After launching an initial test of IGTV ads with US creators in May last year, Instagram has now announced an expansion of the program, with selected creators in the UK and Australia now eligible to activate ads on their IGTV uploads.
As explained by Instagram:
"Over the coming weeks we’re expanding [IGTV ads] to select creators in the UK and Australia. IGTV ads will initially appear when people click to watch IGTV videos from previews in their feed. The video ads will be built for mobile and up to 15 seconds long."
That's good news for content creators in these regions, with further expansion set to come soon, which will open up even more opportunities for those uploading to Instagram's long-form channel.
The main impetus here is to encourage more creators to keep posting to IGTV, with Instagram sharing 55% of the revenue generated from IGTV ads with creators. That's the same split that YouTube currently offers to Partner Program creators, and that could help to make Instagram a more competitive space for top influencers, or even a supplementary channel, providing expanded opportunities for monetization and growth.
The expansion comes as Instagram continues to battle with TikTok over video content, with TikTok rapidly rising, but not yet offering the same capacity to make money from your clips. The more options Instagram can add on this front, the better, as top creators will eventually gravitate towards the channel which provides them with the most potential to earn from their content.
That's what eventually saw Vine die out. Vine's top stars realized that they could more effectively monetize the audiences they'd built if they switched to YouTube or Instagram instead, so they asked Vine's parent company Twitter to offer them a better deal in order to keep them around. Twitter refused, and big names including King Bach, Jake Paul and LeLe Pons, all went on to become multi-millionaires by sharing their videos elsewhere, taking their large audiences with them to greener pastures.
This gradually saw Vine's usage decline, and while it was, at one stage, a fan favorite, and many people look back on it now through the rose-tinted shades of hindsight, at the end, no one was using Vine regularly.
The narrative many go with is that Twitter ruined Vine, but the fact of the matter is that monetizing short-form video is hard, with the ads themselves being as long as the clips. You can't add mid-roll promos to a 15-second clip, so you're stuck with sandwiching ads between user uploads, which makes them much easier to skip, and often less responsive.
The truth is that Vine died because Twitter couldn't work out how to effectively monetize Vine clips, which left no money for it to pay top stars. Which lead to those stars abandoning the app - and this remains, right now, the biggest threat to TikTok's longevity as well.
Which is why expanding Instagram's revenue-share tools is an important step.
TikTok is looking at a range of ways to address this, including eCommerce integrations, facilitating influencer partnerships, creator funding programs and more. Given its popularity, and the fact that parent company ByteDance is already effectively monetizing the Chinese version of the app, there's strong reason to believe that TikTok will eventually work it out, but it's still, essentially, a weak point, and an area where Facebook will continue to attack it in an effort to stunt its growth.
Expanded monetization of IGTV is another element in this, which could also get more popular, long-form content on the app, in order to keep users engaged.
It's not a major step, but another element in Facebook's broader effort to win out in the content stakes.
Instagram says that it will continue to expand IGTV monetization throughout the year.