Written by: Megan Holcombe; Hannah Kavanagh; and Anna Katherine Clarke
Did you hear? Instagram launched a new long-form video feature called IGTV.
Last week, the social media platform announced the launch of a new video app that allows users to publish long, high-quality videos for their followers. This release follows a greater industry shift toward video. Instagram is now hoping to draw more content creators to its platform with IGTV offerings.
Although Instagram has had video capabilities for quite a while, video length was initially limited to a maximum of 30-seconds, and most recently 60-seconds. However, IGTV (short for Instagram TV) allows for videos up to an hour in length. Content creators and artists with small audiences are rejoicing since the platform is so popular with the main demographic of popular video and music consumers.
Here’s what you need to know about how to use Instagram’s new feature:
1. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DOWNLOAD AN EXTRA APP TO USE IGTV
IGTV comes as a standalone app, so users without an Instagram account can download the app and start sharing their videos. However, you don’t have to download the app if you’re already an Instagram user. Simply log into your Instagram account and click on the TV icon in the upper right corner. From there, you can create a channel and upload videos that your followers can view.
Users can still like, share, and comment on videos. IGTV users can generate feedback and engagement by running polls and responding to comments on their posts. Users can also share videos through Instagram direct messaging or via link, which increases the potential reach of each video.
2. IGTV MOVES AWAY FROM SQUARE VIDEOS
Say goodbye to the square videos that Instagram forced upon users, because IGTV videos are full-screen and vertical. Instagram has now made it easier than ever to point, shoot, and post videos right from your phone. Besides the obvious fact that people naturally hold their phones vertically for taking photos or videos, the vertical format is designed to make videos fit to the full-screen of any phone. Because almost 80% of social media usage takes place on a mobile device, the IGTV format caters to how social media is being consumed.
Thanks to Snapchat, advertisers have been rapidly exploring the benefits of vertical video since 2015. According to their internal research, this format attracts twice the engagement of advertising on similar platforms. The explanation is simple: by taking over the entire screen, users are less likely to lose focus due to external distractions, and more likely to watch for a greater amount of time.
Jason Stein, CEO of Laundry Service, says that vertical video ads drive three times more CPMs than the square format that we are used to. Currently, there is no way to monetize IGTV because Instagram will not be launching ads. However, Stein insinuated that they may start allowing advertising in the future by stating that they would do what is “fair” for creators. For now, IGTV can be used to increase followers and brand recognition online.
3. THERE ARE NO LIVE VIDEOS ON IGTV
Unlike the Instagram app, IGTV does not allow users to “go live,” yet. Although the feature doesn’t currently support live videos, Instagram’s product manager Ashley Yuki indicated during the launch announcement that it is definitely a part of the company’s future plans for IGTV.
4. IGTV HAS USER CHANNELS
Similar to YouTube, you can browse IGTV channels with ease. IGTV will generate a video feed based on your followers and interests, ensuring that you never miss a single moment. Users who post videos can include a link to their landing page and include a clever caption to enhance engagement. With IGTV, you don’t have to be Kim Kardashian to become an influencer, you just have to share content people want to watch.
The channel feature also provides digital marketers with a new platform to explore. Long-form video gives companies the opportunity to share their stories and humanize their brand. Additionally, companies will have the opportunity to alternate between short-form and long-form videos to create variety in their campaigns. While marketers often worry about engagement rates for longer videos, IGTV is betting there’s an audience that desires long-form format.
“Video is the way we hang out with friends, the way we pass the time, but the way we watch it is changing,” said Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO. For content creators and marketing professionals, this development is a chance to engage the large number of people who are moving away from TV towards online media. Plus, it allows users to explore and evaluate the benefits of vertical video, creating the opportunity for further growth in the future.