Instagram Introduces Event Channels to Emphasize Video Content
With the total time Instagram users spend watching video increasing 150% over the past six months, it makes sense for the platform to be putting more focus on video and looking at how to capitalize on that demand.
Back in April, Instagram announced an update to their "Explore" tab which put increased emphasis on video content, which they refined again in June with "Picked for You", a set of new channels within Explore which feature videos grouped by your favorite topics and interests, based on your on-platform activity.
And now, Instagram's adding another video-focused channel to Explore, this time aiming to highlight multiple perspectives on live events.
The option is similar to Snapchat's "Story Explorer" option which they launched in November last year - Story Explorer enables viewers of a Snapchat Story to swipe up on specific Snaps to discover more content on that particular element.
This then gives you access to other Snaps related to that event or location, providing multiple user perspectives and angles on the details that interest you most.
As they tend to do, Instagram appears to have taken inspiration from Snapchat for this new feature - as noted in the announcement post:
"This channel collects the best videos from concerts, sporting events and more so you can feel like you're in the front row."
It's an interesting idea, giving users more access to events as seen by the Instagram community, and it can be a great way to get unique perspectives and experience what it's like to see things through other peoples' eyes.
As noted, video has seen massive growth on Instagram in recent months, and that's likely to increase now that people can also post shorter video clips within Instagram Stories (no doubt one of the reasons Snapchat sees 10 billion video views per day is because of the 10 second length limit, meaning people need to create more videos to tell their story). As such, it's pretty safe to assume you're going to see more video focus from Instagram in future - as Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom recently told Bloomberg:
"Instagram is becoming more and more video dominant, video heavy, and I think that's just a sign of the times, people are taking more video, consuming more video - and frankly, all these influencers that exist on Instagram, [...] they're all video heavy as well. I think it's a generational thing."
While not everyone thinks of Instagram as a video platform just yet, the numbers clearly show that that's the direction the platform is headed. Underlining this, a report on Mashable recently showed that Instagram's also testing a new video-specific search option within the Explore page.
Systrom's also noted that they may even consider a live-streaming option for Instagram some time in future, if they can work out "exactly how it works inside of Instagram and how it'd be different to other offerings".
Photos remain Instagram's core, and it'll be some time before that changes. But with more than 500 million active users, Instagram's audience is now more diverse than ever, and all those users have different expectations for the app. With additions like Event Channels, Instagram's showing that it's working to evolve and facilitate areas of growth, with a view to becoming a bigger, more diverse offering.
And if they can get it right, the platform could become a much bigger consideration for all marketers in future. Increased views and increased time spent equals increased ad dollars.
It's a logical progression for Instagram - and worth considering in how you approach your future platform strategy.
Event Channels are currently only available in the United States, though Instagram notes that they're "working to bring this experience to the rest of the world soon."
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