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Instagram to show ads on IGTV, experts tell us what it could mean for influencers
Instagram to introduce ads on IGTVInstagram
Instagram to let influencers earn from ads on IGTV content and experts share how it could impact the industry.

Instagram to show ads on IGTV, experts tell us what it could mean for influencers

Instagram to let influencers earn from ads on IGTV content and experts share how it could impact the industry.
  • Instagram announced Wednesday it was rolling out ads to creators' longform IGTV videos, providing them with an opportunity to monetise it.
  • Digital experts share what it could mean for the influencer marketing industry and the platform's growth.
For the first time, Instagram has made an announcement that is making the influencer community happy. It announced that it will start sharing revenue with creators through ads in IGTV along with badges that viewers can purchase on Instagram Live.

Instagram said in its announcement, “Starting next week, we are introducing ads in IGTV, our long-form video destination. We want to support creators’ investment in IGTV by sharing advertising revenue with them.

“IGTV ads will initially appear when people click to watch IGTV videos from previews in their feed. The video ads will be built for mobile and up to 15 seconds long. We’ll test various experiences within IGTV ads throughout the year - such as the ability to skip an ad - to make sure the final result works well for people, creators and advertisers.”

Explaining how badges will work, Instagram said, “Badges will appear next to a person’s name throughout the live video. Fans who have purchased badges in Live will stand out in the comments and unlock additional features, including placement on a creator's list of badge holders and access to a special heart.”

To understand the implications, we reached out to some experts who told us what this could translate into, in the future and how it could help influencers.

Here is what they said:

Ashutosh Harbola, CEO and Co-founder, Buzzoka:

It is a very positive move for the influencer marketing industry as it is rolling out new ways for creators to make money directly from their content on IGTV. With this initiative, Instagram will become as one of the most preferred medium for creators and will enable them to propagate their content to the niche audiences like never before.

Shrenik Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, White Rivers Media:

"While Instagram has a billion+ downloads, IGTV has less than a single digit percentage of stand alone downloads. While the journey of IGTV began two years back, I think this move will add fuel to the fire and the real growth will be seen now. Adding advertisements might make the experience slightly off, but a social network survives on advertisements. What IGTV can do is, they can take steps to enhance the quality of advertisements to make sure it doesn't get intrusive. Also, when influencers are motivated beyond applause and likes, read: real cash, they will be motivated to create IGTV special content and better content will attract more audience which eventually will motivate creators to create more. So sharing advertisement revenue like youtube started almost a decade back, is a tried and tested way to make the platform grow.

Essentially it creates a win win win situation. Win for the platform - because it will have more time spent, more users and more quality engagement Win for the influencers - because their influence clout will grow and they can earn Win for the customers - because they can consume better content. Hence, overall, it's a welcome move."

Sumera Dewan, AVP - Account Management, Dentsu Webchutney:

Just ahead of the pandemic, IGTV was struggling to survive, with the company even deciding to remove the icon from Instagram. However, now with all of us confined to our homes, our content consumption is increasing and IGTV is slowly starting to gain momentum. The recent announcement to monetise it didn’t surprise me – it was always aimed at taking on YouTube, which without monetising wouldn’t ever be a reality.

I remember two years ago when IGTV was launched, I was chatting with a client on the merits of it. And the first question he asked me – How do I promote my brand’s content via it? Brands even today are not embracing this feature for its native strength simply because of no promotional opportunities. And while creators are more inclined to reach out to their communities via IGTV, it hasn’t been enough to drive its discoverability.

Some people might feel that monetising will dilute the user experience. Yes, while that might be a reality initially, but then don’t we all get used to it? Look at YouTube. The platform has experienced unprecedented growth in India in the last few years, all while being conducive to branded promotions. And let us not forget Twitch and TikTok. Both are video first community platforms, with a loyal base, consuming and responding to promotional content all the time.

Moving into monetisation was the only way for IGTV to survive. It not only increases discoverability of branded content to a wider audience via the base app, but also encourages further adoption of the feature within the creator community. It would be interesting to see how the ad formats evolve over a period to keep the user experience intact.

Viraj Sheth, Co-founder, Monk-E:
With regard to IGTV monetization, I think it's in its very initial stages of beta testing in the US right now. While it will take a fair amount of time to reach Indian markets, I feel this will come as a very, very welcome move from the influencer community. A large chunk of brands in the Indian market are still in their nascent stages in terms of adopting influencer marketing, thus not all creators are able to draw significant paycheques from brand deals. This move will come as a relief for a lot of young and budding creators who put in serious effort and have taken up content creation as their primary job. For established creators, it's a win-win situation.

I feel Instagram for a creator has always been that one platform you cannot miss out on. While this move will definitely attract more creators on Instagram, I believe both TikTok and Instagram can coexist as platforms. Every big TikTok creator is active on Instagram. The major difference we will begin to see now is the mass-adoption of the IGTV feature on the app.

Apaksh Gupta, Founder and CEO, One Impression:

This is something that we had already anticipated. Instagram will also play a big role in how creators function, and make money. We see it as a strategic step where the platform and creators will come together as a team, and moderate content that is going up for the viewers!

Having said that, it will also lead to a huge influx of creators on Instagram as well as proliferation of IGTV long format content, thereby, making the platform much bigger for influencer marketing & monetisation. The brands too will see this step as an opportunity to create more long format content for their campaigns on Instagram, and engage audiences strongly. It will be interesting to watch ads on a vertical screen, which otherwise, we have mostly seen on YouTube in horizontal frames, so we are already used to the experience.

Rajan Navani, MD and CEO, JetSynthesys:

It’s really no surprise because ads have been a primary source of revenue for most social and streaming platforms. All business models require a strong revenue stream to survive and some incentive for creators as well. While there may be some initial shock from users, especially for an already struggling platform like IGTV, they are somewhat habituated to ads by now and will move on. The benefit is 2 fold, not only does it open up a new revenue stream for IGTV, but this could also help boost the quality of content by creators on the app which currently is nowhere near at-par with other platforms like YouTube. The greatest advantage for IGTV is that, with over a billion active users on Instagram, their reach is already far superior to other platforms, so if this strategy works to lure in better creators on the platform, it has the potential to become the next big thing in video content.