If you follow the social media scene at all, you are probably aware that Instagram (a subsidiary of Facebook) now offers resources to allow you to shoot and share videos, as well as photographs. For regular users, this is a fun way to share daily life with friends and family; however, as a marketing professional you probably read every announcement like this with a mixture of intrigue and apprehension. What does Instagram video mean to you, and will it be a viable marketing medium?
What Can You Do
Essentially, Instagram video is bringing the same features to video that fans love about “regular” Instagram. You record the video while using the Instagram app; currently you cannot load pre-recorded video into the system. With Instagram Video, you can take videos up to 15 seconds in length (this is more than twice as long than the often compared service Vine by Twitter.) After you have taken the video, you can apply filters, if desired, that give your video special effects.
What sets Instagram apart from any type of video editing tool you can download for your phone or use online is the sharing and social features. Instagram has a built-in audience, as many people are already avid users of the basic photo-sharing program. Additionally, since Facebook owns Instagram, sharing using that platform is seamless. For the marketing crowd, the ability to easily share and conduct social activities around the video is what makes Instagram Video so exciting.
According to an article published by The Guardian, more than five million videos were published in the first 24 hours after videos went live on Instagram. Many of these videos were regular users of Instagram trying out the video capabilities, regular usage may not be quite as enormous as this launch night. Interestingly, many companies quickly jumped in and gave the Instagram Video system a go. Some early adopters included Gap, Jeep and Burberry. Unsurprisingly, pop singer Justin Bieber posted the first video clip that obtained one million likes showing that those who already have a following on Instagram should see success with the content they post through the video service.
Marketing at Work
One of the early videos that garnered media attention was by fashion company Burberry. The video was simple—a montage of quick clips edited together. The video focused on the Burberry Prorsum Menswear Spring/Summer 2014. It did have some branding and focused on the company’s logo. Based on comments, this video has been well received by Instagram users. Another example was an Instagram video by Virgin America that gives a glimpse into the day in the life of the company. While it is possible that companies may simply use the platform for 15 second “commercials,” these creative videos that also serve as marketing spots for the company seem to be a way that companies can connect with customers—instead of alienating them.
Future for Marketing
Only time will tell if Instagram Video continues to live up to its early hype and the potential that many experts feel it has. For now, companies who want to stay ahead of the curve are trying out the system. With the existing user base of Instagram coupled with the 15-second format (a common length of short television commercials), it would seem that Instagram Video is poised to become an important player in the online marketing world. Like most forms of social media, it only makes sense to try it out and see how it fits in with your other content marketing tactics.
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.