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Instagram recently launched IGTV, allowing content creators to upload vertical videos up to an hour long. Of course, this represents a direct shot at Google/YouTube. But what’s more significant for marketers is what this says about the growing influence of influencers.

As a marketer, here’s what you need to know about this new feature.

What Is IGTV?

Below is a summary of the key features of Instagram TV:

  • Targeted to mobile viewers
  • Video displays vertically
  • Starts playing automatically when the app is in use
  • Video length up to 1 hour
  • MP4 format uploaded natively through app or web
  • Option to comment and share with friends
  • Features content from people user already follows
  • Videos appear in the user’s newsfeed
  • Opportunity to post on FB Watch (FB’s TV tab)
  • Anyone can create content for IGTV

The Influence of Influence

Since their inception, social platforms were built for and catered to advertisers. But with the backlash from consumers, largely spurred by the questionable use of consumer data and an aversion to ads, we’re seeing platforms roll-out programs and features benefiting those actually adding value to the ecosystem – the content creators. Specifically, influencers.

Instagram was already one of the most popular platforms for influencers, especially the up-and-comers. Ninety two percent of marketers using influencer marketing rank Instagram as the most important to their influencer strategies in 2018. According to Bloglovin’, 59% of micro-influencers say IG is the most effective social platform for engaging their target audience. Instagram would agree, as they’ve noted: “Younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals.”

IGTV now makes the platform even more attractive to influencers, especially after having surpassed the 1-billion user milestone. Influencers now have more time to provide entertaining content, in-depth reviews, tutorials, demos, etc. — furthering their ability to build trust with their fans. The ability to comment and share will also help drive more engagement. And because the algorithm favors content with high engagement, we expect to see follower numbers increase for those influencers choosing to take advantage of IGTV.

What This Means for Brands

Marketers also stand to gain from IGTV. According to Linqua, 44% of marketers are planning to use influencer content. Of those using it, 92% reported it as being a useful form of marketing. With longer-format video content now an option on Instagram, influencers can commit more time to create quality content for brands they love.

Also signaling the growing power of influencers, Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, is making it easier for brands and content creators to connect. It’s new Brands Collabs Manager acts as a search engine, allowing brands to discover influencers based on their audience’s demographics and their past content portfolio. Although this is specific to Facebook, we expect this tool to expand to Instagram in the not-to-distant future.

This is just the beginning. Platforms will continue to adjust to the new social environment and the power of influencers. YouTube, for example, followed Instagram’s announcement with their own, launching paid subscriptions and merch shelves, which helps content creators better monetize their content and drive revenue.  Look for more announcements of features, programs, and new platforms that directly benefit influencers.

Related Resources

How to Rescue Your Failed Influencer Program

How to Organically Grow Your Instagram Engagement

How to Hire a Marketing Agency

Jen Casson

Jen Casson

Jen's experience marries art with strategy to embrace IT, data and creative craft. She loves collaboration, storytelling and supporting clients with research-based data and creativity. She is an award-winning editor for the Discovery Channel, Sundance Channel, Science Channel, Ford, Dish and others. When she’s not working, she’s enjoying life skiing, hiking and mountain biking with friends and family.
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