It seems that Instagram is trying to poach a portion of ad spend from YouTube with plans to roll out long-form video.
While the popular image-sharing platform currently supports hour-long live streams, videos are capped at 60 seconds. But this could be extended to 60 minutes, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal.
The plans to roll out long-form video could further place Instagram as the ultimate hotbed for influencer marketing.
The platform is already insanely popular among social media stars, influencer marketing platforms, and companies who are leveraging this form of marketing.
Over the last few years, the use of social media platforms and influencers has grown from obscurity to a form of powerful marketing where brands, big and small, understand its value.
According to research, 44 percent of marketers are planning to use influencer content. And out of 86 percent of marketers who used influencer marketing in 2017, 92 percent reported it as being a useful form of marketing.
And when it comes to the preferred platform of the influencer marketing community, it seems that Instagram prevails.
59 percent of micro-influencers believe Instagram to be the most effective social media platform for engaging their target audience.
So, what does the long-form video plans mean for the influencer marketing space? TechHQ spoke with Wen Foong, founder of influencer marketing platform SushiVid, who gave us her opinion on Instagram’s plans.
Increased engagement with products
With the introduction of longer form video, we can expect to see more engagement with the products that influencers are marketing.
According to Foong, influencers will have more time to produce in-depth reviews, which will, in turn, build more trust amongst the audience. And with an increase in trust, this will lead to more purchases.
“Brands will really benefit from this,” Foong explains.
Furthermore, those influencers who leverage the creation of long-form video content should expect to see their followers rise.
“For creators, those who insist on only image posts, they will see their follower increment declining, because of course, the algorithm will start to favor the long form content. For those who start to embrace long-form content they will see a rise in followers purely because algorithm favors their content,” said Foong
Better quality content
With the new video format, there will be a reduction in the number of brands influencers work with. This will allow influencers to create better quality content, choosing only brands to partner with whom they truly feel passionate about.
“What I’m most excited about is that the quantity of brands [influencers] work with will reduce (since more time is needed per product), which means they will only choose brands they really believe in rather than taking all that pays,” says Foong.
YouTube will need to adjust to remain competitive
According to Foong, a long-standing challenge in the influencer marketing space is finding YouTubers to connect with brands.
“In the last 2.5 years, we have struggled with YouTubers, because the quantity of good YouTubers are low, the demand is high, which means the price they can charge and do charge is absurd,” she explained.
As a result, Instagram influencers have become a much more favorable option.
However, as we see a huge supply of long-form content creators join the market through Instagram, YouTube influencers will be forced to adjust their prices to stay competitive, and Instagrammers will need to up their content-creating game.
YouTube still a valuable platform
The question is, will Instagrams new feature put YouTube influencer marketing in danger? According to Foong, YouTube still provides more value to branded content due to its lasting, search-friendly content.
She explained to TechHQ:
“Even if engagement is slow today, brands can still get viewership on their content after 6 months. But if your content is on Instagram, it’s very news feed. Today it’s there, next week it won’t show up anymore because there’s always new content.”
However, when it comes to engagement, Instagram is perhaps a more convenient platform for users to easily interact with posts.
“Instagram is so easy to just like a post on the phone or comment but YouTube is not built for that. You can’t comment just like you do on Instagram,” says Foong.
Engagement on YouTube is best measured via watch time- a metric Foong hopes Instagram will introduce with its long-form content.
The challenge for influencer platforms?
Now we’ve covered how the introduction of longer-form video content will benefit brands and influencers. But what about the influencer platforms themselves?
“It is both exciting and challenging. Just when we are getting really good at pricing Instagrammers, they are changing it up again, which means we have to start our pricing data from scratch,” Foong explained.
“But, it also means only those influencer marketing platforms who are fast movers and thinking on their toes will stay relevant.”
Instagram’s unconfirmed announcement shows hope for the already booming platform. Should YouTube and other competitors be worried? Only time will tell.