Instagram Livestreams Have Surged Thanks to COVID-19, But What About Post COVID-19?


Over the past weeks, several top Nigerian music producers took to Instagram Live to hold battles of supremacy over who produced the biggest hits. During that same period, Nigerian comedian FatherDMW and British Model, Eva Apio started having live sessions of their own. With the reactions of the latter and the funny antics of Father, both have endeared themselves in the hearts of their several thousand viewers.

All these and more have been happening on Instagram Live, with several thousands of viewers turning in to watch the conversations and shows of their favourites.

Instagram Takes Aim at Snapchat With Live Video and Vanishing ...IG Live Usage Has Surged Thanks to COVID-19, But What About Post COVID-19?

Everyone seems to have turned to the previously overlooked Instagram Live, a feature that plays Instagram live streams that audiences can access via Instagram Stories.

According to Facebook, the platform’s parent company, usage on the Live feature have seen a 70% surge during this period, and in areas where lockdown is effected, it has doubled. 

Interestingly, not only celebrities/brands are taking advantage of Instagram’s live streaming feature, everyone is going live. If you follow enough people on Instagram, it’s very hard these days to open the app without coming across those bubbles at the top of the screen. From speaking about mundane things and holding live shows to holding meetups and even fitness shows – everyone is going online to say or do something.

Bored and In Search of Entertainment

Launched in 2016, IG Live is only beginning to achieve the greatness its owners envisaged. With the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown protocols in several parts of the world, many people have complained of being bored. Many brands and celebrities are also not able to keep up with fans and customers through shows and meetups.

Events are cancelled, everyone is advised/enforced to stay indoors, sitting on the couch all day with enough time to try so many things. So now what? Instagram Live.

Kingsley Okelarin, a software engineer, says although he’s a social media enthusiast, he hasn’t always had a thing for IG Live till this period when he has enough time in his hands.

“I started watching IG Live during the lockdown. I found them entertaining as they were related to music and its productions,” Kingsley said.

Interestingly, he’s not the only one that is doing that. Yinka another active social media user admitted that he’s not really been a fan of Instagram and only began paying attention to the feature during the lockdown.

“I started viewing the IG Live videos actively during the lockdown,” Yinka said.

For some other users, they got interested in it after seeing the short funny clips from the shows on other platforms like Twitter.

“I first watched a record of the IG Live on Twitter,” Yusuf, an Abuja based Lawyer said. “The one I saw was short but I was interested in the content, and since I had all the time in the world, I updated my IG app and followed the account that held the show. I personally like the erotic and music shows.”

Post-COVID 19 and IG Live

While no one has been able to place a timeline on when the world will finally be free from Covid-19 pandemic, many countries appear to be having more progress than others. Countries like China and Ghana have even lifted the lockdown on their citizens.

So what happens to IG Live, when everyone finally returns to their normal lives?

For some viewers like Timi, a student who has always been active on IG, they are sold and will stick to these shows even after the lockdown.

“After all that I’ve enjoyed (in reference to the erotic shows), I’ll be looking out for them although I doubt it will be this frequent,” says Timi.

For some viewers like Kingsley, they are very much open to continuing post-COVID-19, albeit passively.

“Yes, if they continue after lockdown I could watch once a while,” says Kingsley.

To some other IG Live viewers like Yinka, they would likely have more important things to do post-COVID-19. As such internet data won’t be as ample as it is now. Yusuf, for example, says he will surely not remember to open IG once the lockdown is over, as he will be caught up with so many pending duties.

“I won’t o. I will be too busy to even open social media, plus I’m more of a Facebook and Twitter person, so IG will not be a top priority. Maybe until I see something that catches my attention, which I doubt.”

On the part of the celebrities, the continuation of these shows might be tough. Since it doesn’t fetch revenues yet, except ads are implemented, it might become a once in a while thing.

While usage of this feature might not be as high as it is now after COVID-19, it definitely will be far higher than it was before COVID-19.

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