Instagram is a social media platform well known for its photo and video content, as well as its “Stories” feature, where you’re able to upload pictures or videos (of max 10 seconds) detailing the events of your day, a product you love, or a night out with friends. The content disappears after 24 hours.
With over one billion users worldwide – 22% of which log in at least once a day – it’s obvious why marketers think it’s a great place to increase awareness of their brands.
Known for their trendy and innovative means of creating content, Instagram has now introduced a new complementary app called Instagram TV, or IGTV for short. It allows users to upload videos lasting 15 seconds to 10 minutes long, in a 9:16 aspect ratio.
The question is, is IGTV worth investing or including in your marketing efforts? And if you do include it in your marketing efforts, how can you do so effectively?
The ABC of Instagram TV
Before diving into the pros and cons of IGTV, we’ll first explain the intricacies of how users create an account and upload content on the platform. As mentioned, IGTV is a separate application from Instagram – but your followers will still be able to watch your uploads from within the Instagram app itself. In other words, it’s a “same same but different” situation going on here. Slightly confusing, I know.
One thing of note is that IGTV is quite supportive of desktop functionality, allowing desktop users to log in and upload content directly from their desktop. However, it only allows uploads of external videos, meaning you can’t record content directly from the app.
Once you upload your first video, all of your followers (on both Instagram and IGTV) will be able to view your content. Your channel is directly linked to your Instagram account, meaning your followers can only unfollow your channel by unfollowing your main account on Instagram. As an added bonus, IGTV also recommends multiple videos to users, which increases the chances of your video reaching different viewers who are interested in content similar to what you produce.
When you upload content, you can edit the title, cover image, and description of your video. You can also upload your own cover image or select a clip from the video itself. It should also be noted that although you can write more, thumbnails only display 20-25 characters in the description – so choose your words wisely.
Last thing of note is despite the 10-minute limitation, Instagram has stated they can allow longer videos of up to 60 minutes for verified accounts and larger accounts, but they have yet to define what a “larger account” is exactly.
Pros and cons of IGTV
When it comes to your marketing efforts, IGTV has a lot to offer. It’s the first video-sharing platform with a longer format that caters solely to the mobile experience. This means it caters to the growing market of mobile-first users, which is expected to reach 63.4% of all internet users by 2019.
For all you hungry marketers out there, it should also be noted that 73% of Instagram’s users have previously purchased a product they saw on Instagram.
All in all, I can clearly see how valuable IGTV can be as an extension of a pre-existing social media platform. But the biggest downside to marketers and brands – without active channels and an army of well-paid influencers – is the rather distinct lack of ads in IGTV. Kevin Systrom, the creator of Instagram, does say ads will appear later on, but for now you cannot advertise on IGTV.
The aspect ratio is another double-sided blade for us content creators. Although it’s a pioneer in mobile, long-format video, it’s limited to mobile only. So what, you might say? Well, if you have any content created for other platforms that cannot be “squared up”, then you simply cannot repurpose it for IGTV.
Should You Market on IGTV?
I know this sounds like the biggest cliché ever, but it actually depends on your brand (and the content you’re already putting out).
If you are a small-scale business with no active business profile on Instagram, then IGTV will not be as profitable, obviously. The lack of ads will also take away any additional opportunities for profit. If conquering Instagram is already on your agenda for 2019, I’d rather spend my time building up a strong presence and following on the original Instagram platform. You can always make the jump to IGTV later.
If you have a large following on Instagram, you obviously need to jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of the new platform to engage your viewers differently – as well as experiment with content forms that you can’t publish on the main Instagram app.