20th March 2020
Instagram is launching in-stream ads on IGTV following tests that were held in some markets in February.
IGTV launched back in 2018 and is separate from the main Instagram feed. Videos can be up to 10 minutes long for most accounts and up to 1 hour for some with a larger following. One of the problems with attracting popular content curators to use the channel has been the lack of monetisation opportunities. Content curators on YouTube receive a 55% share of the advertising profit. The launch of ads on IGTV means that content curators will now be able to earn money on their long form video content on Instagram. Instagram’s new advertising on IGTV will reportedly follow the same profit split as YouTube.
The move to include advertising on IGTV is an attempt by the
social media platform to compete for a larger part of the video ad market share
and comes at a time when the short-form video sharing platform TikTok is also becoming
IGTV content sits between short-form videos such as TikTok and Snapchat and long-form videos on YouTube, therefore, it has a challenge to clearly communicate to consumers what is the USP of the platform and in turn, what is the USP for advertisers.
Instagram already has many advertising options available. Brands can advertise on the feed or on stories and in various formats (i.e. shoppable ads). This announcement means that advertising will now be available across the whole platform’s entire offering.
Instagram has over 1 billion users that are often highly engaged with ‘influencers’ on the platform, meaning that in-stream video ads could potentially boast a high reach and engagement if these influencers create content in the IGTV channel.
Instagram decided to add IGTV previews in the app’s main feed last year which means that the content is extremely accessible for users. However, it did remove the IGTV button from the news feed earlier this year, so the jury is still out on how much consumers are interested in this content.
It will be interesting to see if the monetisation option drives more high-quality content to the platform and therefore more interest in this video format for Instagram.
If successful, brands will be able to reach their audiences in even more ways across the already popular advertising environment. Instagram will then need to make sure that the user experience of these adverts builds on the overall experience without disrupting users from the content they want to access.