How Instagram Creators Can Use Broadcast Channels To Connect With Fans

Edition #52

Good morning!

Google’s long-time employee and YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, announced that she will be stepping down from her position. In a letter addressed to YouTube employees and shared on the YouTube blog, Wojcicki stated that she plans to focus on her family, health, and personal projects moving forward. As a result, Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan will be taking her place as the Senior Vice President and head of YouTube.

This transition is happening at a crucial time for YouTube, as the platform has been making significant strides in several key areas, such as short-form video and streaming. As one of the key figures in the creator economy, the impact of Wojcicki’s departure will be something to keep an eye on this year.

Today’s Edition:

  • Instagram introduces Broadcast Channels, a new way for creators to connect with fans

  • US Adults are set to spend more time streaming video content than watching traditional TV

  • Pinterest increases video uploads to five minutes

Instagram Introduces Broadcast Channels, A New Way For Creators To Connect With Fans

Instagram introduced the launch of Broadcast Channels, a new Microsoft-powered messaging tool for creators to communicate with followers at scale.

How It Works

To start using the feature, creators can set up a Broadcast Channel within their Instagram Inbox on mobile. When they send their first broadcast message, all their followers will receive a one-time notification to join the channel. Creators can also share a ‘Join Channel’ sticker in Stories to encourage their followers to join and pin a Channel Link to their profile.

Once a creator sets up a Broadcast Channel, they have the ability to send messages to their followers using text, photos, videos, gifs, polls, or voice notes. While only creators can send messages, followers are able to read and interact with the content by reacting and voting in polls. When a creator sends a message, all their followers will receive a notification in their Direct Messages. However, followers have the option to mute the notifications, turn off notifications, or leave the channel altogether if they no longer wish to receive messages.

Similar to how Instagram Subscriptions were launched, Instagram is initially testing the feature with a small and diverse group of creators such as Chloe Kim, Flaujae, Josh Richards, Karen Cheng, Katie Feeney, Lonnie IIV, and Valkyrae. For creators interested in using the feature, Instagram has opened a waitlist for early access.

Instagram also shared that it plans to add more features to Broadcast Channels, such as the ability to bring in another creator and prompts for Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions. Plus, it will roll out Broadcast Channels to Facebook and Messenger in the coming months.

How Creators Can Use It

Broadcast Channels provide creators with a new way to connect with their most dedicated fans, offering a Telegram-like feature that allows them to communicate one-to-many. This offers a direct way to share updates, upcoming content or collaborations, and behind-the-scenes moments. It also allows them to engage with their followers through Q&A sessions and crowdsource ideas. For example, a travel creator could use it to ask their audience for restaurant recommendations on a trip, a journalist might share breaking news, or a food blogger could share a preview of an upcoming recipe video.

Unlike the current options of sharing In-Feed posts, Reels, or Stories, Broadcast Channels offer a low-lift, simpler, and more convenient way for creators to keep their followers updated. Because followers receive notifications, creators can reach them directly instead of battling the algorithm. Many creators have turned to other messaging apps like Telegram, Discord, and Geneva to be able to share updates with their communities at scale. Now they have the option to do that directly on Instagram, which will be appealing to native Instagram creators.

The feature also offers monetization opportunities, including the ability to launch subscription-only channels, sell products and services to a more targeted audience, and bring brand collaborations to smaller communities. This could include sharing affiliate links, running brand-sponsored polls, and offering exclusive promo codes.

What It Means For Meta

Broadcast Channels are a part of Meta’s broader efforts to increase engagement across its family of apps. Recently, engagement has been down due to users sharing fewer public updates. Instead, many prefer sharing updates in more private settings like messages, which aligns with the new feature. If Meta wants to further increase engagement, it should allow followers in Broadcast Channels to respond to messages from creators beyond reactions and polls. This would create more of a two-way relationship, which many creators would find quite valuable.

US Adults Are Set To Spend More Time Streaming Video Content Than Watching Traditional TV

In a new forecast from Insider Intelligence, US adults will spend more time streaming video content than watching traditional television for the first time this year. According to early estimates, 53% of video-watching time (3 hours and 11 minutes) will be spent on digital videos on Netflix, TikTok, YouTube, and others, compared to less than half on traditional TV (2 hours and 55 minutes). As most would expect, Netflix and TikTok lead the charge with around 33 minutes of daily watch time.

It’s No Surprise

The shift shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Streaming services and social media platforms offer an endless variety of content that can be watched anytime and anywhere. The convenience of binge-watching shows and creator-generated videos, coupled with algorithm-powered recommendations, provides a personalized viewing experience that traditional TV simply can't offer. In addition, social media platforms create an easily shareable experience, with users often sending viral clips to their friends and family.

Digital Video Will Accelerate

The shift toward digital video will accelerate as younger generations, like Gen Z, mature, and social media platforms move beyond mobile devices. TikTok and YouTube have made significant efforts to move to bigger screens. The TikTok App has been around for a while now, while YouTube recently brought Shorts, its fastest-growing format, to connected devices. TikTok also launched a partnership with IMDb that could foreshadow its eventual entrance into premium content like YouTube, which added premium content to its offering with the launch of Primetime Channels.

The demand for creator content doesn’t seem to be slowing down, either. With more people becoming creators and investing in more video content, more eyeballs will drive to the platforms they are posting on.

What Could Happen With US Advertising Dollars

This year, it’s expected that over 66 billion dollars will go into US television advertising. Streaming services and social media platforms should expect to eat into that more over the next few years as advertisers want to reach audiences that are most engaged. That’s not only a good thing for these entities but also for creators, who are creating content on TikTok and YouTube, that have ad revenue share programs.

