Instagram, the social media giant with over 800 million users, has launched a new feature that will no doubt be causing its rivals to worry about how to hold on to their users. After making a serious dent in the fortunes of Snapchat it now seems they have their sights set on YouTube with their launch of InstagramTV.
Unlike Instagram Stories, their current video offering, IGTV is exclusively for pre-recorded long-form content. Although they may expand to include live videos later. Users can post videos from 15 seconds to 10 minutes in length, whilst popular influencers and verified accounts can post up to an hour of video content. Users can like, comment on and send the videos to each other via direct message and some Twitter users are already pointing out that their videos are getting more views and engagement than those hosted on YouTube, although this could be due to there being far less content on IGTV at the moment.
It exists both as a dedicated section within the Instagram app and also as a stand-alone app. Users are able to search and scroll through videos recommended for them, as well as ones from people they follow and popular videos. Whilst there’s currently no paid advertising option for IGTV brands can add ‘swipe up’ CTAs on their videos, and given the premium of full-screen mobile real estate it’s likely that an ad package or opportunities for sponsored content will be introduced soon. When you open the app the videos just start playing, like TV and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom thinks this ‘lean back’ mode could make IGTV a powerful place for Instagram to put ads.
However, experts including Neil Waller of influencer marketing agency Whaler warned that IGTV requires careful planning by brands, “it should not be a place where users simply post their stories, unless Instagram’s end goal is for IGTV to become a replacement for Stories.” This seems unlikely, given that Stories focuses on short, snappy, in the moment updates that encourages spontaneous creativity as opposed to the careful, thought out approach of pre-recorded and edited IGTV videos. It’s essential that brands think carefully about the kind of content they want to put on IGTV so that it’s an extension of their video marketing not a repetition. The videos are only shown vertically and full screen so that may means brands need to change up or experiment with their filming equipment.
We think this is an exciting development to social media and video marketing and we’re interested to see the innovative ways brands use this new channel.
Are you thinking of experimenting with IGTV, or video content on social media in general? Why not get in touch and pick our brains about how we might be able to help. Our Facebook video series for SunLife is already seeing incredible engagement and we’d love to help more companies use video to boost their brand.