Instagram recently rolled out IGTV to its app. Dubbed as “the next generation of video,” IGTV could be considered a direct competitor to YouTube. Until IGTV, brands were limited videos to short pieces of micro content
Now, with IGTV, brands can go long on video content and keep viewers engaged on Instagram. Is IGTV just another video content platform or is Instagram aiming for something bigger?
We’re going to answer these questions and cover best practices any brand can use for winning at IGTV. Now, with IGTV, videos can last up to 10 minutes. For brands with large audiences and verified accounts, Instagram bumps it up to 60 minutes (must be recorded via computer). Whether or not Instagram will open this longer feature to all users is still under debate.
How can marketers capitalize on IGTV and leverage the plethora of opportunities? Let’s take a deep dive into IGTV! It seems that IGTV is positioning itself to be a direct competitor to YouTube.
Maybe, it’s more than that (more on that later). At the same time, Instagram is flexing its social media muscles and further proving its relevance in the face of its direct competitor, Snapchat.
Why did Instagram decide to go long with IGTV?
Why would Instagram go bold with IGTV? One word, millennials.
Facebook is old school with teens – Gen Z – and Y, they don’t want to be associated with the grandpa of social media (don’t tell them that Instagram is owned by Facebook). The proof is that a recent Pew Study shows that Facebook is spiralling into irrelevance with this demographic.
For the mobile gen, visual content want a simple, seamless visual platform that offers long form video content. While YouTube is as old as social media, it’s strong in this market, as is Snapchat. Gen Z, a critical market for the future of social media, is speaking with their fingers – 80% of this critical market consumes YouTube for long form content.
It’s come time for Instagram to up its user generated content game. In the interest of staying relevant, placating the millennials and responding to generational trends is the only way to go.
Long form content, strong platform, and mobile all sound perfect for Gen Z. But, there’s a catch, all videos on IGTV are vertical.
For the skeptical marketers, we all watch short videos vertically, it’s when we want to binge on Netflix or um, YouTube, that we flip the screen and go horizontal. Remember, today’s inclination is to be mobile and as Instagram’s business website claims, IGTV “is built for how you actually use your phone: vertical and full screen.”
Any brands going vertical? How about the #1 brand on Instagram, National Geographic, who posted 48 minute IGTV video with the season’s finale of the documentary called One Strange Rock. The show is hosted by Will Smith and is produced by Darren Afonovsky. The move earned over a million views, and over a thousand comments.
The best part of IGTV? There’s no feature ads, at least not yet. So for now, viewers of branded content get your full attention without the annoying mid-roll ads.
At first glance, IGTV could be seen as competitor to Snapchat, YouTube and perhaps Netflix. Actually, it’s not the first time that Instagram has taken on a social media platform.
Ever since its massive acquisition by Facebook, Instagram has been strategically integrating new features to outperform its competition. In 2013, Instagram challenged Vine. We all know how that ended.
In 2016, Instagram proved its strength by boosting its video offerings to 60 seconds, thereby beating Snapchat at its own game. Perhaps IGTV isn’t only competing with social media platforms, maybe it’s looking to challenge the future of TV. Why else would it be called IGTV? What about the hat tip to the classic black and white fuzzy logic when you swipe through the videos?
Yeah, now that’s smart marketing. Just something to think about.
So how does long form video content fit into an overall brand strategy on Instagram? There are actually plenty of reasons to dive into IGTV and make it work for your brand or agency. Like new social media platforms, IGTV works best with a clear strategy and goals.
The bottom line is that IGTV is intriguing to social media marketers, especially those who realize that video content is trending. As brands start integrating IGTV, the competition will rise. Gaining more views is good, but keeping your audiences interested is key. As always, quality content that’s valuable will yield the best results.
While IGTV is still in its infancy, I’m already looking ahead to the potential of the platform for digital marketers. Here are my predictions for IGTV:
Mordecai is the Chief Strategist of Blue Thread Marketing, a boutique digital agency, based in Israel. Mordecai is an avid blogger and an active contributor to the digital marketing space, including contributions to Fast Company and mentions in Buzzfeed, CMO.com, Forbes & Inc. His articles have been featured on industry-leading sites including Social Media Today, Business2Community, Social Media World, Post Planner, and coschedule. Mordecai recently launched Empathize It, a podcast focused on entrepreneurship, empathy and the digital economy.
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