Long-Form Content losing out to Short-Form Content: Sumit Mittal, Vent All Out

Guest Column: Mittal, Founder and CEO, Vent All Out says that Instagram is gaining pace against YouTube, and talks about how people are getting inclined towards the shorter 60 sec videos on Instagram

e4m by Sumit Mittal
Updated: Mar 5, 2019 8:36 AM
Sumit Mittal

In the snap of a finger and ease of a click – this is the kind of pace and effortlessness that can engage millennials’ attention and pique their interest. In our fast-paced world, it seems that no one has the time to sit and watch hour-long videos, which is why almost everything in the short format – from news stories to videos – is being preferred. It’s not my personal opinion. This is really happening.

In case of a platform like Instagram, where the picture of an egg fetched 40 million likes, it will not be an overstatement to say that it is becoming a rage, which might soon outpace and topple YouTube from its position of being the most preferred destination for watching videos. Even though YouTube has 1.8 billion users, gets 30 million visitors per day and a whopping 5 billion videos are watched daily, people are increasingly becoming inclined towards the shorter 60-second videos that are shared on Instagram. 

Apart from the duration of the videos, there are a few other aspects that give it an upper hand. Firstly, not everyone who visits YouTube uploads videos on the platform – making and uploading videos is solely for those who have a channel or want to create content for YouTube. Also, you can’t upload the kind of videos that you might post on Instagram because anyone who uses YouTube can see it and not just the ones who follow you, as is the case with Instagram. The viewership is entirely under the control of the Instagrammer, with a more targeted audience. 

Secondly, people are more inclined towards Instagram because you get to see not only the videos and photos that celebrities, celebrated personalities and brands upload but also the ones that people in your circle – friends, family members and colleagues, upload. Since it is a 60-second long video, there is no distraction created by ads. 

According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, 85 per cent of teenagers said they use YouTube. Instagram follows closely at 72 per cent. There is another feature that makes Instagram interesting, making many people inclined towards it – Instagram Live that differs from Facebook Live in that it disappears within 24 hours of the broadcast. This taps into the viewers’ fear of missing out (FOMO). Within 24 hours of its introduction, it became a success with more than 5 million uploads.

It has been estimated that approximately 20 per cent of the people, who are watching a video, will leave after the first 10 seconds. Instagram’s 1 billion monthly users already watch 60 per cent more video on the platform than they did a year ago. This has further amassed a creative class of influencers. Also in the case of sponsored videos, Instagram has proven to be far better than YouTube as they can be consumed quickly and also does not require you to shell out much money for the content. So, Instagram as a platform is beneficial both to influencers and brands. 

According to estimates, Instagram has witnessed an 80 per cent increase, with every passing year, for videos. The growth in the popularity of videos has quadrupled the creation of videos from 2017. The traction can be gauged from the fact that when videos were launched on Instagram in 2013, 5 million videos were uploaded in the first 24 hours. 

But even as the video consumption on Instagram has increased, photos continue to generate 36 per cent more likes than videos. Factors like visual aesthetics and ease of use make users more inclined towards Instagram as a platform to watch videos, as against YouTube.  

Instagram has gone through several changes and added features like Instagram Stories, live-streaming, and carousel photo albums. Instagram Stories were introduced on the platform in August 2016, which allows users to upload photos and videos (along with the stickers and other details) to their profiles that would expire after 24 hours (a function similar to Snapchat).

The engagement growth for videos is outpacing that for photos, which is evident from the numbers – 60 per cent posts of the 30 most engaging Instagram accounts were photos and 33 per cent were video posts, despite this, the average engagement rate for videos increased by 53 per cent. But this clearly suggests that video engagements weren’t necessarily dependent on the number of videos posted. National Geographic had the third biggest total of Instagram likes and comments on its videos but produced only produced 51 videos. 

Everything visual catches the attention of people and Instagram is extremely visual in nature. Not just is it visual but also becomes more interactive, which is what people look for, nowadays. Instagram videos are full of people - in many of them, there are close-up looks at the emotions playing across their faces. Videos from National Geographic and Tasty are a visual feast. Sports videos are also amazing, with the action-packed antics that can translate well to digestible video snippets.

With one billion active users and the aesthetic appeal of its photo and videos that can become a fixation, I believe, Instagram is the next video platform. 

(The author Sumit Mittal is the Founder and CEO of Vent All Out)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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