Instagram Live has changed the way it manages live streaming video, and we think it makes streaming a much better deal on the platform for brands.

Live streaming saw a huge resurgence in 2020. This was mostly down to the fact that the world experienced a huge epidemic in the Spring, and brands and other users wanted better options around communication. Instagram Live has always been popular, but a few of the limitations in the platform made it a little awkward to use.

However, Instagram Live seems to have learned from what happened earlier this year, and it has brought out a couple of changes that should enable it to be seen as a market leader for high quality live streaming.

The first change: length

Instagram Live has decided to extend it’s time limit for live streaming. Rather than the 60 minutes users are familiar with, the new limit is extended up to four hours. This means that users can stream uninterrupted for 4 times as long as they used to be able to.

Instagram Live users found ways around this restriction before. For example, someone who may have been streaming an entertainment event would simply have restarted streaming once the 60 minutes was up. However, this gives uninterrupted streaming, and therefore a much smoother experience both for the streamer and the audience.

For brands wishing to use Instagram Live, this of course can open up the possibility of more ambitious streaming, and the ability to gain and keep the attention of audiences for longer. A well-planned and rehearsed stream can now go over the 60 minute mark, maintain attention, and also allow for more promotion and brand-building activity.

Instagram explained the logic behind the length extension:

“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.”

Obviously,Instagram is thinking about the non-commercial user here (at least in the sense that it’s focused on artists and musicians), but the implications for brands are clear. As long as they can put together a well-planned live stream it can add value to marketing efforts.


A perhaps even more interesting outcome has been Instagram’s decision to allow users to store live broadcasts in an archive. Where before they were able to download streams, the archive allows for recording of full streams with comments and likes. In this sense, it is like a short term version of blogging for streams, and means it can provide value to brands who want to develop a presence in streaming. As regards brand loyalty, high quality, popular streams can be retained.

The only downside here is that the archive only allows for storage of up to 30 days. But still it makes sense to retain streams that were successful, and therefore useful for further promotion during a campaign.

One another change is a ‘boost’ to the ‘Live Now’ feature at the end of live streams. This presents users with suggestions of other streams that they might like to watch. If brands keep their quality up, they could find their streams being included in ‘Live Now’. And of course, that means more promotion.

For brands

It’s important to remember that this set of changes will only benefit brands that are truly on top of IGTV live streaming. If a brand has a true handle on how to get the most out of streaming, it will be able to make the most of having longer streaming and the chance to archive.

So if you have a brand that hasn’t yet focused on IG TV streaming, maybe it’s time to get involved and make sure that you are delivering value here. These changes would make the whole experience even more valuable for the brand and it’s audiences.