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Will Instagram Win the Video Game with IGTV?

11 Jul 2018 Marlea Clark

in Industry News, Digital, Social Media


Instagram is the go-to social platform for consumers to see how a product looks or works without leaving their house to sample it themselves. Users follow brand pages and watch the how-to tutorials and trials by their favorite influencers. They can view Stories, swipe up for more information and purchase products without leaving the app. With over one billion users and a massive number of influencers, Instagram sounds like a brand’s dream for product integration, right?

While there are plenty of advertising opportunities and consumer experiences available, a major gripe for both consumers and brands is the lack of long-form video available on Instagram. For example, if an influencer with a high following of foodies wants to try out a recipe, he or she either has to limit the video to one minute, decreasing the organic nature of the product integration, or redirect all of those followers to YouTube—both options that decrease engagement, awareness, consideration, and purchase.

Enter IGTV, which Instagram announced as a game changer. Here are the basics:

Video Specs & Time Limit

Instagram is mobile, and mobile phones are vertical. The videos on IGTV are full screen and vertical, making it easier to watch on your phone. Video length limits have increased from one minute to one hour.
  • It's Built for Creators 
  • Topic Channels are the people you follow on Instagram. Anyone can be a creator; simply upload your content through the app. If you follow a creator on Instagram, their Topic Channel will automatically show up in the app. Instagram is also said to be introducing new ways to monetize video content.
  • It Functions Like a TV
  • Just as you'd watch your favorite shows on TV, IGTV lets you watch your favorite content from the people you follow; simply turn IGTV on within the app and watch your favorite content from creators you follow. 
  • It's Much Easier to Find Content
  • You can easily swipe up to discover more and switch between "Continue Watching," "Following," "Popular," and "For You"--the last one being the most important if brands are able to target users through their personally curated channel. If you want to watch a long video, you don't have to switch over to YouTube; you can watch IGTV right within the Instagram app (and also on a separate IGTV app).
  • There Are No Ads Yet, But...
  • An hour-long video offers plenty of time for organic product integration, so expect to see brands on IGTV sometime in the near future. Instagram is working to find a way to monetize content from creators’ videos, which hints at the reason why a lot of brands shifted their marketing dollars from Facebook to Instagram as the latter platform struggled with their paid content strategy. Facebook has rolled out the Watch page, but whether the social giant is able to successfully partner the right creators with brands for sponsored content remains unknown.
  • With its fresh, on-trend user experience and monetary opportunity, IGTV could definitely lead to influencers strictly working with Instagram over Facebook and YouTube.
  • Jenna Manula, Senior Director of Social Media at Women’s Marketing, provided her POV on whether or not IGTV can change the social game: 

“The sharp decrease in organic reach on Instagram has resulted in only 15% visibility of organic brand content in followers’ feeds. As Instagram transitions to a full pay-to-play model, organic reach will continue to be reduced and brands will be forced to pay up or adopt new platforms. With the introduction of IGTV, brands have been given a new outlet to engage authentically with their followers, without having to rely on the voice of an influencer. For instance, 86% of all beauty videos on YouTube are made by creators and not brands.

However, the content created on IGTV needs to be different than what is being displayed in Stories. It needs to be highly polished, less amateur, and, of course, shot vertically. We know users are seeking authenticity, so instead of teasing long-form content on Instagram and sending users to “watch more” on YouTube, create an IGTV channel that houses behind-the-scenes footage, showcases beauty tutorials featuring trendy influencers or hosts a weekly cooking show.  

History has a way of repeating itself and what we have learned from the past is that when Instagram directly challenges Snapchat or another social platform, it often wins. With the introduction of IGTV, the early bird (or in this case, the brand) will get the worm.”

Profitable social video is a hard field to break into, and Instagram seems to have their strategy down. We’ll just have to wait and see how it rolls out over the next few weeks.

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