Instagram Hits 1 Billion Active Users, Launches Instagram TV

It’s been a big month for Instagram. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app hit one billion monthly users for the first time and just launched Instagram TV.

With advertising revenue already projected to nearly double to $7b this year, introducing long-form videos à la YouTube to Instagram’s massive audience has enormous implications for advertisers.

Here is a quick rundown on what Instagram TV (IGTV) is and what it could mean for advertisers.

 

Source: TechCrunch

“IGTV marks the shift from Instagram being a place to share quick snaps into a fully-fledged content portal. With Facebook use declining in younger age groups, this is a great strategy from Facebook to prevent viewers switching to Youtube.”

 

paul fairbrother adespresso

 

-Paul Fairbrother, Facebook Ad Specialist at AdEspresso

 

What is Instagram TV?

IGTV is Instagram’s video platform that allows users to upload hour-long video in a vertical format.

Instagram Co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom first announced IGTV during a live stream event in San Francisco on June 20th.

 

Look back at Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom (@kevin) introduce IGTV from a live event in San Francisco.

A post shared by Instagram (@instagram) on

So far we know that IG TV features:

  • Videos up to an hour long

 

  • Vertical format (the way most people watch videos on their phone)

 

  • Automatic integration with current friends and followers on Instagram

 

  • Similar engagement actions (likes, comments, shares) for videos

 

  • “Channels” for individual creators

 

“Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app.” CEO Kevin Systrom explains.

“You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests. You can swipe up to discover more — switch between ‘For You,’ ‘Following,’ ‘Popular’ and ‘Continue Watching.'”

 

What Does Instagram TV Mean for Advertisers?

Hour-long videos is a massive expansion from the until-now limit of 60-second snaps and is just in time to accommodate the consumption shift toward mobile video content.

The move follows a busy year for Instagram, which includes upgrades to Instagram Payments & Shopping, Ads for Stories, and the recently announced Shopping for Stories.

Anyone can be an IGTV creator, meaning there is a possibility for brands to create pages. However, that doesn’t mean advertising is built into Instagram’s advertising platform just yet.

instagram tv

Paul Fairbrother explains,

“Instagram always takes the long view and builds numbers before monetizing a new feature so don’t expect to see adverts any time soon.”

Though there currently no ad units for IGTV, that is likely to change in the future.

Brands and marketers should look to adopting the new video channel sooner rather than later, as it is likely to attract the time and attention of Instagram’s massive 1 billion (and still growing) user audience.

instagram tv

 

“Facebook Live only gained momentum when they paid content producers and celebrities to use it. For IGTV to be a success, Instagram will likely do the same in the first year. For brands, I’d recommend jumping on IGTV as soon as possible. The competition is low, especially from large brands which have longer approval time for new assets.”

Although Instagram doesn’t currently offer advertising or pay content creators on IGTV, that is likely to change in the near future.


 

Want to learn more about advertising on Instagram? Check out How to Advertise on Instagram.

 

About the AuthorGreg graduated from CSU Sacramento with a degree in International Relations. After teaching English in Istanbul, he returned to California to pursue writing about tech and digital marketing. See all posts by this author here.