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Instagram is betting big on long-form videos with a new video platform called “IGTV” which will show off videos up to an hour long. Until now, users were only allowed to upload videos up to one-minute-long, so this is a big upgrade for users.

While the feature is entirely accessible within Instagram’s app and web platform, Instagram is also launching a stand-alone app available on both iOS and Android devices today.

“We made it a dedicated app so you can tap on it and enjoy video without all the distraction,” CEO Kevin Systrom explained.

So far, indications are that Instagram “celebrities” will get most of the attention within the IGTV section on the Instagram app, but businesses can still get some use out of the ability to upload longer, more in-depth videos.

Businesses may also benefit from being able to curate their own Channels of content that users can subscribe to within IGTV. This way, they will be notified anytime you post a new video.

For now, Systrom said that IGTV is entirely-ad free, but it likely won’t last forever. Once it has established itself on Instagram’s platform, I’d expect ads to start appearing.

How to start your own IGTV Channel

Creating a channel is easy and can be done within the Instagram app.

Step 1: Tap the IGTV logo near the top-right corner of your Instagram home screen.

Step 2: Tap the gear icon on the bottom right of the screen.

Step 3: Select “Create Channel” at the bottom of the screen.

Step 4: After a brief introduction to IGTV, select “Next” on the following two screens. Then, tap “Create Channel.”

Step 5: Congratulations, your channel is officially active and you can start uploading videos to IGTV.

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Instagram’s live video feature is officially available to all 70 million US users. After announcing the feature in late November, the social imaging platform has announced the feature is available across America and will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks.

While it may be tempting to compare Instagram’s live video streaming to Facebook’s growing live feature, it is actually more similar to the live options available through Snapchat.

With Instagram’s live video, users can broadcast to followers in real time through Instagram Stories. However, once the stream is over it is completely gone. There is no saving or replaying old broadcasts. They disappear as soon as you end the broadcast.

How To Get Started Broadcasting

To get started streaming, you just have to follow a couple easy steps.

  • Tap the camera icon in the top left of the screen or swipe right from the Feed to open your camera.
  • Tap the new Live icon at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap Start Live Video.
  • Once you are ready to end your stream, just tap End in the top right.

Broadcasts can last up to one hour and you can choose to notify your followers when you go live. The number in the top right corner of the screen shows just how many followers are watching, and you can pin or share comments to others by tapping and holding it. You can also turn off comments entirely if you desire.

Marketing with Instagram Live Video

The idea of marketing your business through live video that immediately disappears may seem unattractive at first. Why bother with vanishing video when you can spend time crafting marketing campaigns that last, right?

However, live video can actually be a great way to make followers feel like they are in on exclusive events and information. The function is especially great for letting your customers and fans see special engagements like product launches or milestones for your business.

You can also use live video to engage your audience in new ways with impromptu interviews or Q&A sessions that help your followers learn more about who you are and why they should be invested in your brand.

For more info on Instagram’s live video feature, check out the video below:

instagramlive

Considering the success of live video on Facebook and other social media platforms, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Instagram is trying its hand with live video. But, they have put their own twist on it.

Today, the social photo and video sharing platform announced it is rolling out live video within their Instagram Stories section. However, these videos don’t remain once you stop streaming. Instead, they immediately disappear.

The feature is already rolling out and is expected to be available to everyone around the world within the next few weeks. Users are able to share live video for up to an hour and control their streams by notifying friends when they go live and deciding whether to allow comments.

“Live video on Instagram Stories helps you connect with your friends and followers right now,” according to a blog post announcing the update. “When you’re done, your live story disappears from the app so you can feel more comfortable sharing anything, anytime.”

All you have to do to start streaming is swipe right from the home feed and tap the “Start Live Video” button. You can also see who else is live streaming in the Explore area of the app, under the “Top Live” category.

Live video isn’t the only thing disappearing on Instagram, either. The platform is also rolling out the option to have automatically self-destructing photo or video messages when sending direct messages to friends and groups.

The feature operates almost exactly like Snapchat’s well known disappearing photos, which allow users to share content in a “spontaneous, pressure-free way.”

“You can choose a group or create one in just a few taps—and you can also send to individual friends at the same time,” Instagram wrote in a blog post. “Send anything you want, from inside jokes to your worst selfies. Unlike other messages in Direct, these photos and videos disappear from your friends’ inboxes after they have seen them. And you’ll see if they replayed it or took a screenshot.”

Instagram Banner

It has been almost three years since Instagram stretched its legs and expanded to video, but in all this time it has been missing a crucial feature – view counts. While the other giants in social video like YouTube, Facebook, and Vine have let users see how many times a video has been played, Instagram has been slow to add any view count feature to their platform. Until now.

Instagram has announced it will soon be adding a counter that includes everyone who has watched at least three seconds of a video.

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The company says the feature will be rolling out over the “coming weeks” and will show alongside the existing like and comment counts.

The feature could be beneficial for advertisers on two fronts. On one hand, it will be greatly useful to simply be able to see what their most popular content is in a more direct way than with like and comment counts. While those show engagement levels, a view count will be a much better indicator if video reach.

Secondly, as Twitter has recently seen, when users see that others are watching and interacting with content, they are more likely to view, engage, and share that content. By letting other users see that your videos are popular with other users, you also see a chance at increasing your total view counts overall.

For more information on how Instagram will roll out view counts in the next few weeks, check out the official announcement from Instagram.