2016 was the year when Instagram turned up the heat on Snapchat, seemingly carbon-copying many of their competitor’s standby functions. Over the summer Instagram introduced Stories: the addition of disappearing content that doesn’t show up on user’s profiles. Shortly after, the photo-sharing app unveiled ephemeral content through Direct Message uncannily similar to Snapchat’s claim to fame. But the newest update is a move taken right out of parent company Facebook’s playbook.
In an effort to keep up with the demand for more “in the moment” content, Instagram has added a Live Video feature, much like Facebook Live. Instagram says of the update, “live video on Instagram Stories helps you connect with your friends and followers right now. When you’re done, your live story disappears from the app so you can feel more comfortable sharing anything, anytime.”
The live video shows up in the same spot as Stories. While in your feed, simply swipe right for the camera, tap the “Start Live Video” button and share video for up to an hour. Yes, one whole hour. The app allows your friends to tune in by sending a notification that you are live. You can see who is watching your broadcast and followers can like and comment on your video to their heart’s content. There’s also an option to turn comments off if you’d rather not be distracted by the noise. When the video is over, it’s over: it is not stored anywhere on the app.
This new feature will be rolling out globally over the next few months and it gives brands a wealth of opportunity to engage audiences. Because of Snapchat’s unique interface, many marketers don’t know where to start when it comes to brand’s utilizing the platform. Instagram is making it easier for the Snapchat-challenged by incorporating their popular features into an interface that Instagram users are already familiar with. Essentially, they’re trying to do everything Snapchat does all under the umbrella of one app, and if they can swing it, they’ll pretty much take over the social media world.
With Instagram’s newest changes, marketers have more excuses to experiment with expiring content, a concept that may seem counter-intuitive to traditional marketing. By creating connections in real-time, brands have more likelihood of meeting followers on an organic level: no airbrushing, no cue cards, just genuine links being established. There’s no end to the options available to brands looking to use this new update to generate a deeper connection with audiences.