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Instagram Transitions Toward Video Content

Aug 3, 2021

By Kaley Pigman

The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced on June 30th that Instagram is “no longer a photo sharing app,” and that the platform will be moving mainly toward video content. 

In his announcement video, Mosseri spoke to the data trends showing that most people use Instagram for entertainment rather than connecting with friends and family. In response to this trend, the platform is rolling out several new features that will include recommended topics, more extensive shopping and messaging tabs, and a full-screen video experience. 

In a later tweet, Mosseri also announced a new in-platform system called Bonuses to pay creators for their content, similar to their TikTok’s Creator Fund. These shifts speak to the rise of video content across all social media platforms. 

Instagram transitions toward video

The Video Competition 

All of these major changes come on the heels of the explosive popularity of TikTok, and the sustained presence of Youtube. Originally called Musical.ly, TikTok rebranded in 2018 and quickly became the most downloaded app in the Apple App Store. TikTok allows users to follow their favorite creators, but also serves up random videos on the “for you page” based on users’ content preferences and topics they follow. 

Because TikTok shows users content that they’re likely to be interested in, engagement rates per post are significantly higher across all follower levels. Upfluence found that micro-influencers see engagement rates as high as 17.96% on TikTok, a far cry from Instagram’s 3.86%. 

Youtube has also released a new short-form video format called Youtube Shorts. These videos can be up to 60 seconds long, and can be directly uploaded from creators’ phones to Youtube, which has a built-in audience of over 2 billion users. While Youtube has the lowest engagement rate of the three competitors, it has enjoyed continuous success since its launch in 2005, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. 

Seeing these two competitors stepping up their short form content, Instagram’s move toward video content is not surprising. But what does this shift mean for digital marketing? 

Influencer Marketing 

Instagram is stepping up its game to keep top creators active on the platform. The company announced that it will pour a billion dollars into its influencers by 2022. The new Bonus feature offers influencers financial incentives to post IGTV and Reels content. On a seasonal basis, Instagram will pay influencers to reach specific goals, such as hitting 100,000 views or posting 6 hours of Reels content. 

Influencers will clearly be key to the next phase of Instagram and will be highly recommended, so it’s crucial to find micro and macro influencers relevant to your business and sponsor content through them. Both influencers and businesses can mutually benefit from this relationship, with influencers building their personal brands and companies’ products reaching a wider target audience. 

Play to the New IG Algorithm

With the shift toward video, Instagram’s algorithm will be more likely to suggest video content rather than static images. If your current marketing strategy doesn’t include making Reels and IGTV videos yet, your impressions and engagements on Instagram are likely to decrease. 

Luckily, TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube Shorts all allow users to upload content, so one video will suffice for each platform. Simple videos, like demonstrations of your product, are an easy way to break into short-form video content and increase engagement. 

In addition to moving into video, messaging is another key way for your marketing to be shared. Creating relatable and useful content that people send to their friends and family will drive more traffic back to your page that may not have been organically recommended. 

Shopping on Instagram

As Instagram moves away from photos in favor of more interactive content like video, the platform is also reinvigorating its shopping tab. Most consumers are buying online, and now they can buy products directly from the Instagram app. 

Businesses can open a storefront on Instagram and link their product details to posts and ads. Much like the new recommendation feature on Instagram’s feed, shops will be suggested to users within the shopping tab based on their interests. For businesses selling directly to consumers, utilizing the shopping tab can significantly boost sales. 

Your storefront isn’t the only way to sell directly through Instagram. Within the shopping tab, you’ll also be able to partner with influencers in exchange for a commission paid to the influencer. Fans will see that an influencer is eligible for commission on a product, and may be more willing to buy a product that supports their favorite influencer. 

While these changes may seem sudden, Instagram’s move toward video could be the perfect opportunity to revamp your digital marketing strategy. Are you ready to embrace video and reach new heights in engagement?