At the end of June, Instagram revealed an exciting new addition to the app – IGTV. Joining existing features such as Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, this latest add-on is also available in a stand alone app, highlighting the importance Instagram are putting behind this new feature. It’s no secret that mobile video is a huge part of the digital world; since 2013, results show that teens spend less than 40% of their time watching TV, due to platforms such as YouTube allowing video content to be consumed through mobiles rather than TV devices. This growth isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon, either – predictions show that by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. With figures like that, social media powerhouse Instagram simply couldn’t miss an opportunity to get ahead…
What is it?
IGTV stands for Instagram TV, and is pretty much a combination of two of the apps existing features – Instagram Stories and Instagram Live. With Stories, users share photos and short video content on their story which is viewable for a 24 hour window. On the other hand, Instagram Live allows users to broadcast a live feed, creating longer video content which people can engage with in real-time.
Originally, you could only post pictures and videos to your story that were taken in the moment (there was no option to upload from your camera roll) and after the 24 hour period, this content would disappear. Rival app Snapchat wanted to keep the upper hand, so they adjusted their app to allow users to upload from their camera roll, to add face filters, and use text and images to customise their stories. Instagram thought this was a great idea, and quickly followed suit. They then further updated their Stories feature by introducing ‘Highlights’, giving people the option to pin their stories to their profile, so other users are able to view these at a later date.
Instagram’s other feature is a live broadcasting tool, where people can share live footage right there and then. This gives creators the opportunity to publish longer videos, but restricts them by not allowing them to upload existing content which has been edited and perfected.
That’s where IGTV comes into it.
The seemingly perfect amalgamation of both existing features, it allows users to create longer video content which becomes a permanent fixture on their profile, but by being able to upload previously shot videos it allows creators to edit their videos in advance to bring them to a higher quality.
What does it look like?
Unlike YouTube and other mobile video platforms where videos are typically a post embedded in a page with a sidebar or newsfeed, IGTV content is fully immersive and optimised for mobile as it’s in a vertical full screen format. Core apps such as Snapchat and Instagram Stories have already proven people like to watch videos in this portrait screen view, and this view is likely to be more engaging than smaller video clips which the user has to enlarge manually. However, people can still choose to watch the videos landscape by changing their phone’s screen orientation. IGTV permits multiple links to be added in the description, making it easier for influencers to work with brands on IGTV content where the audience can then be guided to external sites. There’s also an instant share button which makes it super easy to push your content cross-channel to Instagram’s parent company Facebook.
Who can create the videos?
All users with an Instagram account can start a IGTV channel, although there is a difference in time limits allowed for videos; influencers with a larger following can create videos lasting up to 1 hour, while accounts with a smaller following are capped at 10 minutes. Instagram have said that they’ll scrap this time difference eventually, though. You can upload to your channel by selecting existing videos either from your camera roll in the Instagram or IGTV app, or via the website.
How do I watch other videos?
To explore and view other content, there’s 3 different categories you can choose from:
- The ‘Following’ category is people you follow on Instagram
- The ‘For You’ category features videos from people you follow and suggested videos as generated by Instagram’s algorithm
- The ‘Popular’ section highlights videos that are currently trending, which is likely to be popular influencers and celebrities as well as viral content
How can I track my channel’s performance?
Instagram Insights are also available for their IGTV feature, showing users how many views, likes and comments each video gets. Like Facebook, a 3 second video watch is classified as a view. Within this analytics section, Instagram also tells you what the audience retention rate for each video is, showing a graph depicting the percentage of people watching your video throughout it’s duration.
Why have they done this?
Instagram’s already bossing the social media game, that’s for sure – swiping Snapchat’s popularity from right under it’s feet, they’ve got a wonderful knack at poaching the best elements of each competitor and adding it to their own app. One of their biggest competitors right now is YouTube – people are obsessed with watching YouTube videos, and the depth and duration that YouTube videos allow creators to edit and perfect their content with no time limit was unrivalled by any feature Instagram had… until now. What’s more, is that Instagram is in the best position to launch a similar feature to YouTube. The whole app revolves around on celebrity and influencer culture, in my personal opinion far more than any social media channel. People go to Instagram to follow their favourite celebrities and to get a closer look into all aspects of their daily life. They’ll engage with their pristinely filtered images, stay in the loop with their daily stories and tune into their live videos for occasional deeper and more ‘real’ videos. IGTV is an expansion on this – it allows influencers to create almost episode type videos, giving their audience a better insight into what they’re doing, but still being able to edit this content to their satisfaction. The topics of their content are likely to be similar to what they’re already showing – day in the life, tutorials, Q&A’s, etc – but it’s not as unpolished as live videos, and more detailed and in depth than stories. Because it’s all in one platform, users can follow their favourite influencers, stalk their profile and pictures and also easily tune into their latest IGTV videos.
How did they market the launch?
Instagram seriously know their sh*t when it comes to marketing. They didn’t want to have to persuade anyone that they should use IGTV – they wanted to create such a hype that everyone was dying to know what it was all about. With a helping hand from some of the platforms biggest names such as Lele Pons, Kim Kardashian West and Alexis Ren, these influencers announced the new content available on IGTV and everyone soon followed. The simple mechanic of the new feature makes it fairly easy to pick up, so no complicated explanation was necessary. With these influencers telling Instagram’s audience IGTV was the new cool thing to use, people were more than happy to start using it straight away.
How did Instagram become so successful?
The past few years has seen Instagram’s growth and popularity increase massively – and there’s a reason for this. The popular app has slowly but surely been cherry picking the best features from all of their main competitors, and incorporating them into their own app. Think about it – Snapchat’s roaring success was overshadowed by the launch of Instagram Stories in August 2016. Snapchat introduced uploading previous images/videos, impressive face filters, and customising snaps with text and images… then so did Instagram. Instagram Live wasn’t a unique creation either; remember Periscope? Owned by Twitter, the popular live streaming platform allowed users to broadcast live video content to their followers. And the final piece of the puzzle – YouTube. The roaring success of the mobile video platform has lead us to Instagram’s latest venture, IGTV.
By amalgamating the key aspects of their main competitor apps, Instagram has stolen the crown as the #1 app that has it all.
What does the future hold?
Monetisation, of course. While IGTV is still finding it’s feet as a new addition to the platform, engagement will be the core focus for Instagram, but the honeymoon period won’t last for long. Once it’s popular enough, Instagram will introduce a paid advertising aspect, to earn themselves revenue as well as offering content creators the options to earn money through the platform. Until this stage, I’m sure content creators will continue to utilise YouTube due to the revenue that can be gained from ads, and the platforms current popularity. But a few months or years down the line when people want to do all their social media activity in one handy app and influencers can earn an income through IGTV… I can’t help think it’s going to be game over for YouTube.
What do you think? Have you watched IGTV videos or created your own channel yet? Is this the start of YouTube’s demise? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading,