Instagram Launches Live Video, With A Twist

By @TheMarkDalton

Instagram has started rolling out its version of live video today which will allow users to broadcast from Instagram stories and interact with followers during a live broadcast. Viewers will be able to add comments and send unlimited hearts.

Live video is going to get bigger through 2017, Periscope and Facebook Live have seen success. Many would argue that Meerkat could also have seen more success had Twitter not killed access to their data soon after they started out and then crushed the platform with Periscope.

Video is the way forward, I have met bloggers and content creators over the past year who have told me that they prefer writing and they don’t like being in front of a camera. Well, you better get your mug in front of the camera at some point and get used to it because at some point video will be the main way of getting people to read your content.

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I don’t think video will completely replace written content but I do think that video will become the primary gateway to written content and if you want more people reading what you are writing then video will have to come into play at some point.

Instagram wants to help you with your potential video awkwardness. When an Instagram live stream is over it vanishes, completely. You either watch it live or you don’t get to see it at all. This is a different approach to Periscope and Facebook where live streams can be watched again after you have broadcast from the app.

Kevin Weil, Instagram’s head of product, says that making broadcasts ephemeral id designed to make people feel at ease. “You can be comfortable because you know they’re not going to stick around,” he said when talking about live broadcasting on Instagram.

He is right, some people are put off by knowing that after they have gone live on Periscope or Facebook, people can come and watch later on whenever they want. Some people are not into that and want to be able to experience live but not have the broadcast hanging around later. Now they could delete the Periscope or Facebook live broadcast afterwards if they wish, but that is an irritating process.

With Instagram live you either join in live or you don’t join in at all. The approach Instagram is taking is great for regular users who just want to dip in and out of broadcasting but is not so great for businesses or brands. Brands may want people to be able to tune in at a later time or date to see the content they have created through a live stream.

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Even bloggers or creators could find some stumbling blocks, so for example, if a blogger uses live on Instagram to talk about the content they have published that week then it is only available to people who watch right then and there. They want to extend their reach to as many people as possible but reach will be limited to live viewers on the Instagram platform. But, social media shouldn’t be designed for brands or business. Platforms should be designed for users and we often forget that these days.

However, while the approach is not favourable for brands or businesses when compared to Facebook or Periscope, there are things you should be using Instagram live for when dealing with your business on Instagram and we will be tackling that topic in the coming weeks.

Instagram gets a lot right which the competition has gotten wrong. Instagram live is more intimate than the competition and when you go live on Instagram, only a small subset of your followers are notified – the ones who engage with your Instagram content the most.

If someone harasses you, you can report them or block them from seeing your broadcasts ever again. So how is reach extended even further if only a small subset of users are notified when you hit that live button? Well Instagram is also introducing a promoted broadcasts section to the app at the top of the stories feeds.

This will be where the best current live streams are taking place and will allow people to dip in and out of live content happening on the platform. Live content has only been rolled out to a small set of users at the moment and will be rolled out to all users of the coming weeks.

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