Live Sports Is Key

One thing that traditional TV has going for itself is its stronghold on live sports, a significant driver of viewership. A majority of sports programming still lives on traditional TV. In fact, the top 94 most-watched broadcasts of 2022 were sporting events, with the National Football League (NFL) claiming 82 of the spots.

However, this hold may loosen up in the future as Amazon, Apple TV, and YouTube move deeper into live sports. Amazon Prime is coming off a successful first season as the rights owner for NFL Thursday Night Football, Apple TV recently added Major League Soccer (MLS) Season Pass, and YouTube is gearing up for its first season as the rights owner for NFL Sunday Ticket.

Pinterest Increases Video Uploads To Five Minutes

Pinterest increased the maximum length for video uploads to five minutes, up from the previous one-minute limit, following in the footsteps of TikTok, which increased video uploads to 10 minutes last March.

How It Benefits Creators, Viewers & Pinterest

The expanded video length capacity now empowers creators to share more video content, like long-form videos on YouTube. This means that creators no longer need to string together multiple videos in their Idea Pins to share video content beyond 60 seconds.

This move will be welcomed by both creators and viewers, especially with the growing popularity of video content on the platform. Last quarter, Pinterest saw a 30% increase in video content, driven largely by Gen Z, which accounted for nearly half of all new videos pinned in Q4.

New Ad Offerings & Creator Monetization

As more creators start to use longer videos, Pinterest may have the opportunity to launch new ad offerings, such as mid-roll ads, which could help the platform increase its ad revenue. This could also lead to the launch of an ad revenue share program with creators, where creators who turn on ads for their videos receive a portion of ad revenue.

As we see with the recently launched YouTube Shorts monetization program, this form of creator monetization can be powerful in getting existing creators to churn out more content and bring new creators to the platform.

What Else Is New

Pinterest has kicked off 2023 with a series of exciting initiatives, including a partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment for the production of 160 exclusive videos for key seasonal and cultural moments. In addition, it launched Find Your Routes, a curated Black travel hub, and a new version of Pinterest Academy.

Plus, 50 Cent revealed he is a Pinterest user – it's a great example of how social media userbases expand beyond what the masses perceive them to be.

More News

Instagram Is Shutting Down Live Shopping

Instagram will sunset live shopping next month. As of March 16th, creators and brands will no longer be able to tag products in their Instagram Lives. However, they still will be able to use other live-streaming features like Live In Profiles and Q&A. Like its announcement to remove the Shop tab, which went into effect this week, Instagram says its decision to sunset live shopping is so that it can focus on features that provide the most value to users.

Instagram's decision to shut down live shopping is not surprising, given its recent focus on streamlining its features and optimizing its value to users. Plus, Facebook live shopping was shut down this past fall. The inability of social media platforms in the U.S. to successfully implement live shopping, despite its popularity in Asian markets, also likely played a role in its decision.

Although Instagram has removed its live shopping feature, other platforms like Amazon, TikTok, and YouTube are actively investing in this shopping experience. Amazon is currently recruiting more creators to host Amazon Lives. TikTok has recently partnered with TalkShopLive to expand its live shopping offerings. YouTube is gradually introducing new shopping features for YouTube Live.

Twitch Rolls Out Viewer Engagement Panel For All Streamers

Twitch has rolled out Viewer Engagement Panel to all streamers after positive feedback during the testing phase. The feature, which is accessible on the Stream Summary Page, offers valuable information to streamers about how their viewers interact with their channel during their streams. Streamers can view the specific moments that generated the most follows and subscriptions, when viewership or messages peaked, and more. Depending on the stream's duration, these moments are broken down into 1- to 20-minute increments.

Viewer Engagement Panel is part of Twitch’s ongoing efforts to provide streamers with more actionable data and insights that can help them to improve engagement and capitalize on opportunities to meet their goals. By analyzing the moments that drove positive or negative actions, such as spikes and dips in engagements, streamers can gain a better understanding of what behaviors help engage their viewers and can incorporate these insights into their future streams.

Discord's Stage Channels Get An Upgrade With Video, Screen Sharing & Text Chat Support

Discord has announced new updates for Stage Channels, a feature similar to Clubhouse that allows a small group of people to converse in front of an audience. The messaging platform is expanding the original audio-only feature to include video, screen sharing, and text chat support.

With the Community feature enabled, servers can now have up to five members use video simultaneously while on a Stage with one screen share. The maximum capacity for Community servers is 50 members, including video participants and audience members, which can be increased using Server Boosting, a paid feature that unlocks perks for communities. The maximum capacity can be increased to 150 or 300 people, depending on the upgrade tier. However, when a Stage Channel reaches its capacity, no more members will be allowed to join.

Video, screen share, and text chat support bring a Twitch-like aspect to Discord. That’s not great news for Twitch as Discord runs into their territory. Although the audience caps will limit the potential impact for larger creators, smaller ones may see Stage Channels as a viable alternative to using Twitch, with the added benefit of it being in a more controllable, closed community. Live podcasts, talk shows, and gaming sessions are all potential use cases for the upgraded version of Stage Channels.

What I’m Reading

  • How Susan Wojcicki quietly guided YouTube to video-sharing dominance (Fast Company)

  • $18K for a song? YouTube creators testing its new music-licensing feature are feeling sticker shock (Business Insider)

  • Navigating the ‘slippery slope’ of personal endorsements in podcast ads (Marketing Brew)