Is Instagram The New YouTube?

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Will Instagram Replace YouTube With Launch Of New Long-Form Video Platform (IGTV)?

Since launching at the end of 2010, Instagram has grown to over 1 billion users, stole Snapchat’s thunder with Instagram Stories, and affected global social media usage trends for an entire generation. Now, with news of a much more robust video and long-form content hub on the horizon, it looks like the Facebook-owned app has a new target: to be the next YouTube.

With YouTube reeling from advertiser and creator turmoil and Snapchat struggling to monetize and with Instagram’s growth exploding, Instagram has an opportunity to firmly establish itself as the new online and digital video leader for global audiences and smartphone users. Learn about Instagram’s new video platform and why the once minimalist photo-sharing app is poised to be the new YouTube.

About Instagram’s New Long-Form Video Platform Hub Features & Specifications

On June 20, 2018, Instagram shared major news via a “special event.” The two biggest announcements were that Instagram officially crossed 1 billion monthly active users and unveiled it’s brand new long-form video app for creators, IGTV. You can view IGTV content from Instagram directly and creators can download IGTV here. What we know of Instagram’s new YouTube and Snapchat video killer:  

Instagram long-form video specifications:

  • Length: 1-hour video uploads
  • Quality/Resolution: 4K high-definition
  • Orientation: vertical fullscreen
  • Linking: yes, option to link out to third party sites
  • Uploads: will only allow pre-made video uploads (vs. a live shoot and post of 60-second or longer video)


Presently, there are still a number of unknowns including 1) where Instagram’s new long-form videos and hub will reside, 2) its roster of launch partners (including both social media influencers and publishers), and 3) how these new Instagram videos will monetize further adding to the myriad of ways top Instagram influencers can make money off social media

With both Facebook and Instagram’s propensity for making new features easily discoverable and prominent, expect to see and access Instagram’s new long-form videos easy to find. We predict that Instagram will showcase long-form videos within both a “featured” or “trending” style curated feed and prominently highlighted on individual influencers’ and publishers’ channels.   

While YouTube may be known as the first platform to successfully drive growth by cultivating influencer relationships, this hasn’t precluded Facebook and Instagram to leverage the same strategy for traction with their latest features (Facebook Video, Live, and most recently, Watch). Facebook paid top social media influencers and publishers tens of millions of dollars to launch its video platform and by initial reports, Instagram’s long-form video platform will hit the ground running with a select list of social media star users.    

Snapchat shunned discoverability of social media influencers and made it difficult for creators to make money off of its app. In contrast, YouTube and Facebook both provide influencers programs to make money off of their platforms while Instagram has endeared itself to influencers by pushing and “rewarding” engaging photo and video content with greater visibility. A solid long-form video path to monetization and revenue sharing (revshare) program will only serve to boost influencer-generated content on Instagram and draw influencers away from YouTube.        

Related Post: Is Snapchat Dead As An Influencer Channel?

Why Instagram Could Very Well Be The New YouTube

Even before it cements a solid influencer revshare program or figures out how to surface these new videos, Instagram’s longer-form video platform already has a variety of factors in its favor.

For starters, Instagram is arguably the most beloved app for influencers and global audiences alike. While YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat all have had their fair share of detractors and scandals, Instagram has remained largely unscathed enjoying unprecedented levels of growth, engagement, and adoption (for example, Instagram’s Stories feature hit 150 million daily active users in just five months).

Audiences of several major demographics and top influencers flock to Instagram already citing it as their favorite app — the debut of a “simpler YouTube” that doesn’t require users to video edit for hours on end before uploading (currently the standard for successful YouTubers) may just be the video platform and medium that puts Instagram at the forefront of online video (not just social media).    

Looking outside of Instagram, there are recent factors that position Instagram’s new video platform to be the all-encompassing go-to influencer platform. Many influencers and YouTubers frustrated at YouTube’s new demonetization policies (with several creators reportedly earning significantly less or not at all) are searching for other ways to make a living online. The advent of a new video platform could enable YouTubers to easily upload similar type of videos, reach an entirely new global audience, and earn more money. This could be the formula that Instagram needs to capture former, existing, and would-be YouTube influencers.

Snapchat pioneered the vertical video format when it introduced “stories” in October 2013. Instagram launched their own version of stories in August 2016. This contributed to Instagram’s explosive growth and quickly stole Snapchat’s thunder as their growth numbers immediately started to level off. Instagram may further this trend into the vertical video format with their new video hub. YouTube doesn’t currently allow for vertical videos (vertical videos on YouTube must be uploaded in horizontal view with bands on each side). This alone may fill a new need in the market for this type of format and may drive further content creation around this format and further adoption.

Instagram has shown in the past an immense ability to successfully pivot into new features and new formats (most notably and successfully with the introduction of stories, but messaging within the app and other features have been also hugely successful). Instagram is expected to add over 150M users this year. This growth number alone is almost as large as the entirety of Snapchat, which had 191 million daily users as of Q1 2018. With user growth and time spent continuing to grow with Instagram, they’re likely to a serious competitor to YouTube while offering an experience unique to Instagram.

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