Instagram, the app giant famous for promoting aspirational social media goals and in-app stories, has recently begun testing and re-testing new revenue streams.
The social media behemoth, this week has launched new tools that enable Instagram creators to earn money, through the mechanism of Instagram badges and IGTV ads. Both launches are a test, as Instagram is offering limited features during this phase. in a press release statement, Instagram stated:
“Badges will give viewers a way to support their favorite creators while also standing out in the comments, similar to efforts on other live video platforms, like YouTube and Twitch. There will be different “heart” badges viewers can choose from, offered at price points of $0.99 for one heart, $1.99 for two hearts, or $4.99 for three hearts. Viewers can only buy one badge during a live video.”
Once being bought, the badges will appear alongside to the badge owners’ name during a live video whilst they comment, enabling helps them to stand out. This assists creators to easily see which fans are supporting them and possibly give them a shout-out or interact further with their supporters. Additionally, creators can see a list of all their badge holders.
Instagram has been on the rise for years and has recently become the most popular social media platform. Instagram itself was bought by Facebook in 2012 for 760 million euros. It currently has over 1 billion users worldwide – including over 17 million monthly users in Germany alone.
The addition of the IGTV video ads comes after criticism of their video upload length. Until recently, this was a mere 60 seconds. However, this has changed with the new “IGTV” feature, earlier this year. Although this was launched to a rocky start, due to Covid-19 and the increase in demand for content, IGTV has seen a slight resurgence.
IGTV? Yes, you read that correctly! You may have noticed a new little icon in your Instagram app recently. This is Instagram’s new video function, which finally lets you post videos that are longer than 60 seconds.
Instagram’s badges will be live next month with a small group of Instagram chosen creators to launch to feature to a few select markets including Germany, Spain, Brazil, the U.K., France, Italy, Turkey, and Mexico, with eventual plans to become available in the U.S.
Instagram is not taking a share of the revenue profit during this testing phase. Later, this will change however, as Instagram is set to take an undisclosed portion of the advertising revenue, should this become a permanent feature.
Whilst this might seem like numerous social media apps are jumping on the fan-funded bandwagon, this is actually a trend that existed long before it was introduced to companies such as Facebook and Instagram. The trend originally was exported from Asia, with company’s such as Bili Bili and Douyin allowing their user’s to buy their favorite live streamers virtual ‘gifts’.
Live streamers on BiliBili reportedly make up to 1 million RMB per month.
What is IGTV?
Jumping back to the second part of this Instagram news story – IGTV.
Instagram is already everyone’s favorite photo app, that’s for sure. Now, with the launch of IGTV, it may also become the most popular video app. Similar to YouTube, IGTV is a video portal on which users can create their own channels if they want to distribute videos themselves.
Access is possible in two ways: via the app provided, or via the button in the Instagram feed.
The videos on IGTV, like normal posts, can be given a title and description. The main difference to Instagram videos in the feed is the (maximum) length.
Clips can be up to 10 minutes long on IGTV! So far, the maximum length was 60 seconds. A huge step forward! Verified accounts are even available for an hour.
A bumpy start for IGTV – How Minor Adjustments Made IGTV the New Trend
In its early days, shortly after the launch of the video platform integrated in Instagram, IGTV did not meet expectations. Neither that of Instagram itself nor that of the users on the platform.
Although videos are becoming increasingly important in social media marketing, some factors, such as the limitation to vertical videos, were a hurdle that content creators were largely unwilling to overcome.
In the meantime, this sluggish seems to have been overcome. An important reason for this is two innovations in the recent past:
Instagram now allows you to post a preview of IGTV videos in the feed. This preview clip can be up to a minute long. Then users can decide whether they want to continue watching the clip on IGTV. This integrates IGTV much more into the feed and allows users to become aware of the clips in an “organic” way.
In addition to vertical, horizontal videos are now also permitted. This means that content creators no longer have to produce vertical videos specifically for Instagram TV.
The innovations mentioned are probably only to be seen as the beginning! If the popularity of the video offers continues to increase, IGTV could soon, similar to other video portals like YouTube, introduce opportunities to make money with the clips.
This would further strengthen IGTV’s standing and perhaps even lead some influencers to focus entirely on IGTV. Why be active on other platforms when your own target group is already on IGTV anyway? Now IGTV is supporting ads, that add an additional revenue stream for the content posters. This is a test, however.