Video content has been constantly evolving over the past decade. People have been watching mobile videos recently more than ever and watching TV with forced-upon channels has become a faint echo of the past. According to HubSpot, 78% of people watch online videos on a weekly basis, and 55% view online videos every day.
Just when we assumed that Instagram’s next update is going to be another couple of new photo filters, what we didn’t see coming and surprised everyone was Instagram introducing IGTV in June. Instagram has been crowned multiple times as a photo sharing platform, but its slight diversification into videos in the form of stories has also been extremely successful.
IGTV is exclusively for videos to be watched on smartphones. Since this is adapted for vertical videos, the viewer doesn’t have to rotate the phone horizontally when they watch a video. Instagram has introduced both the standalone app and an inbuilt version of IGTV within Insta’s flagship app.
Using IGTV and features
When you open the app, you find the tiny TV icon the right top corner. While your subscribed videos are updating, there’s an old TV antenna-style gray noise when you click on it.
As you browse the section, there are wide varieties of videos to choose from. A bunch of Buzzfeed videos, some from celebrities and a ton of cooking videos in the feed. Or are makeup tutorials and fashion to-dos more your thing?
Looking to create content in IGTV? Click on the icon and it gives you an option to “Create Content”. Fill the channel details and you are good to go. The feature takes all the existing details from your Instagram account.
Note that you can create only one channel in the app unlike your other video platform Youtube where you can create multiple channels with different content. Once you are done with the basics, it is an open field for you. Previously, Instagram only allowed extremely short videos, so hour-long videos are going to be a treat for the content marketer. Note that the one-hour videos are currently available only for verified accounts and accounts with a larger audience. The rest of them have a cap of 10 minutes.
What can the users do?
IGTV has a full-screen viewing experience. While this hides some of the controls, all you have to do is swipe right, left, up and down to navigate between videos. Once you tap the video, the user sees options where he/she can like, comment and send the videos to their friends on Instagram DM. Also, you see details of the content and sharing options. The app has a variety of options just like Instagram between “For You”, “Popular”, “Discover” and “Following”. If you are interested in following new creatives or influencers, IGTV is perfect for that. It shows a film strip of videos of the user you want to follow.
Neither Snapchat Discover nor Facebook Watch has been incredibly successful. So, what about IGTV that makes it so threatening for these other platforms? Is it the sole focus on vertical videos? Or was that too big a risk? According to the Pew Research Centre, 72% of the kids aged between 13 and 17 prefer using Instagram over other social media platforms. While each of the major platforms has their own strong points, Instagram seems to have invaded an area it was considered an amateur in.
When it comes to videos, the major name we look up to is YouTube. According to Business Insider, YouTube seems to be taking the threat seriously. The talk is that the platform is looking to convince some of its top artists in being exclusive. Or that, they don’t share any exclusive content on IGTV and simultaneously post on both YouTube and IGTV. For eg, we are already seeing some of the top YouTube stars like Superwoman posting on IGTV and attempting to expand their current fan base. While they would like to remain loyal to the platforms, they would also have to stay relevant for their fans and ensure that the younger population keeps following the content. But we wonder if YouTube will come up with any new initiatives soon. The platform has been invested in its users and finding growth. YouTube has been consistently giving a part of their ad revenues to its contributors and thus providing an enhanced experience over their success.
Meanwhile, Facebook has been struggling over the past couple of years to capture the teen attention even after launching Facebook Watch. Their video competition has always been YouTube and Snapchat. In an effort to dethrone Snapchat, Instagram intensified its focus on video by introducing “Stories”. This created a sharp effect on Snapchat’s user downfall. That was probably one of the biggest nudges Snapchat had in terms of innovating and bringing new features to users.
Transforming Influencer Marketing
- Deepen collaborations and relationships
One of the definite advantages influencers are going to notice is that IGTV ability to deepen their brand collaborations. The influencers were using posts majorly for a decade before stories were introduced. But, even now, you notice how the user has to create multiple interrupted stories to create one video-like post. Influencers will be able to offer much bigger video productions. This feature gives the freedom to the influencer to get creative with the video content due to the longer duration. Based on the current content out there, the influencers are not bound to continue their content for longer than 10 or 15 mins.
The main target for Instagram might be to bring in more influencers from YouTube since currently, the platform is more photo-oriented. Does the introduction of this new feature hold something new for the users? Will the influencers up their game with videos and bring more solid content that increases engagement? Can they evolve over content and prove they aren’t in a comfort zone only with photos? This is certainly a chance to do so.
- Early adopter
It is surprising that IGTV already has millions of viewer in a number of billion Instagram user database. The integration will be a great opportunity for both the influencers and the platform itself. You probably need to be an extreme risk taker and innovator to be an early adopter in a social media platform. But it’s a whole different ball game when you already have a user database of millions and use it to its full potential just by having an advantage that you adapted to the feature first.
Well, it also lets the YouTube hesitant Instagrammer to experiment more with shorter videos. As we recall, there were some extremely hesitant Instagrammers who predicted that stories wouldn’t make it and the move to rival Snapchat wasn’t going to succeed. So, is it wise to be bullish now and go knee-deep with IGTV?
Big brands like Nat Geo, Buzzfeed, Netflix etc have already been jumping on the IGTV train. For eg, Nat Geo edited a video to 45 minutes to fit into IGTV’s one-hour viewing. Also, it has been made into a vertical format. This has already garnered 1.326 million views since the post has been up.
Watch Nat Geo’s IGTV documentary here
- Making the content more accessible
Have you realized that you follow many accounts and only some of the posts appear on the feed? While a particular Instagrammer’s post can be searched for, we don’t. Basically, one loses content just because we only consume the posts that appear on our feed. This is a complete change in the current type of usage of Instagram.
Users can now switch to a particular channel to see the kind of content they want to. Eg: Food, music, fashion etc thus enabling to Instagrammers to know what’s popular and create specific content for the channel. This has been done on YouTube for a while and now would be smart for Instagram users to find their interests too.
- Ad revenues
The harsh truth is that IGTV currently means nothing to advertisers. While ads haven’t been introduced to IGTV yet, Facebook has been known to get into the ad revenue model previously. But there is a high probability that ads are going to be imbibed. It is thrilling to imagine a scenario where there is an Ad Manager for Instagram which allows brands to post 10 – 20-second advertisements amidst the videos. The news is that Instagram is also planning to introduce direct payment and shopping tags feature. This can lead to some unique campaigns by the influencer.
Do you think Instagram will go the same way as YouTube and start an ad revenue sharing model with its successful influencers?
So is IGTV trying to be YouTube? How is it different?
Do note that the concept of the influencer marketing’s foundation works on the fact that teens and young adults prefer amateur content over professional videos. Overall, Instagram has given a chance for influencers to provide more curated organic content with exclusivity. Will it be profitable? Will it be successful? Will it be the next mobile TV? Only time will tell!
How many of you have jumped on the IGTV bandwagon? Do you like the channels option? Is the content created suitable for a platform like this? Would you like to see ads in your favorite blogger’s videos? We’d love to hear your opinion on this. Make sure you leave your comments here or on Greenroom’s Facebook and Twitter.