Instagram Video: The New Player in Long-Form Content
October 7, 2021

Instagram Video: The New Player in Long-Form Content

Instagram announced some game changing updates to IGTV that seem to have gone under the radar but whenever a platform makes changes to its product, history has taught us to pay attention!

While Reels have been the talk of the town, the IGTV update has gone relatively unnoticed. In a bid to ensure users are spending as much time on their platform as possible, Instagram is continuing to prioritise video content. It’s clear to see from other platforms - YouTube, TikTok - that video content is the key to keeping audiences engaged for the longest time, but how is this update going to shake things up for brands and creators?

What’s new.

We’re waving goodbye to IGTV and Instagram Feed videos as we know it (so long, auf wiedersehen) and the two will be merging into a new format called “Instagram Videos”. The new features for Instagram Videos include:

  • 60 second previews - A massive increase to the 15 second preview snippet IGTV previously offered and means creators have more time to convince viewers to watch the entire video (which can be up to 60 minutes long).
  • Editing opportunities - Users can now trim the start and end of videos in app and/or add filters. Reels already offered this, but allowing access to editing tools will allow creators to refine their narrative and content on the platform.
  • Captions - Ability to add auto-generated captions. Not only is this a great move towards being more inclusive, Instagram is a predominantly sound-off platform so this may entice users to change their habits.
  • Tagging - You can now add locations and tag other accounts.
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Outside of leading and designing beauty campaigns at Digital Voices, I'm also a content creator across both YouTube and Instagram. With beauty being a niche that naturally consists of educational content (think tutorials), and in my experience long form videos are the most efficient way of sharing knowledge whilst being able to visually demonstrate a product in great detail. I’ve been uploading IGTV’s since the feature launched in 2018 but I’ve always felt they’ve never received the attention (read: reach) they deserved.

With longer previews and the ability to tag people and locations there is a greater opportunity for creators and their content to be discovered. Instagram is taking steps to ensure that both brands and creators stand a greater chance of having their content discovered and enjoyed for a longer period of time, extending the initial interest spike beyond a mere few days.

So does that mean Instagram is coming for YouTube’s VOD crown?

Not necessarily. YouTube is a search engine first (the second biggest in the world after Google), which in itself makes it a very valuable platform for brands trying to build awareness and drive consideration.

YouTube videos also have a higher average watch time than any other platform, and our campaign data tells us audiences landing on a brand website from a YouTube video have longer dwell time, and lower bounce rates, in comparison to other key platforms. It’s this dedication and sense of community that makes YouTube audiences so valuable to brands so it’s really no surprise that Instagram wants a piece of the YouTube - long form content - cake.

We don’t know what the future holds, but after the debacle around the Shopping feature added earlier this year, many creators were left feeling like the app was slowly turning to only benefiting brands by pushing sales. The most recent updates are truly a breath of fresh air as they will allow creators to enrich their narrative across their key platforms and it shows that Instagram hasn’t given up on creators. As a creator, it leaves me very excited to see where brands and influencers take Instagram Video.

If you take away anything from this article it is to add Instagram Videos to your cross platform strategy. It can offer a valuable additional touch point to your brand strategy and will likely give great reach as the new feature that will be promoted over the next coming months.

And if you want to learn about how you can use Instagram Video as a brand, get in touch here: natasa@digitalvoices.com.

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