Video content is quite popular these days, for marketers and bloggers as well. Recently, Facebook and Instagram announced altogether new services for video producers and video streamers, and one the one that we have all expected with impatience was Instagram TV a.k.a. Instagram IGTV.
Today, I am going to introduce you to this new concept and I will also try to answer the two main questions I guess all of you are asking:
What is Instagram TV? How do I get set up?
For now, let’s start by defining our main concepts and talk a little bit about the video content, its importance and its popularity among marketers and Internet users in 2018.
Evolution, change, progress, success
The marketing industry is not static. Strategies, technologies and delivery channels change according to the natural evolution of the consumers’ behavior and the technologies they use on a daily basis. Therefore, whatever delivery channel you might have used until now, it’s always a good choice to try something new, to seek out new ways of conveying your message and to try to adapt to your audience.
A good marketing strategy addresses the right message to the right audience but in order to do this, it has to follow the right channels.
And, one of the newest channels is exactly the one that makes the main topic of this article. Is Instagram TV something to keep your eyes on? Or, is it a new channel that will allow you to convey a better message to your Instagram audience? Well, let’s see, in detail, what this new feature is all about.
- What is Instagram TV?
- How can you view IGTV clips?
- Why vertical?
- Is IGTV similar to YouTube?
- Is IGTV available for everybody?
- How do I create an IGTV channel?
- Settings, resolution and frame rate
- Who is using the Instagram TV app and channel?
Since this is an entirely new thing, I will try to answer some of the most important questions you would like to ask someone who has already tested it for you. Let’s go through it, question by question:
Instagram and Facebook are two of the most acclaimed and at the same time, more popular social media channels available in 2018. Facebook is popular because it is a truly functional social media platform while Instagram is popular because it was aimed at mobile users in the first place.
As we have already seen, mobile users make the most out of the Internet traffic these days and as a consequence, whoever manages to create mobile products, it’s more likely to survive in today’s environment and grab the attention of most of today’s users.
Instagram TV is a new video platform, available on Instagram. It’s based on long-form videos and unlike YouTube and other similar platforms, it features vertical videos instead of the traditional 16:9 resolution. It was launched as an alternative to traditional TV and all the other streaming channels available online but it updates the video streaming to a mobile-based audience, the same audience that spends most of their time on Instagram and Facebook.
It’s a fact now that people are watching more online video content and less TV. By 2021, it’s expected that mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic.
In this context, Instagram’s new feature seems rather obvious and it may seem surprising that it wasn’t developed until now, and not that it was launched.
Regardless, Instagram TV is here now and whether we had expected it or not, it’s here to stay and make our lives easier and more entertaining.
What do we know?
Well, for instance, we know that IGTV is not the same for every publisher, at least not in the present. Big accounts get to publish videos with no time limit while smaller accounts are able to publish videos of a maximum of 10 minutes time. This should not be a problem, however, as 10 minutes can be quite enough for a marketer to convey a message or to create a valuable video piece for their targeted audience.
Remember that I have mentioned YouTube and the importance of video content. I have also mentioned that IGTV will feature mostly vertical videos. What does this mean?
Well, there’s a simple and easy to understand the explanation that can ultimately define IGTV in its entirety. Unlike YouTube, Instagram’s video platform was developed and built to suit and satisfy mobile users only. Instagram is also a mobile-based social media platform and as a consequence, it was an obvious move to launch a video platform that would fit into the whole context.
Videos posted on Instagram are available via the standalone IGTV app or, by clicking on the IGTV button on a user’s profile. Also, whenever a user account you follow posts a new video, you will automatically get a notification via the native Instagram application.
The videos are curated and delivered to you based on your interests and the accounts you follow. However, you can watch trending users posted by other accounts and users if you check from time to time with the “popular” channel. Finally, you can share videos with your friends directly, with Instagram Direct.
Are there any advertising options?
Well, right now, there is not. Ads were not yet implemented on Instagram TV and as a consequence, you cannot market your business this way, at least not on this new platform. You can use the videos as a form of content marketing even though for the moment, it should suffice.
Instagram wants to encourage people to shoot not only photos but also videos. Naturally, people hold their mobile phones in a vertical position and therefore, Instagram wants to encourage them to create the content with their mobile phones, not just to upload it from another source.
Professional marketers, however, will find this feature quite difficult, if they are already involved in video production.
The traditional format will not be fully supported by Instagram TV and as a consequence, they will have to either shoot and edit two separate video files or, to crop the IGTV video so that it would look great in portrait mode as well.
That’s why I believe that vertical content is the new king in town.
Well, in many ways, it is. Instagram TV aims to get together video enthusiasts from all around the world and not professional video producers. It is unlikely that you will find your favorite movies or TV series on this platform even though there is no time limit on how long the uploaded video can be.
Instead, you will get more fan-made videos, just like you the ones you get to watch on YouTube every day.
“Instagram is focusing its efforts around web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed. The idea is to let these creators, who have a knack for this style of content and who already have sizeable Instagram audiences, set the norms for what IGTV is about” TechCrunch notes, on an article dedicated to the launch of the IGTV platform.
Let’s start with the availability. The answer is yes, yes and once again, yes! Everyone who has an Instagram account is able to create their own Instagram TV channel. Also, a video will start playing instantly the moment you start your Instagram TV app and you will be able to comment as you watch and therefore, engage with the publisher and the content itself in a direct way, just like you were already accustomed from Facebook and other similar social media platforms.
