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IGTV: What It Is & Why It Matters

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Today, Instagram rolled IGTV, a long-form video app that will allow all users to share videos up to 10-minutes long. Instagram users with over 10K followers will have the opportunity to share videos up to 1-hour long. All content shared to IGTV will mimic the look and feel of Instagram Stories (Facebook’s fastest growing product) using the vertical, mobile-optimized format. While IGTV is immediately open to all users, Facebook is prioritizing content creators on the platform, just as they did with their launch of Facebook Watch. As of right now, there are no paid ad opportunities within IGTV, but Instagram will likely test monetization in the future. See below for immediate marketing implications and how we see IGTV impacting the larger social media landscape:

What Marketers Should Do Now

  • Test your audience’s appetite for long-form video. Until now, users have only been exposed to short-form video (60 seconds or less) on the Instagram platform. With the opportunity to share longer-form content, consider testing how your audience responds to deeper and longer stories on the platform. If your brand already has a robust video strategy across other social platforms, consider repurposing content (once optimized to the vertical format) on IGTV to test your audience’s resonance with long-form content before investing in platform-specific content. It is important to note that long-form video is still getting its footing in the industry (i.e Facebook Watch, YouTube Premium, etc.) and won’t resonate with every audience. Brands see incredible success using short-form video on Instagram and should continue to use the format to drive business results.
  • Incorporate IGTV into your social influencer strategy. The balance between unpolished and polished content on the Instagram platform has caused Influencers and content creators to flood the feed in recent years. Since users with over 10K followers will have the capability to post content up to 1-hour long they have the opportunity to tell deeper and more meaningful stories around your brand on the Instagram platform.

What This Means For The Industry

  • Mobile is becoming the first screen. Since social media’s inception, we’ve considered mobile the second-screen to television. However, there are various factors pointing to a potential shift in how consumers prioritize their screens. In addition to the decline in time-spent watching traditional television, we’re also seeing a new generation of consumers preferring content by amateur content creators with an unpolished look and feel (i.e. Stories). As of right now, this unpolished content can only be found on social, which can potentially be a reason why mobile video is forecasted to account for 78% of total mobile data traffic by 2021.
  • Consumer behavior is evolving towards long-form content experiences. While Instagram has historically been geared towards short-form video, consumers can spend hours scrolling through the feed or flipping through Stories. In aggregate, users are having long-form video experiences on the platform, they are just spliced into multiple 15-60s increments. These long-form video experiences have also been occurring in more traditional settings with the advent of binge-watching. Users prefer watching hours of content bundled together rather than spreading out the hours of content over the course of a few weeks.

Over the last year or so, social platforms have tried their hand at long-form content, but users have yet to fully adopt the format (creating and consuming). While Instagram has a history of converting the masses (i.e. ephemeral content), only time will tell how users will respond to IGTV and long-form content across the social landscape.