It is hard to deny that Instagram is on a roll. They just hit 1 billion monthly users. The announcement of IGTV shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Facebook said a few years ago that all their properties were making the move to be video first it looks like IGTV is the next step in that plan.
IGTV is a great opportunity for your brand
New video offerings from top social media sites are always a good opportunity for brands to stand out and build an audience. Since Instagram has the backing of Facebook, it has a better chance of becoming a big thing. Even with Facebook’s deep pockets, IGTV needs to attract an audience in order to become financially sustainable for creators.
As a brand, you need eyeballs. A platform like IGTV needs both creators and brands to survive. Creators to make content and brands to buy ads. As with any new platform, there is some risk that it might not be successful, but it is a safer bet than most.
The ability to upload videos that are 10 minutes long is a big step from the 15 second limit of clips on Instagram stories. Another exciting element to this is that they are going to allow video creators to monetize their videos sometime in 2019.
Will IGTV replace Youtube?
Every so often, a social media platform comes along and tries to take YouTube out of the top online video spot. A lot of people are asking if Instagram TV is going to be a YouTube killer. I don’t think so. It isn’t a YouTube killer. Not yet anyway.
Everyone thought Facebook video was going to hurt YouTube and it hasn’t. What it does do is dilute YouTube a little. Keep in mind that YouTube still has almost double the amount of monthly active users than Instagram does. I think both platforms will be important for brands, so make sure that you take full advantage of both.
Think of this as a great opportunity for growing your YouTube channel. You can attract a new audience on Instagram and push them to your YouTube channel. Side note: If your audience is teens, it would be good to remember that teens still prefer YouTube to Instagram.
IGTV has a good opportunity to be a contender but it will take a while for it to reach that status. For them really to have an option to take the lead, they will need to figure out how to make searching user-friendly.
IGTV and the search function
Instagram and Facebook are terrible when it comes to search. I have played with the IGTV app and the search function is the best I have seen from Instagram so far but it still isn’t great. Proper titles and hashtags will be very important for every video you upload.
One difference is IGTV doesn’t have the same type of search as YouTube does. There is still suggested video. Because the platform is new, people are not going to go there first searching for things. Hashtags on IGTV are like tags on YouTube.
During the launch event, Instagram kept talking about how it would be easier to find videos that you love. They didn’t come out and say it, but the reality is that they are going to decide for you what you want to watch; similar to YouTube’s suggested videos. This ‘we know best’ attitude leads me to believe they won’t bother to make a good searching experience, but time will tell.
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IGTV vs. Youtube
IGTV has a lot of similarities to YouTube. You can edit and upload a video, add a title, description, thumbnail, and comments. Your videos can be 10 minutes long. Some people are getting up to 60 minutes. They may open this up to everyone in the future.
YouTube’s video length limit with verification is 11 hours. A welcomed addition to IGTV is that it has some analytics called Insights. The most important of these is viewer retention. Previously, this didn’t exist on Instagram. You can access them by taping on the 3-dot button on any video on your channel and then select the Insights option.
Get the most out of IGTV
So, what do you need to do to make sure that your video gets the most out of this platform? Think mobile first when creating videos for Instagram.
Your videos will need to be vertical, also called portrait mode. I am anti vertical video but I think it makes sense for a ‘mobile only’ platform. During the announcement of IGTV, Instagram said that TV was outdated because it was horizontal. Apparently, they failed biology because, the last time I checked the mirror, my eyes were side by side.
I know it is more comfortable to hold your phone in portrait mode, but the reason TV and every other device is horizontal, or landscape, is because your eyes are side by side, not one on top of the other. Staying vertical will be a disadvantage if IGTV ever wants to have an actual TV app.
In my mind, it also makes the content a little less serious. It also ignores one of the key pillars of a story, it’ is harder to show what is around the subject of the video because of the lack of space in a vertical video.
Because IGTV is portrait mode only, you won’t be able to upload your old YouTube videos without making them portrait first. Think about your audience before repurposing old content. The audience on IGTV may want something different than your followers want on other platforms.
Upload only from mobile
You have to upload your video from your mobile device. It doesn’t matter where you edit it. You can’t upload a video on a desktop computer using Instagram’s website. This is good because editing and uploading video on a mobile device isn’t the best experience. So, brands will want to edit their videos on a desktop and then upload.
Because this is a mobile-first platform, brands can record video without expensive cameras. However, before you get too excited, keep in mind that this still doesn’t mean you can create junk content. The internet is full of video and most of it isn’t worth watching.
If you’re going to test the IGTV waters, I recommend going all in
What this means is that your video doesn’t have to look as professional to start. What we have found with each of these online video platforms is, as they gain popularity and mature, the content needs to start looking more professional. It is better to future proof your video and makes it look good so that, as the platform matures, your old video will still seem relevant, maximizing your investment. You don’t want to become like one of those brands who thought recording a company video on a flip cam was a good idea in 2008.
I have been playing with the app and it allows you to explore and search while the video is playing; which is going to mean that your content is going to need to keep people engaged because it is going to be easier than ever for people to get distracted and move away from your video.
I am not sure yet, but my guess, at least at first, is that shorter content will do better because of all the distractions to the viewers. If this is your first time, making a video that is shorter is definitely the way to go while you learn how to keep people engaged.
As with any social media platform, it is important to be social. Make sure you respond to user comments. You will see these notifications mixed in with all your other Instagram notifications.
Unfortunately, most brands are going to do what they always do with a new social media opportunity. They are going to take a ‘wait and see’ attitude. They will wait until they are losing so much business to competitors that they are then forced to get involved but, by then, it will harder to build an audience and end up costing those brands more.
So, what should you do to avoid being that ‘wait and see’ brand?
- Make sure you update your Instagram app. Go ahead. Do it now. I’ll wait…
- Shoot your video in portrait or make it look like you did when you recorded it.
- Make sure your content is valuable. No one wants to watch a pointless, thoughtlessly done video about nothing. I don’t know about you, but most Instagram stories are a waste of time; which makes me not want to watch them anymore. This reinforces the point that telling a story is hard and many people have no idea how to tell a story. Learn to tell a good story with your videos.
- Don’t be afraid to collaborate. Collaboration is going to be important. It helps to work with others who have an audience in common with you but who don’t necessarily compete with you. This is also a great way to grow your YouTube channel.
Is your brand going to use IGTV? How will you keep people engaged?