Some marketers have been long-term fans of YouTube, using the video-sharing website to boost their brands. They may also have harnessed the power of Instagram and the potential that came with its Stories feature when it was unleashed a couple of years ago. Now, the picture-sharing app is offering a mash-up of these two forms, which could offer huge potential for those in the know.
What is IGTV?
For the first time ever, users will be able to exceed the 60-second limit to clips uploaded to Instagram. There will still be a set parameter, but at 60 minutes, this offers far more possibilities to get a product in front of the one billion users of the platform.
The importance of video in marketing
Here at Axonn we have been extolling the virtues of video for a long time. Back in 2015, our Video in Content Marketing Survey found that 75 per cent of people shared videos on social media, and its prominence has only grown since then.
In an interview with Newsbeat about IGTV, Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, explained how it was a natural next move. He said: “All the data we have shows that people are spending less and less time in front of TVs, but spending more and more time on their phones.”
That makes social media a natural place for videos and Instagram is capitalising on this fact. Marketers, in turn, can take advantage of the development and put videos featuring their products and services in front of their audiences where they can most commonly be found.
As Facebook sees a decline in popularity with some key audiences, such as teens, YouTube and Instagram are flourishing. According to data collected recently by Pew Research Center, YouTube is the most used social network among teenagers in the US and this is a trend that is echoed in the UK.
IGTV is a bid by Instagram to tap into that popularity and expand its reach further. Social networks are constantly adapting to keep up with trends and marketers must do the same, otherwise see their competitors take the lead.
What do we know about IGTV so far?
While this new feature has been announced, not all of the details of how it will work have been made clear. IGTV will display videos in portrait mode, as Instagram feels this is the way that people naturally hold their phone and use the app.
Whether or not the videos will feature ads or users will be paid for content as per the YouTube model are all still unclear. What is certain, however, is that marketers who decide to ignore this latest development will do so at their peril.
Of course, this new feature will alter the way that Instagram looks and users that wish to make use of IGTV will need to update the app. They’ll then get a channel, just like YouTube, where their videos will be stored.
One of the big changes for Instagram will be the fact that users will be able to upload videos to IGTV from a desktop. They will then get a unique link, making them all the more shareable through social media.
Users will be able to follow channels and get notifications when new videos are uploaded. Channels will appear on Instagram profiles, alongside Story highlights. The ability for people to comment on the videos will also be significant for brands wishing to interact with their customers.
Joanne Lam, community manager at Axonn Media, said: “Only time will tell how well long-form content performs on IGTV, but with mobile now accounting for the majority of digital video consumption and Facebook recently reporting that vertical video generates higher engagement than other formats, it looks like Instagram has the potential to really give Youtube a run of its money.
“Brands would do well to bear this in mind and include vertical video in their social marketing strategy.”
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