- During quarantine, Instagram users are turning toward the platform’s Live feature for everything from DJ sets and exercise classes to celebrity-hosted Q&As and comedy sketches.
- With Instagram Live views up 70% in just the first week of April, influencer marketing agency Digital Brand Architects (DBA) partnered with web design start-up chloédigital to launch “Your Live Guide.”
- The new website brands itself a “TV guide of live content” and lets creators promote their Instagram Lives while letting users find Lives they’re interested in and schedule them so they don’t forget to stream.
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Instagram Live, the in-app Stories feature that lets you livestream yourself to your followers, is having its biggest moment yet since itsNovember 2016 launch. Many quarantined Instagram users are now familiar with seeing a full row of purple-red ombré rings at the top of their screen, an endless array of options advertising “Live” content.
In just the first week of April, Instagram Live views increased by 70 per cent, Facebook says. Many livestreams are sporadic and unstructured, but a new kind of Live experience is becoming more prevalent, thanks to widespread cancelations of in-person experiences.
Comedians, fitness trainers, celebrities, and even strippers have migrated their performances, conversations, and classes to Instagram Live, where attendance is free and you can join or leave unobtrusively.
The livestreams boon was on chloédigital founder Chloe Watts’ mind when she chatted about a collaboration with Reesa Lake, partner and executive vice president of brand partnerships at Digital Brand Architects (DBA), about three weeks ago. The web design start-up has been a long-time partner of the influencer marketing agency, and Watts had the idea to create a tool to help creators and audiences sift through the overwhelming amount of Instagram Lives.
“I had seen a negotiating Live that I really wanted to listen to, and then I forgot about it,” Lake told Business Insider. “I had probably screenshotted it, I never added it to my calendar, then I realised I missed it and was like ‘There’s gotta be a better way.'”
The two companies ended up partnering to launch “Your Live Guide,” a website that lets creators self-aggregate their upcoming, scheduled Live content, so that users can find livestreams that interest them and build a schedule by adding events straight to your calendar. You can browse by topics like “#comedy,” “#beauty,” “#food,” “#dj,” and “#fitness.”
‘Your Live Guide’ signals that creators may be shifting to livestreams as a content tool even after quarantine lifts
The self-styled “TV guide of live content” launched with a group of influencers, brands, and content creators lined up, and new Instagram Live events are already being added every few minutes. The platform is still evolving and is just in phase one, Lake said, and has the potential to become monetized, letting brands pay for better site placement.
There’s also potential for “Your Live Guide” to become an app, since neither its creators nor talent expect livestream popularity to go away anytime soon. Estimations on how long it will be before large events like concerts and conferences are ok to attend again range from months to over a year from April.
Livestreams have also been popular among Gen Z influencers since before quarantine, and digital appetites seem like they’re shifting toward live entertainment that’s accessible from your phone or laptop screen. Platforms like TikTok, which has a built-in Live feature, and streaming sites like Twitch demonstrate the longevity of livestreams, and “Your Live Guide” plans to include all types of livestreams, not just Instagram. It also has the potential to become an app.
“It’s building a deeper community for live content, but then ultimately for the creator, it’s exposing them to a bigger audience, new viewers,” Lake said. “And then for the audience and viewers, it makes it easier for them to craft favourites and make sure they view live content that in some cases they won’t be able to view after 24 hours.”
For now, the content on “Your Live Guide” mostly targets a female, lifestyle-centric audience. One of the influencers onboard already is Whitney Port, an alum of “The Hills,” who has listed Live content like pilates classes, cleaning out her closet, and baking “stoner cookies” to celebrate April 20, the unofficial holiday for cannabis enthusiasts.
Port said that getting involved with “Your Live Guide” through DBA motivated her to strategize her Instagram Live content, which she hadn’t really produced in the past, so that she could keep a regular schedule and brainstorm engaging activities and topics. Some celebrities, like Miley Cyrus with her “Bright Minded” talk show, have created a routine of bringing other celebrities onto their Lives for candid conversations that sometimes stoke drama.
“Yesterday I got to catch up with Kaitlyn [Carter], who I know from filming ‘The Hills,’ and I think people love to see that because people love to see your connections with other people,” Port told Business Insider. “We want to watch organic connections as opposed to random interviews.”
The success of the platform will depend on how much Instagram Live and other livestreaming tools stay relevant after quarantine begins to lift, but Lake predicts more of a change in the industry than a brief adjustment. She says brands are already sponsoring and partaking in Instagram Live content, and there’s an appeal to livestreaming that Gen Z-ers and the competitive streaming industry have already proven.
“I think everything about the way we work and communicate will change, which will also change how influencers are creating content,” Lake said. “I think those that use the time during COVID-19 to come up with unique, entertaining programming will build an audience that they will want to continue to capture afterward.”
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