Brands using Instagram for video marketing in the run-up to Christmas will now be able to host live streams for four times longer than before after a range of new updates rolled out this week.
Instagram’s video features have been popular with businesses this year in the absence of traditional in-person marketing events such as conferences.
Data shows that Instagram’s ‘Live’ feature, which allows users to broadcast videos, has seen a 70% spike in usage since the pandemic started.
To cater for the demand for longer, in-depth content, Instagram says that it will now lift the time limit for live streaming from a single hour to four hours for users in every region.
Previously, users had to restart a stream if they wanted to continue beyond 60 minutes, but this approach was not ideal as viewer counts were reset.
Instagram is also making it easier for viewers to find live streams and to refer back to them for a longer period after they have first aired.
The visual-focused platform will achieve this with the addition of a new ‘Live Now’ section within IGTV and the option of archiving streams for up to 30 days.
The latest changes bring Instagram’s live stream capabilities up to par with Facebook on mobile devices.
Both platforms will now allow users to use their smartphones to host streams for up to four hours, though Facebook increases that cap to eight hours on desktop.
Instagram has been heavily focused on improving live streams in recent weeks.
In early October, a new monetisation option was added to allow creators to earn money from the content they post.
Around 50,000 creators are now testing the system, which allows viewers to purchase one of three tiered badges during a live stream to support creators and be more visible in the comments section.