Longer, vertical videos on Instagram?
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Instagram will soon allow users to upload long-form video to the app.
“The Facebook-owned photo and video sharing app is preparing to launch a new feature that will include long-form video, according to people familiar with the matter. The feature, which could allow videos of up to an hour in length, will focus on vertical video”
That would be a significant shift – currently, the maximum length for an Instagram video is one minute. Of course, you can already broadcast video for longer than that via Instagram Live, which you can also add to your Story, so there are ways around this time limit.
But still, do users really want hour long videos popping up in their Instagram feeds?
On first glance, it could seem that Facebook’s taking its video ambitions a step too far, but longer video on Instagram, if it is rolled out, could actually be another way to combat Snapchat, further eating into the app’s market share.
Snap has long been working to bring more TV-like content to its platform in order to boost engagement, and provide publishers with another way to reach cord-cutting, younger viewers. The platform recently announced a new deal with Viacom to produce Snapchat Shows across a range of formats from MTV, BET and Comedy Central, adding to their exclusive programming - but thus far, publishers haven’t been overly excited by the results.
CNN canceled its exclusive Snapchat news program late last year, citing “an unclear path to making money”, while advertisers have raised concerns at the lack of viewer engagement, with the average view time for Snap ads being less than two seconds.
Given that uncertainty, maybe Instagram, through the addition of its own long-form video options, could move to take some of those ad dollars, adding their own Discover-like content platform where users could go to watch Instagram-exclusive programming.
Of course, that may also take some of the focus away from Facebook’s own ‘Watch’ video platform too, but you’d think the audience appeal on Instagram would be different. Maybe, through Facebook’s Watch partner deals, they’re also offering up the rising Instagram as another outlet for distribution.
There’s not a lot of information to go on at this stage, but it’ll be interesting to see what the details of longer form video content on Instagram might be, and how that could fit into the platform’s overall strategy.
Given that former Facebook News Feed chief Adam Mosseri is now in charge of product at Instagram, you’d expect some shift in focus. Will video be his first big push in the role?
UPDATE: TechCrunch has reported that Instagram's long-form video play will indeed be a Snapchat Discover challenger, and will not mean longer video posting will be made available to regular users.