Instagram has today confirmed that their new live-streaming option will be rolled out to all users this week.
"Today we're excited to share that live video on Instagram Stories - a new way to connect with your friends and followers right now - will be rolling out to our entire global community over the next week. From real-time makeup tutorials to live DJ sets, it's been exciting to watch as the community shares new sides of their lives."
Instagram announced the addition of live-streaming back in November, but access to the tool was initially restricted to US users only. Recent reports showed that Instagram Live had been rolled out in the UK, Germany, France, Brazil, Canada and Japan. By the end of this week, it'll be available everywhere else too.
Instagram's live-streaming option takes a different approach to some of the better known streaming tools in that what you broadcast is not saved - as soon as you finish your stream that content is gone.
The approach is in line with Instagram's revised strategy, aimed at boosting activity on the platform. As outlined in a recent post on Recode, Instagram, after losing ground to Snapchat as the social platform of choice among teen users, have worked to re-focus their app around increased personal sharing.
This shift is explained by CEO Kevin Systrom:
"Your connections with your friends and your family are the thing that make Instagram work. All the data supports that if you follow more friends and engage with your friends, your activity goes through the roof. If you just follow more celebrity content or more interest-based content, that doesn't move the needle at all."
This realization lead to the introduction of Stories, an almost exact copy of the same functionality in Snapchat, and now the addition of live-streaming, both of which are focused on more casual sharing, as opposed to the pristine, manicured photography that the platform had become known for.
Indeed, that pressure for perfection is clearly evident amongst teen users, many of whom have reportedly started up secondary 'finsta' or fake Instagram accounts where they post less polished, more casual pictures, but only share them with their closest friends - while at the same time posting their best, perfected images on their main, public profiles. Trends like this are clearly what's driven more of Instagram's audience to Snapchat - and as such, it makes sense for Instagram to be working with such trends by introducing new tools.
How well live-streaming will go on Instagram remains to be seen. For brands, it adds another consideration, another tool to experiment with, and the ephemeral nature of the content could be a draw - i.e. tune in at this time or you'll miss it. There are creative ways this could be utilized, similar to how businesses have adapted to Snapchat, and it may be worth experimenting and seeing what sort of engagement your Instagram Live content could get.
One key benefit to consider is the prominence of Instagram's Live option - whenever you go live on Instagram, a Live icon will be displayed in your Instagram Stories bubble at the top of selected user feeds.
And another key note - Instagram recently reported that it now has more than 600 million users, and is growing at a faster rate than ever since the introduction of Stories (which now has 150 million daily users on its own).
Worth considering in your strategy.