Hour-Long Video Content Could Be Coming to Instagram Soon

Instagram Embraces Long-Form, Vertical Content

Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video sharing app, could soon allow its users to post videos up to an hour long, and this change could be coming in just a few short weeks. Currently, Instagram caps main feed videos off at 60 seconds and Stories at 15 seconds.

[bctt tweet=”Long-form, vertical content could soon shake up our #Instagram feeds and Stories. Read on for more information about this surprising feature.” username=”relevance”]

If Instagram follows through with this surprising update, it could be one of the most radical changes to the platform we’ve seen since the company launched its video feature back in 2013.

According to the Wall Street Journal, people familiar with the update have said that the feature will permit videos up to an hour in length and will focus on vertical video. Reportedly, the new feature may arrive as soon as June 20th but plans and dates are subject to change.

Instagram Banks on Vertical

In recent years, video has managed to ingrain itself into every aspect of our social media lives so its unsurprising that Instagram would try to bank on the trend. This plan is also reflective of the widespread push for more vertical content due to increased mobile usage.

Snapchat was an early embracer of vertical content and it has become the reigning vertical champ for branded and unbranded content. Facebook and Instagram Stories have also embraced vertical video.

Netflix has caught on to the movement as well and introduced 30 second vertical previews to its mobile app in April. Dozens of creative agencies have also started specializing in vertical storytelling and optimization.

The vast majority of us hold our phones and capture photos and videos vertically so it makes sense that Instagram, one of the leading photo and video apps, would dive into vertical.

If we take all of these factors into consideration, then it’s easy to gauge Instagram’s intentions. However, Instagram has built their brand off of images and brief video content so user reactions to hour-long videos may not be as gleeful as the company would like.

Instagram Could Steal Youtube’s Thunder

Early Twitter reactions to the feature have been largely negative, which suggests that Instagram may not be the right platform for lengthier videos.

If the company does decide to move forward with the June 20th launch, it’ll have to think intelligently about how it will market and develop the feature.

By launching this feature, Instagram would also be taking a major strike at the OG video behemoth known as Youtube.

Youtube, owned by Google, has been the overall reigning video champ for over ten years and it’s popularity continues to soar. Millions of users, especially teens, flock to the site in droves everyday to watch content created by their favorite creators.

Thousands of these creators have been able to turn Youtube into full time gigs and some of them have even made millions off of their content and subsequent popularity.

Youtube is currently dominating the video space and it likely will for years to come (that is if it can clean up it’s monetization problems and controversial anti-gay ad placements.)  Despite Youtube’s recent controversies and valid creator complaints, it would take a great deal of evolution and strategic marketing for Instagram to sway users away.

It is possible that if Instagram offers up similar creator made content and/or teams up with popular Youtubers, they could win over some Youtube fans. It’s also possible that a new batch of creators could find success making vlogs and other original content for Instagram.

Implications for Marketers

Contrary to popular belief, long-form content does exceptionally well for content marketing purposes. Content marketing pro and best-selling author Ann Handley has even stated in a blog post,

The days of one-off, standalone, so-called snackable content are over. Today, when something is packaged up in a bite-sized, snackable format, it’s probably marketing a bigger content asset or it’s tied to a bigger story. And as your tour director in today’s blog post, I promise to not use the word “snackable” again. #takethepledge”

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media also presented a recent study that states, “Writers who write “big” blog posts are twice as likely to report strong results.”

Long-form content is definitely in and so is video. When we combine the two, we can have a major content marketing win on our hands.

When Instagram’s feature rolls out, content marketers could have another viable platform for creating and sharing original branded content, so long as they use it right.

On any platform, marketers always need to ensure that branded content is captivating enough to hold an audience’s attention. Long-form content can only improve a brand’s credibility and attract an audience when it’s interesting.

Most of us won’t take the time to sit through a boring hour-long branded video but we might if it’s intriguing or emotive enough.

Long-form video content does take a lot of time and effort, but it could result in higher ROI, more credibility, and a more loyal consumer base.

On the ad side, longer videos equate to more ad space, so Instagram could bank off of the extra ad spend and marketers could have more ad placement options.

It’s too soon to tell whether or not Instagram’s long-form video feature will be a hit or miss for users and marketers. It’s likely that there will be a good mix of staunch opposers and fervent proponents, at least at first.

Whatever happens, there’s a good chance that we may be spending more time on Instagram. Whether or not that’s a good thing however, is up for debate.

Would you watch an hour-long Instagram video? Let us know in the comments.