The Explosive Growth and Marketing Potential of Instagram Live

Live video has rapidly emerged as one of the hottest new formats on social media. And Instagram Live, first launched in late 2016, has fast become a leading platform within the real-time streaming space.

In this robust analysis of the Instagram Live landscape in 2024, we’ll share the latest data and trends on usage, growth, demographic breakdowns, and marketing potential.

As Lead Data Analyst at Social Media Analytics, I‘ve aggregated data from over a dozen primary sources into this comprehensive look at Instagram Live. Let‘s dive in.

Scope and Scale: How Big is Instagram Live?

First, establishing scope. As of January 2023, Instagram sits at over 2 billion monthly active users:

With TikTok at about 1.6 billion MAUs, only Facebook itself tops Instagram for audience size and engagement among social apps.

And a massive share of that highly engaged Instagram audience uses and interacts with live video:

  • 63 million+ Instagram users stream live video per month globally across topics like gaming, music, sports and more according to Insider Intelligence.

  • An additional 100+ million Instagram visitors are tuning into to watch these Instagram Live broadcasts daily says Oberlo data.

That‘s well over 100 million live video viewers and streams happening in real-time daily just on Instagram alone as this Hootsuite graph illustrates:

And those who do watch are sticking around. 24 minutes was the average Instagram Live video view time as of mid 2022, per Growthoid.

That’s 27% higher YoY – and 10-20x as long as the average video view duration on Instagram’s feed or in Stories.

Clearly Instagram’s audience retains an appetite for live, interactive video even amidst stiff competition from TikTok and YouTube Shorts.

Rapid Growth of Instagram Live Adoption

Instagram was relatively late to launch a live video broadcasting feature compared to rivals:

  • YouTube Live: 2011
  • Facebook Live: 2015
  • Periscope (Twitter): 2015
  • Instagram Live: 2016

But that first-mover advantage hasn’t hampered Instagram’s ability to gain traction.

Looking at early Instagram Live adoption in the US, a 2019 study by GWI showed 13% of Instagram users had viewed a Live that year.

Two years post-launch, and Instagram Live had already reached tens of millions of viewers.

The COVID pandemic spurred even faster creator uptake starting 2020. By 2021 an estimated 415,000 Instagram Live broadcasts were being created specifically for product and service promotion according Insider Intelligence – up nearly 200% year-over-year:

And that‘s just accounts actively using Live for marketing, not general use.
eMarketer estimates a similar 63 million Instagram visitors streamed live monthly in 2022.

To showcase scale for top influencers and celebs, Turkish TV personality Ali İçün İlıcalı set the record with over 3 million concurrent live viewers in 2020. Rapper Tekashi pulled 2 million viewers for his first post-prison Instagram Live that same year.

For brands, the barrier to entry is far lower. 14% of marketers were using Instagram Live for campaigns in 2021 reports Sprout Social.

And buffers like countdown screens and pinned video comments make producing live content intuitive without much practice.

Paired with the interactive nature of live video, it‘s the ideal medium for brands and creators to foster authentic connections with young demos. More on that next.

Demographic Appeal: Who‘s Tuning Into Instagram Live?

Analyzing the composition Instagram Live‘s audience reveals key nuances – especially around age groups using the format.

Among US live stream viewers surveyed in 2021, 43% aged 18-34 said they watch livestreams on Instagram – second only to YouTube claims Insider Intelligence in this demographic bracket:

Drilling down further:

  • A sizable 70% of 16-24 year olds watch social livestreams frequently according to GWI
  • Plus 65% of 25-34 year olds
  • And 41% of even 55-64 year olds – predominantly on Facebook

So the Instagram Live appeal skews towards Gen Z and Millennials. But older generations aren‘t fully absent either as social video continues to gain maturity.

There’s also relative gender parity among live stream viewers contrary to assumptions. While GWI measured a 61% female, 59% male viewership split – statistically insignificant given Instagram‘s existing user base is 53% female itself.

In summary:

  • Young viewers, namely Gen Z and young Millennial cohorts, index extremely high on Instagram Live adoption compared to older groups
  • And it over-indexes for 18-34 year-olds compared to YouTube Live
  • With nearly equal male-female appeal

Those dynamics combined make Instagram Live the prime real-time video medium for attracting adolescent and young adult demographics.

Marketing Potential: Instagram Live Engagement and Conversions

Now that we‘ve explored the viewer makeup and behaviors, how does Live actually deliver from a performance marketing standpoint?

What sort of engagement, conversion potential and ROI can brands achieve using Instagram Live broadcasts vs other formats?

Starting with a key highlight:

A striking 80% of internet users say they‘d rather watch live video content from brands instead of reading blog posts according to Livestream’s 2022 Social Video Trends report.

Live feels more emotive, raw and authentic. Young viewers agree according to Adobe’s 2022 Gen Z Shopping Survey:

  • 63% of under-35 audiences feel more affinity and empathy towards brands after viewing employee live streams
  • Ranking authenticity as the #1 reason they tuned in

And that emotional connection converts. Based on the same Adobe survey data:

  • 21% of Gen Zers discovered new products via influencer live streams last year
  • 29% found brands via company live stream updates

Further evidence of Instagram Live‘s marketing and conversion potential:

  • 37% higher engagement rates for Live videos vs normal Instagram feed posts according to Increditools data
  • Plus 66% of Instagram users already follow at least one brand account

Together this data makes a resounding case for Instagram Live’s ability to captivate audiences while humanizing brands – culminating in higher conversions.

For direct-to-consumer ecommerce companies targeting younger groups, or really any brand prioritizing authentic connections, Instagram Live delivers measurable results across key matrices:

  • Brand awareness and maintaining share of voice with core demographics
  • Audience engagement in a saturated social environment
  • Community building & customer loyalty drivers
  • New customer conversion from discoverability and relatability

Best Practices: How Brands Can Optimize Instagram Live

Given the formidable user adoption metrics and marketing potential covered, how can brands put these insights into practice?

Here are 7 recommended best practices for capitalizing on Instagram Live:

Check those tips off along with the data unpacked above for an optimal, analytics-backed approach to finding traction on Instagram Live as part of a holistic social strategy.

Key Takeaways and Predictions

Mapping Instagram Live’s explosive adoption and analyzing use cases makes a few things abundantly clear:

It’s a highly engaging, interactive video format. Average view times over 24 minutes trounce social media benchmarks.

It resonates strongly with young, digital native generations. 43% of 18-34 year old livestream viewers are tuning into Instagram Live feeds.

It drives measurable branding and conversions. 63% of under-35s feel more empathy towards brands using employee Live streams.

And with live video ad spend set to eclipse $184 billion/year by 2027, Instagram Live remains poised for faster growth still.

As consumer behavior shifts continue accelerating towards real-time digital experiences – where authenticity and transparency are prized – expect Instagram Live adoption and innovation to pace ahead right alongside.

This has been Lead Data Analyst Sam Weyland with Social Media Analytics – thanks for reading! Questions or comments are welcomed.

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