Instagram’s IGTV and what this means for video

In case you haven’t heard, Instagram is rolling out a new long-form video platform with standalone app, called IGTV. The move is designed to attract more people to the Instagram platform itself, and to pull users away from YouTube. Video time limits will also increase from one minute to ten minutes, on average. Some accounts with large audiences will be able to film videos of up to an hour. Eventually, IGTV will offer brands more opportunities for advertising (and parent company Facebook more ad revenue, of course). So what does this suggest about the current state of video marketing and future trends?

Instagram moving towards video

First, it signals that Instagram is moving away from static images to more video and dynamic content like GIFs. It also shows that Facebook wants to take on YouTube for a slice of its 1.8 billion audience. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom hopes that IGTV will become “a hub of creativity” for people with teen and young adult followings.

Trying to attract younger audiences

This is an area where parent company Facebook has been struggling of late. 51% of teenagers use Facebook, compared to 71% a couple of years ago. 85% of teens use Youtube, in comparison. It’s an issue that the company isn’t taking lightly, with the company now looking to Instagram and IGTV to appeal to younger audiences.

IGTV is creator-centric

The IGTV app can be viewed automatically in Instagram. When someone follows an Instagram ‘creator’ (in other words, an influencer) they will be able to see that creator’s IGTV channel. The platform is creator-centric, emphasising that the creator is the channel. Although, it explains that anyone can be a creator – you just need to start uploading to IGTV.

That taps into a key motivation of many young people. Becoming an influencer can be a lucrative career route – the likes of Zoella and Deliciously Ella are raking in millions in advertising and endorsement deals. Walk around any tourist hotspot or city centre and you’ll see aspiring influencers out and about with their friends, posing for pics and filming videos.

Incidentally, if your business hasn’t yet considered influencer marketing, then it might be worth taking a look at. Plus, your customers can be your most effective influencers.

Vertical video

IGTV videos are designed to be viewed on mobile. They are in a vertical format and highlight the increasing prevalence of vertical video. This is in contrast to YouTube, which offers horizontal video that won’t display full screen unless a phone is tilted.

Brands which haven’t yet experimented with vertical video are seriously missing out. Facebook has reported that vertical videos generate higher watch times and more engagements compared with horizontal formats. Over half of UK consumers admit to browsing the Internet on their phones several times a day. Filming a vertical video means that viewers don’t have to fiddle about with rotating their phone to see it. This makes it more likely for people to view the video. Conversely, the rise of mobile-first browsing means that your entire online presence needs to be mobile optimised, including your website.

Given that Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter have all moved towards vertical video, this is one trend that isn’t going to fade anytime soon.

A new breed of creator

Longer formats give Instagram (and creators) more opportunity for advertising. Video ads aren’t currently available on IGTV, but when they are, any revenue earnt will be shared with creators. This is similar to how YouTube currently operates. Giving creators the opportunity to earn money through the platform will encourage them to post more content to IGTV. It’ll also likely create a new generation of Zoellas and PewDieDies – an IGTV-centric one.

Brands experimenting now

Early adopters have already jumped on the platform, with some brands, like Chipotle, experimenting with brand new content for IGTV. Others, such as Gucci, have repurposed existing content for their IGTV channels.

For smaller businesses, repurposing existing content might be an easier route than creating brand new videos for IGTV. Especially if you’re still proving its worth to senior management. Of course, any repurposed content should be in a vertical video format. However, to get the most bang for your buck (right now) you can post the same videos to your Instagram Stories and Facebook pages. Longer term, however, if engagement is successful for your business on IGTV it’s worth creating original content for the platform.

A brand new opportunity

Marketers and business leaders shouldn’t sit back and wait for IGTV to reach full maturity. The platform is new and still largely untested by many brands, but it’s worth experimenting with – even if you just repurpose existing vertical video.

Because it has just been launched, the feed isn’t littered with lots of marketing. Many brands are still playing catch-up. Therefore, there’s a huge opportunity to cut through the usual noise and reach a lot more eyeballs. Establishing a presence on IGTV now could really pay off in the long-term. If you start early, your business could become well known on IGTV as a source of great content. When the platform grows exponentially later-on, so too will your business.