Instagram is gunning for YouTube with a plan to allow longer-form video, according to the owner of an influencer network whose clients have talked with the Facebook-owned company, as well as numerous media reports.
Allowing long video could help Instagram court social media stars and their millions of fans to use its platform as their primary online home, instead of relying on YouTube, where many have fewer followers. And when the users move, so will the marketers, meaning Facebook stands to gain advertising revenue at Google-owned YouTube's expense.
Digital video advertising is exceptionally lucrative, with revenue projected to reach $19.81 billion by 2020, according to eMarketer. Most platforms, including Facebook, split advertising revenue with popular users and media companies that post videos. And with Instagram popular among younger users — a recent Pew survey showed 71 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use the service — ad opportunities on and in social media stars' videos could be especially attractive for brands that want to get in front of a demographic that isn't watching TV and commercials.
"When we talk to marketers, Instagram has become their platform of choice," said Mavrck CEO Lyle Stevens. "Over 90 percent of marketers we ask and talk to say Instagram is their most important social network for working with creators. It's a natural evolution for that leadership position to move into that long-form content game."