WHAT IS IGTV & WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR DIGITAL MARKETING?
Last Wednesday, Instagram launched a new platform on its app called IGTV that allows users to upload and watch long-form videos. Previously, you could only share videos up to a minute long, but in the new IGTV space, videos can last anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes for all accounts and up to 60 minutes for larger accounts.
“IGTV is for watching long-from videos from your favorite creators,” said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom onstage during the company’s announcement in San Francisco.
This new feature also comes alongside Instagram’s announcement that they have just reached 1 billion users. By 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic with the new Instagram is betting big on moving towards a video-heavy platform.
HOW IGTV WORKS
IGTV is accessible on the Instagram home screen above Instagram Stories. When you open the app, it notifies you if someone you follow has added a new video. IGTV also has a standalone app so that you can enjoy videos without distractions from the flagship property.
When you open IGTV, video starts playing immediately, simulating a real TV experience. You can watch the current channel or swipe up to search for curated content under “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching” tabs.
Instagram is putting emphasis on making the platform mobile-friendly, so all videos will be vertical and fullscreen. Per Later, there is an option to upload a horizontal video, but it won’t be as aesthetic as the preferred vertical format.
The nature of vertical content will encourage anyone to start creating, since it is the instinctive way people record videos on their phones. There is also a release of pressure to live up to the well-cut, professional look of current videos.
YOUTUBE’S CLOSEST COMPETITOR?
Users can also expect the platform to be a closer competitor to YouTube rather than Netflix, where anyone can be a creator, not just Hollywood celebrities. “We’ve learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals,” Instagram said in their press release last Wednesday.
Although videos can be up to an hour long, you won’t be seeing your favorite TV shows on the platform any time soon. Instagram wants the space to be a place you can follow along with influencers and vloggers instead of the polished elite.
At the launch party, Instagram invited popular influencers to help celebrate the announcement.
CREATE AN IGTV CHANNEL
Since Instagram wants IGTV to be accessible to all people, they’ve streamlined all the processes to get started. To create a channel, go to IGTV in Instagram or the IGTV app. If your brand is not registered as a business on Instagram, click on the gear widget above the curated tabs.
Press “Create Channel” and you’ll see information and instructions on how to get started.
Once you’ve created the channel, you can start uploading content immediately for your followers to enjoy.
If your profile is already registered as a business, you should immediately have a channel and can begin uploading content.
One feature that differentiates IGTV from traditional TV and YouTube is the lack of commercials, for now. As the social media giant hit over 1 billion users in the first quarter, there are creators from all over the world utilizing the new space. Instagram wants to reward their creators, though, by making the channel “sustainable by offering them a way to monetize in the future,” reports TechCrunch.
By holding off on advertising in the beginning, Instagram isn’t making the same mistakes as parent company Facebook did with Facebook Watch: they won’t be paying IGTV creators to jumpstart its use and are building in monetization options for contributors later on, including potential ad share revenues. The large base on Instagram could also attract advertisers, already evidenced by the $5.48 billion revenue the company is expected to accrue this year.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR DIGITAL MARKETERS?
If your company’s advertising tactics are more informal than traditional business, IGTV is a great platform for you to see growth in your fan base (leads!) and potentially your business’s profits.
It’s also a forward move in the world of expanding video platforms and could redefine the way audiences expect to absorb content. IGTV is a way to stand out from the professionally created videos, so experiment with vlogs or loosely edited how-to’s.
The process of optimizing video use across multiple platforms won’t be as easy, though. With the vertical layout, videos will have to be shot in different aspects and ratios. Even though the videos don’t have to be professionally done, it will still be a separate shooting process than videos for other platforms.