If you do not like a video, you can just swipe it to the side and continue on watching the next video. It’s that easy! Also, you can swipe up to search for more videos and browse them by category.
Now, let’s try to answer the second question:
So, how do we use this platform?
As Instagram already used its users, everything is easy and handy. It’s not a matter of really how to do it but instead, a matter of when. And this is because everything you need is already there. Let me explain it in detail.
IGTV videos are available on the new Instagram app.
This means that you should update the app or let it update by itself if you are managing the updates you receive and they are not automatic. Once the app is updated, you will notice a new IGTV icon on the top right corner of the screen. Tap it in order to get to the main menu and access the IGTV videos that are available to you.
If you are expecting a web app, similar to what YouTube has, don’t. Instagram TV aims to promote itself as a mobile-only video platform and it, as a consequence, be available only to smartphones and phablets.
Now, let’s take a look at the functionality of the app and how to find what you need to find on it, with ease.
As I have already mentioned, in order to access Instagram TV, you need to tap the new button that sits in the top right corner of the screen:
After tapping the button, you get access to Instagram TV. This is your welcome screen:
Well, you have 3 IGTV categories available right at this moment. Based on your interests, you can search these three categories and find what you are looking for.
Here’s what you get:
- For You – This is your first option and it contains a collection of videos Instagram thinks you might like. The algorithm is based upon the people you follow and Instagram’s own machine learning scripts.
- Following – The second option (category) contains a collection of videos from all the people you are already following on Instagram. Pay attention that is someone follows an IGTV account, they will automatically follow the main Instagram account as well. Therefore, the two features/accounts are connected and inseparable.
- Popular – This category will deliver you videos that are trending at that moment on Instagram TV. They are not ranked by connections, therefore, but by popularity.
As you can see from the above screenshot, there is also a search option in case you want to discover more people and more videos. However, at least at this point, with a brand new channel and just a bunch of people using it, I guess the curated videos delivered by Instagram will suffice your needs. You will be able to get almost everything you need by browsing the aforementioned categories. And who knows, maybe in time, we will have more categories to browse as well.
Now, you know how the system works, you see that it is very simple and intuitive, just like everything else is on Instagram. However, there is still one more thing that needs to be covered here: How to create a personal channel on Instagram TV? Where to start and what to do?
You have two options here. You can either create your channel from inside the main Instagram app or, you can download the dedicated IGTV app and work with it right from the start.
I suggest installing the IGTV app since it is the main app of the video platform and therefore, it contains a dedicated full-featured interface for it. For your first installation, search for it in your device main application repository and click to install.
Once the IGTV app is installed, you can open it and you will see that it automatically logs into your personal account, the same account that was previously saved and in use on your mobile device.
Next, click on the settings icon and get to the menu:
If you are on the main Instagram app, the menu is simplified and you only get one option: “Create Channel”.
However, if you are on the main IGTV app when you click on the “settings” icon, you get to a window just like the following:
Wherever you are, click on “Create Channel”. Now, you will be ready to upload your videos. The next steps are intuitive. You need to add a vertical video, a description, some keywords and a cover photo, just like you do on YouTube and other similar channels. That’s it, you are good to go!
Finally, there’s one more thing you need to know. Instagram has made available some recommendations regarding the technical aspects of the video files.
Here are the basics:
|VIDEO||VERTICAL VIDEO RESOLUTION||FRAME RATE|
|Slow Motion 1080p||1080×1920||120|
|Slow Motion 1080p||1080×1920||240|
There are several brands and companies that have already embraced the idea of a video platform dedicated exclusively to Instagram fans and users. The list includes companies like Chipotle, Nike, Netflix, Warby Parker, Trader Joe’s, Everlane and Gucci.
As a new full-featured video platform, IGTV is quite attractive for marketers and influencers. However, as the app is quite new, there are not a lot of examples I can give and the stats are almost null. While some of the brands, companies, and marketers chose to create new content, others have chosen to just repurpose old content and see what happens.
For example, Chipotle was one of the first companies that chose to create an IGTV channel and develop a new video for the IGTV platform. They were fortunate to be working with Day One Agency, a marketing agency that saw the power of this new channels after watching the launching live announcements.
Another example comes from Netflix, a company that used the 60 minutes video feature to play a full hour of actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger. This video brought in more than six hundred thousand views and five thousand comments. At the same time, Nike published an animation featuring Christiano Ronaldo as part of a World Cup campaign.
When it comes to repurposing content, there are also a few companies that got into the spotlight and Louis Vuitton is one of them. They choose to upload videos from their recent fashion shows. At the same time, Warby Parker published an Instagram Stories interview with a graphic designer, who used some of their products in order to create some of her designs.
Instagram TV is a new thing. Hence, it’s in the news and it is talked about throughout these days’ media. These kind of things are always in the news and there are many times, they do not prove to be worthy of our attention. However, this time we should pay attention a little more to the launch of this new channel. Instagram has been proven to be right on the track and sometimes, ahead of their times when it comes to social media, popularity, and marketing.
And Instagram TV is no different from any other Instagram features.
Is it great for marketing?
Well, of course, it is, at least now, when the platform is just starting to be acknowledged and its popularity is not that big. Competition is not that big but the results can be quite good, considering that Instagram is already a powerful and popular social media channel, already proven to be effective for marketers.
What do you think about IGTV? Did you have the opportunity to try this new platform?