In line with other popular social platforms -- most notably Facebook -- Instagram recently announced that it will be updating its video offering. This update will allow users to curate 60 seconds of video versus the previous 15 seconds allotted.
For influencers, in particular, this increased video length allows more creative flexibility to reach targeted audiences within the photo and video platform's more than 400 million-strong user base. Given the recent introduction of an algorithm to the Instagram feed, the creative white space afforded by this update will help creators develop content that generates engagement, and is therefore prioritized in the feed.
While brands have already had access to this video length, here are five things that marketers can do right now to ensure they are getting the most out of their creator partnerships on Instagram and across other social platforms where engagement metrics inform which content rises to the top.
Mobile video has major momentum
As video, and specifically mobile video, continues to grow in popularity and consumption, this update will be seen as a welcome (and long overdue) update by content creators. Users will also dig that they can now create 60-second videos by splicing together separate clips -- a feature that already exists on Vine. Platforms are increasingly expanding in-app video editing and creation capabilities to align with the ongoing "consumer-as-creator" trend.
Brands should be wary of simply repurposing television and digital media within Instagram
Even though the video length will now allow for 60 second clips -- just like TV -- the priority should be to create experiences that are native to the platform itself. Within the universe of Instagram, where UGC reigns supreme, the key is providing useful and relatable content. And remember, when branding is subtle, and not overt (like in display or in a commercial), your ad will perform better.
Engagement is more important than ever
While creators now have a larger canvas, they should closely monitor the topics and formats that resonate the most with their audiences. For some audiences and topics, shorter form videos might be the way to go, despite the longer time allotment that is now afforded.
Trusted influencers will still have authority, so take a good, hard look at your current partners
Are your current creator partnerships rooted in simply identifying creators with massive followings? Or, are you truly vetting influencers for demonstrated subject matter expertise and a clearly engaged social community? With the combination of both the video update and the algorithm update, building and maintaining an engaged community as well as more creative content will be paramount to ensuring your partner posts get seen.
Granting influencers with creative freedom is more important than ever
Per a recent Crowdtap survey of more than 50 bloggers and content creators, influencers cited editorial freedom as the No. 1 reason why they would partner with a brand again. Now, in addition to helping build longer-term influencer partnerships, being flexible and open to the unique editorial POVs of partner creators will also ensure that they deliver content that their audiences truly want to see and engage with.
With this update and the anticipated algorithm update where users newsfeeds will be customized to their interests versus the chronological order they are accustomed to, Instagram is growing up and evolving into a platform with the potential to rival Google's YouTube product for brand dollars. These changes stand to reward marketers and creators who value the quality of their content, and will force brands to be more thoughtful in their approach to influencer efforts moving forward.