- The Verge noted that the Russian news site T Journal published reports implying Instagram might be testing out live streaming video. Screen grabs from the foreign publication show a "live" banner embbed in the app, and a bold red prompt on the in-app camera saying "Go Insta!," presumably a prompt to start streaming. Instagram declined to comment on the matter.
- The addition wouldn’t come as a surprise given parent company Facebook’s upped interest in live streaming of late; earlier reports from The Verge suggested industry insiders have said Instagram would add live video capabilities at some point.
- This summer, Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president for Facebook in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said that Facebook would be “all video” in the next five years at a Fortune event, and it’s unlikely that a visually-driven platform like Instagram wouldn’t fit into that framework.
As Twitter increasingly banks its future on live streaming, Facebook is pushing harder than ever into the space both on its flagship platform and now, presumably, through Instagram — though it's a little surprising that an app as visually-driven as Instagram has taken this long to fully integrate the feature. Now that live streaming has become a prevalent offering, it will be interesting to see if Facebook tries to do something different on Instagram, given the platform's predominantly younger user base.
Twitter's user base is a drop in the bucket compared to the combined powers of Facebook and Instagram, so its advantage remains in the deals it's brokered with organizations like the NFL, but those partnerships might migrate elsewhere as the broader competition gets better options.
Facebook has anticipated the change, prioritizing Facebook Live on users’ news feeds and continuing to add features designed to draw in more professional content, including the ability to cast video directly onto TV sets. Live video on Instagram might not only be a move to further edge out Twitter in that regard, but could also be working to get ahead of Snapchat, which has similarly yet to integrate a proper native live video option.
For marketers, the question rests in how to better monetize live video. It’s an intriguing content marketing option, and could also become a competitor to linear TV ad dollars if it starts to command an impressive enough audience. Marketers need to figure out how to connect with that audience in new ways, as serving ads in the same formats as television is unlikely to hold much appeal on a newer platform.