Jul 16, 2018

IGTV: Getting Started with Instagram's New Video Platform

IGTV is available both within the Instagram app and as a separate app. The new Instagram platform acts as an extension of the current photo and video sharing social media network, but is meant for long form vertical video content.

At a conference in San Francisco on June 20th, 2018, Instagram Co-Founder, Kevin Systrom announced the launch of Instagram TV, also known as IGTV. Systrom claims that teens spend 40% less time watching TV, and predicts that by 2020, 50% of all video views will come from mobile viewing. The initiative behind IGTV was to create a platform that eliminates the need to search for content before viewing, like on YouTube, and be able to view content in the same manner as on a TV--by turning on IGTV and swiping between content from channels (accounts) you follow on Instagram, almost like flipping channels with a remote.

IGTV is available both within the Instagram app and as a separate app. The new Instagram platform acts as an extension of the current photo and video sharing social media network but is meant for long-form vertical video content. Wix compares the IGTV app to the Facebook Messenger app, which operates on a separate app but can still be accessible within the main platform.

Videos can be streamed directly from the Instagram or IGTV app. These videos can be up to an hour long and posted by any channel from any Instagram user, but most content hovers around the 30-minute mark. Having an Instagram account automatically lets you use the app within the main Instagram account and create a channel, which means that content within IGTV comes from the accounts you follow.

The Basics

Anyone with an Instagram account can access IGTV through the Instagram app or the separate Instagram TV app. Now that you got the run-down, you want to start creating content. The good news is that launching your IGTV career is extremely simple. Follow these easy steps to set up your IGTV and get posting!

1. Set up your account

Already have an Instagram account? Login with your Instagram account (click ‘continue as [user]’). Easily access IGTV from within the Instagram app by clicking the orange icon at top right of the screen. Don’t have an Instagram account? Download the IGTV app from App Store or Google Play.

2. Create a channel

Click on the settings gear icon in the top right corner of the app and choose “create channel”.

3. Upload a video

  1. Click on your personal avatar icon
  2. Click the “+” in the right-hand corner
  3. Select a video from camera roll
  4. Add a title, description, and thumbnail (just like in YouTube), and be sure to include important/searchable keywords
  5. Link video to an external page, like your website or online store
  6. Click and drag across video to create video thumbnail
  7. View Insights from your video by clicking on “...” next to the “like,” “comment,” and “share” button

IGTV Features

IGTV is available for both iOS and Android users in the App Store and Google Play. Check out some of the features of the app below:

  • IGTV lives within the Instagram app and as a separate app.
  • Channel: Set up a channel using your own Instagram account.
  • ‘For You’: A mix of videos from users you may or may not follow, based on Instagram’s suggested content algorithm.
  • ‘Following’: Watch content posted from accounts you follow.
  • ‘Popular’: This section shows you videos that are trending and popular right now.
  • ‘Continue Watching’ reopens where you left off.
  • Search: You can only search for specific channels, not by video title or content, but swipe up while watching a video to get the search.
  • Upload: Upload vertical videos from your desktop (with its own unique link) or mobile device.
  • Like, comment and share videos.
  • Direct Messaging: Send videos to a friend in Direct.

Content & Characteristics

So what really is IGTV on the spectrum of over-the-top (OTT) video? Think of IGTV like YouTube rather than Netflix, because it is very much a social media sharing platform. However, Instagram wants the content on IGTV to be more raw. Systrom said IGTV content will be more emotional and less curated because of the nature of vertical video.

He also emphasized that content on IGTV should not be duplicate content from other social media platforms. Despite the intention, a lot of brands are repurposing older (already-published) content on the platform (taken from other platforms) to experiment with the new app, but some are building out new content. Along the same lines, Instagram has also mentioned they don’t intend IGTV to be a place to publish and save Stories, but based on brands usage of the feature this way, perhaps IGTV will ultimately replace Stories.

Create content specific to IGTV

Vlogging: Unlike Stories and the 1 minute limit for in-feed videos, IGTV is a vlog-friendly platform. Many YouTube vloggers are finding that the platform offers them direct access to their Instagram following audience and the ability to create less-curated content more frequently because of the format of vertical video.

Product launch/demo: Chipotle launched a video that mimicked an ad promoting their limitless combinations.

Behind-The-Scenes (BTS): A behind-the-scenes look using IGTV at your brand or company will give more direct access to your corporate culture and lifestyle.

Series: IGTV offers the ability to create any type of series that would normally be either too short for Stories or too often to post in-feed. Afterall, IGTV is meant to mimic TV more than Instagram, so make sure to capitalize on the platform’s capabilities.

Who’s Using IGTV?

Big brands and publishers jumped on IGTV. The BBC Stories Instagram account found that their in-feed videos get 1,000 views while the same video posted on IGTV got 60,000 views and 60 comments after 1 week. However, they are skeptical if this is just because of the excitement around the launch and the app’s novelty . Likewise, Tastemade UK saw triple the views when they posted content to IGTV.

Brands

  • Chipotle (one of the first brands to post on their IGTV account)
  • Netflix
  • Warby Parker
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Everlane
  • Gucci

Publishers

  • Vogue
  • Buzzfeed
  • ITV News Vice
  • The Economist
  • BBC
  • Tastemade UK
  • Super Deluxe
  • Bloomberg
  • Dazed

Individuals

  • Instagram influencers
  • YouTube creators migrating to the platform
  • Individual accounts!

IGTV Looking Ahead

Even though Instagram does not currently support ads on the IGTV platform, it is in the app’s future. Instagram is currently planning to monetize IGTV so that creators can begin to “make a living” from posting content. IGTV is not flooded with content yet because it is so new, so a lot of brands are getting many views and will ultimately capitalize on the monetization of these views.

Many also speculate whether IGTV will ultimately beat out YouTube in the OTT field and viewership competition. For now, IGTV must develop the platform so that creators are motivated to transition from YouTube.