IGTV is Instagram’s newest mobile video innovation. Here’s how your business can use the new app and get the most out of this rising trend.
On June of 2018 Instagram launched their new app, IGTV. In doing so, Instagram set a new bar for the future of mobile video. As people watch less TV and more video on mobile devices, Instagram is betting on a future that’s almost here. Marketers have long heard that by 2023 video will account for over 75% of all mobile data traffic. IGTV is simply a smart investment in anticipation of changing consumer behaviors. Even the name itself implies a certain cheekiness in what IGTV is replacing in our lives.
But what exactly makes IGTV unique? After all, isn’t YouTube the place for long video?
Two unique traits IGTV offers are the full hour of video and the emphasis on a mobile-first experience. However, there are a few other things that businesses need to know about IGTV content.
Image via dotshock.
The launch material for IGTV makes a point of emphasizing that it’s designed for creators. In Instagram speak, that means a greater focus on content from influencers, web celebrities, and known content creators. They even had several prominent millennial Instagram stars as a part of the launch video.
It helps to think of the content on IGTV more like YouTube videos and less like Netflix. There’s a certain level of naturalness, immediacy, and authenticity to content on IGTV that is intentional and purposefully lacks polish.
IGTV’s impact on brands remains unknown. There don’t seem to be any parameters that makes you see more of creators’ content and less of brands’. There are also no rules in place on verified businesses creating profiles either. Here at Shutterstock we have two.
So for now, a focus on creators seems to be more of a statement than any kind of hard rule against brands. After all, Instagram is not about to alienate its largest source of revenue from this new channel.
However, knowing there’s a focus from IGTV on content from creators can help brands produce content that is more effective. Consider these tips to mimic creator content:
Focus content on inspiring, educating, educating, and informing.
Use story narratives to guide audiences and keep them engaged in longer video.
Lower your production standards to intentionally add authenticity.
Image via Zivica Kerkez.
An important distinction with IGTV and why it’s truly designed for the mobile-video-first experience is that it encourages vertical video. It’s undoubtedly a bold design move, but Instagram is banking on the importance of vertical video in the mobile viewing experience.
Technically users can upload horizontal video. But, the viewing options are either blurred lines to center the video, or forcing users to turn their phones. Forcing vertical video also encourages natural recording with the phone, which makes for more authentic content. For brands this means balancing content that has an authentic feeling, tells a story, and has a careful level of self-promotion.
For social managers or creative teams this also means planning to shoot and edit in vertical aspect ratios as well. Quick tip: the ideal ratio for IGTV is 9:16 or 540 x 960 px. Consider these tips to brush up your vertical video skills:
Invest some time in YouTube tutorials to learn simple video editing skills.
Get a license to iMovie, After Effects, or even Camtasia and try out what you’ve learned.
Give your social manager the freedom and trust to shoot and post things in the moment.
Make use of your stock creative license. Choose images, vectors, footage, editorial, and music to add fillers and consistency to longer video content.
Image via chainarong06.
IGTV is in that early stage for social channels where it’s too new to have advertising baked into it. But apprehensive businesses can rest assured that the full power of the Instagram ad platform in IGTV will be here soon. In the words of Instagram CEO and Co-Founder Kevin Systrom:
“There are no ads on IGTV today, but obviously a very reasonable place for ads to end up.”
The luxury of having limited competition and no way to artificially boost reach won’t last long. For comparison, it took just 9 months from the launch date of Instagram Stories in August 2017 before ads became globally available in March 2018. And with Instagram recently growing to 2 million active advertisers the demand for ads will be high.
This means that there’s no better time for businesses to be an early adopter of this likely here-to-stay channel. IGTV is still the wild west of earning organic reach through engaging video content. This makes now a great time for businesses to experiment with different story narratives, creative arcs, and best practices for long form vertical video. Consider these tips to make your IGTV content more findable in lieu of paid support:
Brush up on keyword expertise, hashtag use, and SEO best practices for titles and captions
Cross promote your IGTV channel from Instagram stories and posts
Promote exclusives on IGTV like product launches, interviews, or a behind-the-scenes look
Key Insights and More Information
Hopefully by now you’re getting excited about the opportunity for your business to be an early adopter of this new channel. All you need to get started is a small investment of time to learn the strategy and best practices behind this mobile-first, long-form video channel. Remember these key takeaways and you’ll be on your way to establishing your business on IGTV:
IGTV is the wild west for content marketers.
Building your IGTV presence early will get you ahead of your competition.
Now is a great time for you to try new things. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Be original and authentic to best connect with audiences.
Give your audience lots of opportunities to engage with your content.
Learn vertical video best practices.
Top image via BrAt82.
Want to learn more about content marketing? Check out these articles:
Instagram’s Best Year Yet (And How Your Business Can Benefit)
How Videos Help Brands Capture and Retain Customer Attention
Your 3 Step Guide to Optimizing Mobile Video Performance
Building Brand Awareness and Customer Engagement with Unique Content
Create Feed-Worthy Mobile Content with These Simple Tips
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