Instagram Introduces Option for Categorizing Videos
If you happen to be a user of Instagram’s IGTV, you will be very happy to learn that the platform has just announced a new Series option which will allow video creators to categorize their videos into very specific collections. IGTV is a relatively new app which is useful for watching long-form, vertical videos from a number of different Instagram creators.
There is a separate IGTV app, but videos can also be watched from within Instagram itself, so that every user on the platform will have the capability of watching these long-form videos. Many users favor IGTV because it is built in the same way that your smartphone is, in that videos can be watched on it in vertical, full-screen mode. This makes for a full display, which is very appealing and much more realistic than the compressed video productions of the past.
Increasing popularity of long-form videos
In addition to that, videos are not subject to the one-minute limitation, but can be up to a full hour of content. As soon you turn on IGTV, it starts playing in the same way that your television would. That means you don’t have to search to find content from people you’re already following on the platform, or to find others whom you might like because of interests you share. The IGTV app also allows you to like, comment, and share videos with any friends you care to.
The whole appeal of IGTV is that it is a kind of replacement for watching television, and surveys have shown that people are now watching 40% less television programming, primarily because there is so much content available for viewing on their smartphones. Instagram is betting heavily that the future of mobile viewing is in watching full-screen, vertical displays of content made by creators that people are already following, and they’re promoting IGTV to the hilt as a result of this belief.
It is expected that by the year 2021, more than 78% of all data traffic on mobile devices will consist of mobile video, and Instagram is preparing itself to cash in on that eventuality. Any Instagram user will have the capability of creating their own IGTV channel, and thus sharing videos which they create with all their friends and followers. More and more viewers are interested in watching these videos created by amateurs, as opposed to professional productions, and that is becoming a big factor in the growing popularity of social media videos. Other platforms have also become aware of this trend, and are scrambling to prepare themselves to take advantage of the opportunity which it presents.
Benefits of the new option
Since this new option will provide a big assist to video creators with branding their content, it will provide a major boost to every individual creator trying to establish themselves on Instagram. It is also expected to encourage return viewing because it will provide a dedicated label for each video. Viewers who are interested in seeing other videos by the same creator will have the option of pressing an on-screen tab, so they can receive notifications of any future episodes which are produced.
It’s more than likely that this new series option was inspired by a similar feature produced by Snapchat recently, which it called Snap Originals. In recent months, this feature has enjoyed considerable success, especially since these original episodes of content are very much aligned to the viewing habits of Snapchat’s traditional audience.
Comparison to Snap Originals
Snap Originals tend to be short programs in the manner of TV episodes, and these have caught on very well with the younger audience that is loyal to Snapchat. While Snapchat active user numbers have declined over the past year as a whole, the youthful users have remained faithful to the platform, and are staying glued to these Snap Originals. The first wave of these episodic shows were entries from ESPN, NBC, and E-News, but the second wave of shows has become even more popular.
Snapchat’s big ratings winner was the much-heralded ‘Endless Summer’, which garnered 28 million viewers on the platform, compared to the 19.3 million viewers which HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ recently attracted. With a considerable amount of repeat viewership, there are now more than 100 Snapchat Discover channels which are reaching in the neighborhood of 10 to 30 million viewers every month. This of course, is very much in competition with Instagram’s hopes for the future, so it’s not at all surprising to see a whole series of ongoing enhancements and improvements to IGTV, which are all intended to increase viewership on the platform.
The future of IGTV
It’s very easy to create an IGTV series, which is one of the reasons that Instagram has so much hope that the app will soon take off and become a major part of users’ participation on the platform. By adding these categorization options, it will help direct users to very specific types of content, and that will allow video creators to include a wide number of channels in their productions.
YouTube does something very similar to this through its Playlists, but the option being offered through IGTV is much more strongly associated with repeat viewership of particular productions. At the present time, IGTV has not quite captured the imagination of a huge number of users, although many have found it to their liking and use it extensively. It is not certain whether or not IGTV will ever become something enormously popular, but what is certain is that Instagram will continue to invest resources into it, so as to make it more appealing to users.
It seems clear that Instagram is headed toward an all-out competition with Snapchat, and that means you can expect all kinds of improvements and enhancements to the IGTV app in the coming months. This will of course, be a big boon to users, although it still won’t matter much if IGTV itself doesn’t achieve the kind of popularity that the platform is hoping for. Stay tuned for further developments in the IGTV line.