IGTV is here and it's hot hot hot. Here's what you need to know about it.
From our CEO @kevin: “Today, we have two big announcements to share. First, Instagram is now a global community of one billion! Since our launch in 2010, we’ve watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown. This is a major accomplishment — so from all of us at Instagram, thank you! Second, we’re announcing our most exciting feature to date: IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators, like LaurDIY (@laurdiy) posting her newest project or King Bach (@kingbach) sharing his latest comedy skit. While there’s a stand-alone IGTV app, you’ll also be able to watch from within the Instagram app so the entire community of one billion can use it from the very start. IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long. We made it simple, too. Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests. You can swipe up to discover more — switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct. Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel. Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love. IGTV will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks on iOS and Android.
It's a Vertical World
The Vertical video format has confirmed our habit migration from desktop to mobile, virtually changing the way we consume motion content. We were trained by Snapchat and became pros at it with Instagram Stories. Unless you're watching something on television or YouTube, horizontal video is somewhat, well, offensive.
And because it wasn't enough for mothership Facebook to crush Snap with its own invention, the social behemoth is now going after veteran video platform YouTube. And as if that wasn't enough, it's also aiming at traditional television because why not. Instagram is no longer the place where users share photos with like-minded communities, it's the place where users can literally do everything.
Insta HQ is aggregating each social channel's primary functionality under its own banner in a clear attempt at getting people to spend as much time on the platform as possible. But also to become the social media be all and end all. From a creator perspective, why keep putting so much effort in continuing to build audiences on other networks when Instagram often houses their highest follower count?
This is great news for brands investing more marketing resources into IG because it's reasserting that the feeling is mutual. It's providing more tools for creators and businesses to bolster their narrative through video, subsequently reeling in new followers and creating deeper bonds with them.
Keeping the People Happy
For those who want to focus solely on video beyond Stories, there's also the standalone IGTV app. But for brands that are looking to consolidate their storytelling and their brand journey into a one-stop shop, IGTV is prime and center in Instagram's home feed.
Instagram's growth hasn't slowed down one bit, and it's constantly making efforts to update functionality to the benefit of influential users and businesses. Kevin even casually dropped the B-word bomb in the IGTV announcement post: "(...) the entire community of one billion can use it." NBD.
But even if Kev was all nonchalant about it, surpassing the one billion mark is an insanely huge deal. It means more people are turning to Instagram every day to get their content fix, whether it's from people they know personally, influential social stars, or brands.
Catering to what people want is actually what has hoisted Instagram into the social lead— first offering additional image formats, then integrating video, adding Stories, implementing business profiles and a shopping functionality, modifying the algorithm to favor chronology, and now delivering on the thirst for video content with IGTV. Insta knows that bearing its heavy users in mind when developing new tools is a fail-proof strategy to keep all Instagrammers happy.
But What's the Deal for my Biz?
IGTV is a clear, deliberate investment in the vertical video format, and speaks volumes about its potential to take over the world. Mobile is how most people consume motion content, vertical being the ergonomic, intuitive way to view via smartphone—a neat little gadget owned by over 2.5 billion people worldwide. The launch of IGTV could be the push brands were looking for to get into video.
We've heard firsthand from a lot of businesses that starting a YouTube channel was a goal, but the thought of having to build a new community from scratch on a separate platform felt like a steep uphill climb. This new functionality release basically offers the dream on a silver platter: the opportunity to produce high-quality branded video with a built-in audience that you've been fostering for years.
Whereas brands have struggled in the past with Instagram Stories being too raw and their creative department's natural inclination to over-produce clips that are meant to be rough around the edge, IGTV swoops in as the more polished sibling. Companies can now have the best of both worlds by proceeding with off-the-cuff content for Stories and creating more long-form curated vids for IGTV.
Think of the cross-functionality opportunities and the kind of branded creative assets that can be crafted to connect with users. It's a new avenue for reaching global audiences and increasing your consumer pool by sharing your brand journey via a broadened set of touchpoints. Not to mention all the influencer marketing opportunities as well. Kevin's team has made sure that there are as few limits as possible: "Unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long." That's like, an actual tv show.
We discovered a little while back that video content was actually the secret to unlocking record engagement rates, and with the way things are going now, motion content is set to reach 78% of of total mobile data traffic by 2021. All social roads are currently leading to video format, and if Instagram says it, we should all take it very seriously:
We believe this is the future of video. People continue to spend more time with entertainment on their mobile devices, and we're making it easier for them to get closer to the creators and original content they love.
This is every brand's opportunity to seize and to lose. The current social marketing landscape is unforgiving and ultra fast-paced, and doesn't let brands rest for one second. Businesses need to constantly be looking to the future and finding new strategies to keep those deep consumer connections thriving. Providing them with fresh and innovative content is a fail-proof tactic.
“Being authentic with my fans is very important to me,” says Teala Dunn (@ttlyteala), an actress and creator who’s at @vidcon this weekend in Anaheim, California, celebrating all things online video. What’s the 21-year-old most looking forward to? “I especially want to meet new creators I’ve never met in person, and create amazing content.” 🎥 IGTV is a new app and a new space within Instagram for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators. Update your app now to watch to see what Teala’s been up to at #VidCon — on our story today and on our IGTV channel.
Needless to say, the launch of IGTV is incredibly exciting. The opportunity for both content creators and brands are boundless, and Instagram's proven evolving nature leads us to put a lot of faith in its longevity. Businesses should feel confident investing in the channel, even if there isn’t any IGTV data available to API Partners—yet.
But in true Dash Hudson form, and just like we did with Insta Stories, you'll be the first to know when there is useful data available. We can't wait to see how brands weave the new tool into their content strategies moving forward. We'll be watching closely.
Want to learn more about how Dash Hudson can help you succeed at visual marketing? Hit us up today (right after you sign up for our weekly newsletter 👇).