Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing app, is going pro. Last week, the company launched IGTV, a new long-form video app, which will also be viewable inside the main Instagram app.
IGTV features much longer videos than those on the main app, with a heavy emphasis on ones from professional creators. As with Snapchat, the videos will be in the vertical format which is increasingly becoming the default on mobile.
Instagram has tremendous scale, but it saw room to grow in the video ad market.
It’s hard to ignore the opportunity. According to eMarketer, U.S. digital video ad spending will rise to $17.87 billion this year, up 22% from last year. It is expected to jump 19% again next year. Meanwhile, 181.7 million Americans will watch video on their smartphones at least once per month, up 6% from last year.
“Instagram’s new video hub is all about stealing mobile video views away from YouTube and Snapchat, while making Instagram the preferred choice for all creators,” Eric Lam, CEO of the influencer marketing platform Revfluence, tells Digital News Daily. “It’s in line with Facebook’s mission to be king of the hill on mobile video, especially given video’s unparalleled importance to brands today and the shift by younger audiences from Facebook to Instagram.”
Instagram itself is on an explosive growth streak, and the expansion into long-form video appears designed to keep that going. Per eMarketer, Instagram will generate $5.48 billion in U.S. ad revenue this year, up 70.4% from last year. It has nearly 105 million users, up 13% from last year.
That scale is very appealing to brands, influencers and professional video creators looking to reach that massive audience. A dedicated app for long-form premium content, combined with a vertical for that content in the main app, could provide new prime real estate for marketers looking for a brand-safe place to advertise on the mobile platform.
Of course, influencers, creators and brands should also be ready to jump to another platform should the need arise, Telaria CEO Mark Zagorski tells Digital News Daily.
“It’s clear that consumers are hungry for high-quality, long-form video content -- but for hour-long videos, many will prefer a lean-back experience on a bigger screen,” Zagorski says. “That being said, premium video is expensive for publishers to produce and they will need to think carefully about where they are building loyal audiences. We’ve seen publishers literally go under with a tweak of the Facebook algorithm. Content creators need to learn from the past.”