11Jul 2018

What You Need to Know About the New IGTV

Lindsey McRae
By Lindsey McRae

As Instagram continues to progress its capabilities as well as compete with platforms like Snapchat, YouTube and others, content marketing strategy has to evolve with it. With the recent launch of IGTV, individuals and marketers have taken to the platform to give it a go - whether that means repurposing video content from other platforms or building out new, custom content for its long-form, vertical video capability.

Here are the basics we think you should know as marketers flock to the new IGTV playground.

IGTV is Instagram’s long-form video platform.

So, what exactly is IGTV? Historically, video content on Instagram has been limited to one minute in length and shows among the static photo content in a user’s profile. In order to bring new life to video content on the platform and to encourage longer, more episodic videos that are currently thriving online, Instagram has created a new section of the app that’s home to this new form of content called IGTV, short for Instagram TV.

Users can upload video content to IGTV from the Instagram platform.

Although IGTV is also available as a standalone app, the service is located directly within Instagram. At the top of the Instagram home feed, there is now an icon to take users directly to IGTV content. There, users can browse new videos from followed accounts, continue watching previously started videos, and see popular IGTV content that is trending across the platform.

To upload original content, users must choose to create their own channel, and then can upload new videos as usual from stored media on their phones. They can then add a title and description to the video and even share directly to a linked Facebook Page during the publishing process.

Instagram has also created a Creator Handbook, shared first by social media marketer Matt Navara, for mastering its new type of content.

IGTV is strictly mobile.

As it stands, IGTV is an addition to the current Instagram platform, but only runs on the mobile app. There is not a desktop version to access the content, however Instagram offers an option to share a link to an IGTV video outside of the app, whether it be in an email, text, tweet, etc., which will be useful for magnifying reach and cross-medium promotion.

Users on IGTV have a built-in audience.

Building an audience from the ground up on IGTV is not a hurdle that users have to deal with when starting a channel. Currently, Instagram has more than one billion active monthly users and more than 500 million daily users, and a follow on Instagram automatically translates to a follower on IGTV. No cross promotion necessary to form a viewer base. IGTV made it simple for brands to seamlessly build upon their current Instagram foundation and introduce a new form of valuable content to their already interested audience.

YouTube is still king for video content creators.

Although IGTV wasn’t developed to be a competitor to YouTube, the comparison of the long-form, channel-centric characteristics can’t be avoided. However, YouTube has taken on more characteristics of a search engine than a social media platform, and while the content capabilities seem similar between the two platforms, the way each is used by individuals remains very different.

Additionally, IGTV provides a “For You” tab, but the discoverability of content beyond followed accounts seems to be lacking, and finding previously-posted content is still easiest on YouTube.

Diversified content strategy is essential.

While it’s smart to act quickly and become an active user of IGTV, creating a tailored strategy for clients is our priority. YouTube remains a powerhouse platform where premium, searchable content should live, but finding diverse ways to expand on that content is where we see IGTV strategy thriving. Can we establish a visual podcast? Is there a webisode series that is suited for the unique IGTV channel? We are constantly asking ourselves how we can initiate new, innovative video content to provide a solution to a particular audience’s needs and tell our clients’ stories.

The launch of a new platform brings many interesting and exciting opportunities to the social media landscape and to our clients - especially when it’s parented by an app like Instagram, which has quickly become one of the most instrumental social media platforms for brands. We as social marketers now have the freedom to expand content strategies to more thoroughly enhance brand messaging, continue to establish loyalty with customers and provide even more value to audiences to strengthen and grow our communities.

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