As Instagram continues to reinforce its strong foothold in connecting the world, bringing together over 1 billion users around the world, predominantly through pictures, the social media giant realized that by currently only allowing content creators to upload short-form videos it practically offered no competition to platforms like YouTube.
Importantly, according to a Cisco study, over 80% of the internet’s traffic will be video as soon as 2019. By offering no competition to platforms like YouTube, platforms like Instagram that have a sufficient audience (influencers) to monetize and an active community are leaving a lot of money and opportunity to buttress its community face-flat on the table.
Videos allow content creators to be “real,” to show their audience who they really are as people behind the scenes of their photography. That is to say though pictures often are (metaphorically) “a thousand words,” videos could literally be.
This is why its recent decision to launch IGTV, a new feature within the “Explore” tab that allows content creators to create long-form videos, utilizing influencers who are already popular on the platform, makes a lot of sense. In fact, Laurdiy and King Bach, two of the most popular influencers, are already on board. Presumably, many other prominent influencers are bound to follow suit.
What is IGTV?
Although there isn’t much insight on the specifics of IGTV just yet, Instagram reports that its new video service would be as easy to use as “swiping up to discover more,” and that users would be able to “switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.”” (Instagram) Specifically, Instagram intends to have each creator have his or her own channel, similar to the way YouTube structures content.
The launch of IGTV is a big deal. Not only will it be a huge step in reducing the barrier to entry for content creators online, but also it will also reinforce the loyalty and preference that influencers have to Instagram over other influencer marketing channels.
IGTV’s Bearing on the social media industry
Relevantly, IGTV will make it even more difficult for Snapchat to catch up. With a lack of a clear monetization strategy, Snapchat needs to do some serious thinking about how to compete with Instagram’s new service, which seems to be a clear alternative to Snapchat’s Discover section – one much more desirable for influencers. Instagram’s new development makes Snapchat’s future uncertain.
Steven is the founder of ProjectileX, Managing Editor of Youth Business Collective, Fellow at Stanford’s Designership Institute, and Member of the Youth Skills Initiative at Global Business Coalition for Education.