Instagram Live is, well, live. The platform’s venture into live video was announced last month, and now users in the U.S. have access to the feature.
What Is It?
A live video broadcast tool just like Periscope and Facebook Live. Nothing groundbreaking. However, Instagram Live is unique in that live videos disappear after the stream ends. In other words, Instagram doesn’t store the broadcasts, so you can’t re-watch or watch videos after the fact. This design takes Snapchat’s proprietary “ephemeral content” approach to the extreme.
Here’s a promo video of the feature from Instagram:
How to Go Live
Instagram Live is integrated into Instagram Stories, so it has a primetime spot at the very top of your Instagram feed. To live stream, swipe the Stories camera and tap the toggle to enter “Live” mode.
To see if your friends are broadcasting, look for a pink “LIVE” label on their Stories icon and click to watch. You’ll also get notifications if your closest friends are currently live streaming (as determined by Instagram’s algorithm). To interact with content, Instagram Live lets you send comments and hearts that float across the broadcast display, just like Periscope and Facebook Live.
If your friends are live streaming mundane tasks like laundry, don’t worry—you have other options. Instagram’s Explore tab will highlight some of the most popular live videos in the moment with its new “Top Live Videos” section. This tool should definitely help boost user discovery.
Livestreaming for Gen Z?
So this feature is pretty underwhelming, isn’t it? There are already plenty of live video platforms out there, so why create another one? Facebook (Instagram’s owner) has a deep-rooted desire to destroy Snapchat, its biggest video content rival, and live streaming is one thing Snapchat doesn’t have.
However, beyond this rivalry, Instagram does seem to have additional motives. Based on its marketing, Instagram Live seems to be targeted at Generation Z, those 18 and under. This is a smart move from Instagram, as this demographic is where Instagram might have a leg-up over its competitors. Instagram is a leading platform for Gen Z, while Facebook Live and Twitter (Periscope’s parent) have markedly older audiences. Instagram Live could easily gain success as the live video platform for GenZ’ers streaming their lives to one another. We’re excited to see if this tactic pans out as expected.