Instagram's newest feature, IGTV, is a big one: Longform videos are coming to the platform. We should all start thinking about how to use them and what impact they'll create in content and advertising.

This will compete directly with YouTube. Instagram has a large network, works well with advertisers, and should be able to eventually integrate all kinds of direct purchase options into its new longform content.

Historically, its shortform videos have done a good job of allowing viewers to see a product and simply buy it without any hassle. That's what we all want as consumers, right? I love my Google Home, for example, because it's convenient--I don't even care if I say something to it and it appears as an advertisement later that day on my social media platforms.

So, from a brand perspective, will this change how Instagram is used? Yes and no.

There will still be differences between YouTube and Instagram. The more important thing we can do over the next two months is to watch for migrations of influencers and elite content creators. If they jump from YouTube--or even Snapchat--take note.

I suspect we won't see many of those influencers leave YouTube entirely. Instagram will remain just a supplementary channel for them. That's probably a smart strategy for you, too. YouTube doesn't pay that well for content creators, but it still pays something--and it's integrated in to every smart TV in every home. Instagram would need to get there before it's viewed as a serious contender against YouTube (although, with the resources of Facebook, that shouldn't take long).

Here's the more important question to answer right now: If you start using both platforms, how should your content should differ between the two?

How you should approach YouTube and the new Instagram

At its most basic, YouTube is a great way to create serial content--content that builds, develops an audience, and functions similarly to what a TV show would do. You can build an audience over time and create a mass of subscribers you can message whenever you need.

That won't change.

Instagram will probably remain a very in-the-moment platform, much like Twitter. It's not a place where you often search content--you find it in your feed, or on the pages of people you follow. That fast pace encourages content designed to create immediate responses.

You don't have to scream "buy now" in to the camera like you're conducting an infomercial for kitchen knives. (In fact, you probably shouldn't.) Just have it in the back of your mind that you'll only have one chance to entice people with this content. After that, the moment will be lost.

This means you should create your Instagram content in advance, and then look to release it at optimized times--when something related to what you do is trending, for example, or when you see an otherwise perfect window. 

At least for now, that's how we should begin. Don't forget: Like everything with social media, we can't wait for it to be perfect. Let's get out and start testing content.

Published on: Jun 20, 2018