Known more for photos and minute-long videos, Instagram now will allow users to create videos up to an hour in length, the Facebook-owned company announced earlier this week in San Francisco.

IGTV, which was launched on Friday as a way for Instagram to compete with YouTube, could prove to be a boon for agents who already incorporate video tours into their marketing platform. For many millennials, Instagram is often the social media platform of choice.

“Real estate agents should already be using IG as one of the fundamental core weapon of promotion at their fingertips,” Peter Lorimer of PLG Estates told Inman.

The IGTV app, which will work as a button inside Instagram and as a standalone app, will be displayed full-screen and vertically and won’t be limited by Instagram’s current one-minute length. The app, which is meant to model a traditional TV, will start streaming videos uploaded by one’s followers as soon as it is opened by the user.

The new feature, which will allow creators to put up everything from long videos of themselves talking to house tours, could be a threat to YouTube, currently the most popular internet source for longer videos. IGTV could also provide new inroads for agents to reach clients since the app expected to reach 1 billion monthly users by the end of the year.

“We are seeing a lot of engagement on Instagram and decreased numbers over on YouTube, so this evolution of IG makes sense to us,” Anne Jones, a Realtor and owner of Windermere Abode real estate firm, told Inman. “We produce a lot of video content, so any channel expansion that helps us further distribute that content is a positive move.”

Right now, some real estate firms already put up short videos of luxury properties on Instagram.

YouTube, which is currently the second largest internet search engine after Google, is a popular way to look for homes — Inman regularly uses it to post video of influencers as well. The video streaming platform surpasses brokerage sites and Google Video when it comes to home tour searches and has millions of neighborhood and home tour uploads.

What’s more, many people are now relying on video to start the homebuying process before even considering a physical visit. According to joint research by Google and the National Association of Realtors, 86 percent of homeshoppers use video to get a sense of a new neighborhood while 70 percent use it to tour the inside of a home.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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