Instagram is the home of visual storytelling. Over the years, the audience on this platform has grown exponentially, with the most recent statistics demonstrating the rise from 800 million monthly users in September 2017 to 1 billion users in January 2018.
The latest update to Instagram is IGTV, a feature that allows users to share vertical videos of up to an hour long, so let’s discuss it in more detail – how does the feature actually work and what does it mean for businesses?
The Rise of Video Content
Online users have been sharing video content for many years, with the most prolific video sharing platform being YouTube. Statistics go on to further demonstrate the popularity of this video sharing network with an estimated total of 1,300,000,000 users. However, videos are now gaining major traction across other social platforms including Facebook and Twitter. The rise of Snapchat, which has 191 million daily active users, is also a testament to this.
Why is Video so Popular?
Technology is ever evolving and, luckily for video and those that create it, technological updates seem to favour this medium. iPads, tablets and smartphones all allow users to engage, share and embed videos at the click of a button. Features such as autoplay – as seen on Facebook, and Instagram – immediately grab a users attention and offer them an effortless solution for keeping up to date with brands they support, without the need to scroll through masses of text. In fact, research by HubSpot found that 54% of users prefer to see videos over any other form of content from brands they are interested in.
It may be easy to judge why video content is becoming increasingly popular with online users, but what’s in it for marketers? The answer to that question is, of course, data. When you post a status, it’s impossible to see when people stopped reading. However, video content allows for creators to see figures on how many views the video gained, as well as the retention rate – all important information that should be carried into any new campaign that is created.
There’s no doubt about it, competition between brands is at an all-time high, but what video offers is the chance for endless versatility. From tutorials, interviews, behind the scenes footage, new products launches and much more – videos are flexible enough to share all types of content in a plethora of attention-grabbing ways, affording brands with the opportunity to separate themselves from their competition – should they accept it.
Nothing builds relationships like a face to face conversation, and whilst brands and marketers aren’t able to engage with every single customer this way, they are able to offer the next best thing – video and live video streaming. For brands looking to build a more personable relationship with their audience, video content provides a more “real” insight into a brand, its culture and ethics and, with established trust usually comes conversion.
Instagram Video Sharing
When Instagram was first created, the social media platform was solely for sharing photos, which were restricted to a square frame (1:1) aspect ratio. In 2013, Instagram launched video sharing, and in 2015, the restrictions on content size were lifted. By August 2016, Instagram released their “Stories” feature. It was openly stated by Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom that this feature was added to Instagram to rival Snapchat, based on the success of Snapchat Stories. The move will come as no surprise to those that have been intently watching the rise of video sharing over the years since Instagram’s inception. The introduction of this feature highlights the need for big players to stay on top of the ever-changing canvas of the online world.
Now, in 2018, we have seen the latest update added to Instagram and, surprise surprise, it’s another video sharing feature.
Instead of rivalling Snapchat, this time, Instagram seems to have created a feature that isn’t too dissimilar to YouTube. Users of IGTV can share video content of up to an hour long, but in the future, Instagram has said there will be no limits at all.
Just like YouTube, users can watch video content from those they follow (the equivalent of being subscribed to a channel on YouTube). There’s also a “popular” page where users can discover trending videos and a search feature where users can search for accounts they are interested in.
The new feature not only gives a proverbial nod to the ever-increasing popularity of online video content, it also demonstrates the rise in the number of people that use their mobile to watch videos. Instagram said, “By 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic”.
It’s clear that the vertical view of this feature was made to be in keeping with the way in which people use their mobile devices. When answering what this new feature means for businesses Instagram stated: “Longer vertical video on Instagram makes it even easier to get closer to your audience and be discovered by new people.”
You only have to take a look at the big players on social media to understand the importance of utilising video content in order to increase your audience.
It’s not unreasonable to predict that as technology continues to evolve, the demand for more interactive and engaging content will also increase.
The introduction of IGTV is another step Instagram has taken to bring various kinds of video content to its audience – in turn giving brands and influencers a new way to reach their fans.
We Can Help
Do you have concerns about keeping up with your online audience or are you struggling to build your brand online? The knowledgeable team at Active Internet Marketing (UK) can help build your visibility online, keeping up with the latest algorithm changes to ensure your business doesn’t get left behind. Speak to us today on 01604 765796 or fill out our online contact form.