What do Instagram’s new events channels mean for brands?

Two weeks after the controversial introduction of Instagram Stories and the Facebook-owned company have upped the ante once again! Yesterday Instagram announced that they were rolling out a new type of video channel within the app… a live events feature.

While this may not be another copy of Snapchat, it definitely is another red flag for Evan Spiegel and his team, as live events was once an arena solely occupied by them.

Once again Instagram have taken Snapchats idea and made it better by curating an algorithm for this feature which means the live events are solely tailored to you and your user habits.

So what are Instagram Live Events?

The new event themed video section (currently only available in the US) will be customised for every user depending on the accounts they follow, as well as their preferences.

This channel collects the best videos from concerts, sporting events and more so you can feel like you’re in the front row.

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The live videos will appear in Instagram’s Explore tab and will collect videos people publicly post from live events.

How will this feature benefit rights holders and brands in sport?

With the influence of online video content at an all time high and 1/3 of all online activity is being spent watching video this could this transform how brands curate their video content.

Instagram live events videos opens up a whole new range of possibilities for brands, rights holders and also for the fans. Take AFC Bournemouth, who currently sit bottom of our Premier League Social Video Index which calculates all the available social engagement metrics a brand profile has received. The index applies a video post frequency rating and benchmarks it against the top performing profiles in their database, thus creating a single score metric between 1 and 100.

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AFC Bournemouth, with an overall score of 35 out of 100 are just one of many rights holders that are yet to fully integrate social video into their engagement strategy, which can be widely seen across their Twitter, Instagram and Vine channels. This is a very common scenario, particularly with major rights holders who tend to use social channels purely to drive traffic back to their website, where they have a higher chance of being able to commercialise the fan. The challenge however with this approach lies in two areas; 1) the constant changing algorithms of each social platform (we wrote here recently about Facebook’s latest News Feed update that is crippling small businesses) and 2) the audience consumption habits, where users are less likely to click an article knowing that video is so accessible and a better use of their ‘entertainment time.’

Although Sky and BT have the rights to Premier League match video, major rights holders and their commercial partners must look to features like Instagram live events and the full toolset of social video as a way to improve the diversification of their output and the value offering to their fanbase.