What is it?
Content creators rejoice, after announcing that Instagram has reached 1 billion active monthly users, the platform shared that they will now be supporting long form (up to one hour) content through IGTV. As it currently stands YouTube is the best place to share video content; they have all of the users, the content, the tools, stats, and – perhaps most importantly to creators – monetization.
While many have tried to rival the video sharing giant (think Periscope, Vimeo, Facebook Watch and Vine #RIP), they’ve all fallen short. With a mobile-first approach, a large community, insights, live streaming capabilities, and an algorithm to support discovery, IGTV has the potential to truly rival youtube in the future.
How it works:
IGTV is a standalone app that supports vertical full screen videos that are up to an hour long. The video hub can be accessed through the Instagram app by clicking a button next to the direct message icon. There will also be a section to highlight content from IGTV in the main Instagram app.
Anyone can be a content contributor on IGTV. All instagram users will have their own channels on IGTV, which their existing Instagram followers will automatically follow. The same engagement and sharing features that are available in Instagram will be in IGTV.
When you launch the app full screen vertical video will autoplay to provide a familiar traditional TV experience. In addition to using the search feature users will be able to find personalized curated content sorted by “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.”
What does this mean for brands?
There is so much potential here for brands looking to incorporate long form video into to their social strategy. With a pre-established following from Instagram, brands will be able to extend their reach without requiring users to follow on a separate platform.
It’s important for brands to remember that the way people use Instagram tends to differ from the way they consume video on, say, YouTube. Often users visit YouTube with a destination in mind – “how to make sweet potato pie” or “world cup highlights.” People get on Instagram just to see what their friends are up to or be inspired by their favorite brands.
IGTV provides brands with the perfect outlet for tutorials, product overviews, and a space to further connect with fans. Brands should think of their IGTV channels as space for followers who seek a more involved and dynamic experience than what the typical Instagram post offers.
Finally, one important thing to note is that while IGTV is currently ad-free, ad units are surely around the corner.