adding link-out capabilities as well as monetizing these long-form videos for creators).
Like its parent company, Facebook, which began pushing video heavily in 2017, this is in an effort to keep users on the platform for a longer period of time and build their reputation as a video content platform.
Last week, TechCrunch reported that Instagram has already met with several social media influencers to prepare for this launch on June 20th.
Like YouTube, Instagram will use an algorithm to recommend the best possible content to its users that they’ll be interested in.
While some might call it “copying,” it’s clear that Instagram insists it is simply paying attention to the best, most valuable features of several popular platforms and utilizing them in their own space to give it’s users the best possible experience on the app.
As Instagram recently hit 1 billion users, it’s safe to say this approach seems to be working!
What Other Changes Can We Expect?
While a lot of these changes have not been formally announced, here’s what we know so far:
Location - Again, while this hasn’t been officially confirmed, it has been speculated that long-from videos will live on their own section within Instagram.
Whether that be somewhere in the explore feed or its own tab in the bottom navigation is unclear, but we do know that Instagram wants to have its own look and feel for these videos that is different from the way it currently presents video.
Having these videos live in their own section will make it easier to create video-specific personalized recommendations, keep users engaged with the content, and frankly, help keep newsfeeds clutter-free for those who may not want to view longer clips.
Vertical Videos - Another big change is the format of the videos. The new videos are reported to be vertical, full-screen videos (similar to how the Stories feature appears) rather than the traditional horizontal format when you currently upload a video currently.
Quality - TechCrunch also reported that these videos will be in 4K - similar to the quality you can expect with a YouTube video.
Snapchat has a similar feature on its Discover items, but because it only affiliates with specific brands, this is a great opportunity for Instagram to come in and fill that gap.
What This Means for Your Marketing Strategy
At the end of the day, changes are inevitable to social media platforms, and it’s becoming more important than ever to be agile in your strategy when they come.
Staying apprised to changes and pivoting with them allows you to capture users with cutting edge tactics before the space becomes too cluttered with competitors doing the same thing.
While all of these changes are still extremely new (and unconfirmed), one thing that is clear is that this change will allow businesses to increase their reach with video content.
Unlike YouTube or Facebook, Instagram is yet to be saturated by video, so you have a much better opportunity to get noticed there than you might on other platforms.
As far as what to post, focus on engaging, educating content that will make the user want to watch more like it.
But remember, like with any marketing strategy, it’s important to pay close attention to the metrics to see what’s working and what isn’t. If your users don’t end up watching, it may not be worth your time and effort.
Instagram hasn’t announced if this change comes with any new analytics tools, but they currently offer many valuable insights tools that can show you how your content is performing on the platform.
What do you think about long-form video on Instagram? Are you excited about it? Will you use it for your brand? Let us know in the comments below!