There was a time when TV advertising represented the best, most efficient way to get your advertising message out into the world—but that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Over the past decade or so, TV viewership has slowly declined, while daily Internet use—including consumption of streaming content—has risen. Many advertisers are aware of this, and have begun redistributing their ad dollars accordingly.
And as online media has become more popular, the available channels have become more numerous and more robust. Case in point: Instagram recently launched its own stand-alone online video platform, simply called IGTV. In their blog post announcing the new channel, Instagram heralded IGTV as a place to watch “long-form, vertical video” from content creators of all types. It’s noteworthy that IGTV videos can be viewed both within the stand-alone app as well as within the regular Instagram app—the latter of which boasts a global community of over a billion users.
So how does IGTV differ from regular Instagram videos—or for that matter, from other online video platforms? “IGTV is different in a few ways,” says the company blog post. “First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.”
Additionally, IGTV has “channels”—that is, you can follow any content creator and stream all of their videos in one easy place. (This is very similar to YouTube, where each creator automatically has his or her own “channel.”) Crucially, anyone can sign on to be an IGTV creator—including your business!
Understand that, as of right now, IGTV remains very much geared toward content distribution—not necessarily toward monetization. Though no ad channels currently exist, it’s widely assumed that they’re on the way.
Using IGTV for Your Business
Even without the ability to run ads, IGTV offers real benefits to brands. If you’ve used Instagram Stories to connect with your customers and clients, IGTV is a good upgrade—an opportunity to produce longer videos, or even to repurpose long-form content from Facebook or YouTube on the Instagram platform.
Now, it’s important to note a few technical specifications. Currently, the full 60-minute videos are only available to accounts that are verified; for everyone else, the limit is 10 minutes. (Eventually, Instagram says they’ll do away with the time limit completely.) You’ll need to make sure your video is no more than 3.6GB, and that it’s in the .MP4 format. And don’t forget: Your videos must be vertical!
Creating a channel is easy—and in fact, it’s basically automatic: As soon as you post your first IGTV video content, your brand’s unique channel will instantly be created.
Something else to keep in mind is that, as with Instagram Stories, you can add a swipe-up call to action in your IGTV content, allowing you to link to a targeted landing page. That has a lot of potential, especially if you create some informal videos to show off particular products; you can run a product demo, how-to, or tutorial, and make it easy for viewers to go learn more about the item in question.
But even if you don’t want to use IGTV to directly promote products, there are plenty of ways in which you can use the format to build your brand. The Instagram team has really played up IGTV’s down-to-earth realism—how its vertical video format represents “the way people really use their phone”—and you can use it to record some casual video content that humanizes your brand. The options are numerous; consider:
- A behind-the-scenes tour of your office
- Interviews with employees
- Informal “tips and tricks” videos, offering insight into your industry
- Reactions to industry news or happenings
- How-tos, tutorials, or troubleshooting guides, as we mentioned above
You don’t have to have super-polished videos to make IGTV work; in fact, the format itself encourages you to simply shoot from your iPhone, recording content that favors approachability to slick professionalism. That level of authenticity will no doubt resonate with the platform’s users—who, we’ll note again, number more than a billion!
Is IGTV Right for You?
IGTV is a bold new venture for Instagram, and in the coming years we expect to see it expand the opportunities available to online marketers and advertisers. For now, we see it as a potentially valuable way to directly connect with your customers, earning their trust and goodwill.
But as with any other online platform, it’s important to use IGTV within the context of your broader digital marketing strategy. We’d love to help you brainstorm about that. Reach out to the enCOMPASS team today and let’s discuss how Instagram fits into your marketing paradigm.
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