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Instagram Live’s New Four-Hour Broadcasts & Badges

Instagram Ups The Ante As Live-Streaming Booms 

Instagram has announced a series of changes to Instagram Live, aimed at both brands and influencers alike, impacting production, editing and amplification.

The headline change is expanding Instagram Live broadcasts, so as to be more in line with Facebook Live, which has a four hour limit for live streams from a mobile device or eight for streams from desktop or via an API.

Creators have long been pining for an update like this. The previous limit on Instagram Live streams was just one hour, limiting the utility of the feature.

Instagram, via Social Media Today

"This could help people such as instructors (yoga, fitness, schoolteachers etc.) who had to pivot to virtual classes, budding musicians, artists, or activists hosting discussions with fellow peers engage with their audience with no interruption from a 60 min time limit."

Instagram’s latest Live updates come hot on the heels of another big feature update, which let an initial 50,000 creators sell badges during their live videos for $0.99, $1.99, or $4.99, as well as expanding trials for IGTV ads.

The coronavirus crisis has changed the social media landscape. People have used Instagram Live as a place to gather in massive numbers – Live usage is 70% up from pre-COVID levels in the US.

DJs have played sets, personal trainers have hosted workouts, bands have played concerts and celebrities have chewed the fat.

In order to unlock longer form Instagram Lives admins need be in ‘good standing’, which means an account has no policy violations or intellectual property infringements.

Vishal Shah, VP Product, Instagram, via Twitter

“We want Instagram to be a place where everyone can follow their interests, reach audiences, engage with communities and build businesses. These updates are another step toward helping creators do that.”

Interestingly, Shah also confirmed that Instagram are working on plans to build a creators’ help centre – but said he didn’t want to be drawn into speculation about when that might become available.

Enhanced Live Reach And Discovery

A new Live Now section on IGTV and Explore has also been announced, helping to boost Live discovery, reaching new audiences and increasing organic reach on platform.

Instagram will now try to keep viewers engaged on the app by directing users to new content following the end of Live streams. This move will try to improve viewer numbers across the board and show users content they may not stumble across organically.

Instagram, via Social Media Today

"As people increasingly relied on Live this year to engage with their communities, we want to help people discover more content that interests them from the creators they do and don’t follow."

A Brand New Way To Archive

Finally, Instagram has announced that they’ll allow users to archive their Lives for up to 30 days, marking a change from the previous method of archiving, which was to publish to IGTV immediately after going Live.

However, the IGTV version could only be downloaded without edits, likes and comments. Now that’s changed. During the 30 day archive window, creators will be able to edit and download the video for use on other platforms.

Posting across Facebook, YouTube or even TikTok will broaden brands’ ability to promote themselves across a wide range of platforms and could lead to further benefits with reach and monetisation.

Another benefit of the archive feature means that if a Live crashes, or a user forgot to download it immediately after it ends, it can be rescued and downloaded at a later date.

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