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What Instagram’s IGTV app means for brands

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For those who aren’t a fan of vertical video, I’m afraid it’s here to stay.

Instagram’s new IGTV platform is now on the scene; designed to support its main app it allows users to upload longer video content. Some accounts can upload up to an hour of video content on IGTV if they have enough followers but most are capped at 10 minutes.

IGTV could potentially rival YouTube. Influencers with big numbers on Instagram are able to keep everything in one place and those viewing the content don’t have to worry about juggling between different accounts or changing apps.

What is IGTV?

If you’re still unsure what IGTV is and why it’s important then here’s a quick break down:

  • It has been created by Instagram as a platform purely for video content.
  • It links to an Instagram account and users create a ‘channel’ on IGTV to share videos.
  • Videos are all vertical and full screen.
  • Video length can be anything from 15 seconds to 60 minutes – you need a certain amount of followers to share an hour long video though.
  • You can still feature call to action, swipe up buttons like in Instagram stories.
  • Viewers can watch IGTV videos from Instagram or the IGTV app.
  • Videos play automatically as soon as you open up IGTV and continue playing through every channel that has uploaded.
  • You can view video content by the accounts you are following or explore trending IGTV videos.
  • Users can like or comment on videos and send them to friends via direct message on Instagram.
  • Videos can be uploaded through the IGTV app or the web browser.

Instagram is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the world of social. It’s already pulled the rug out from under Snapchat with its Stories feature and now it’s gearing up to steal the limelight from the biggest video platform online. Stories were already the swipe right of marketing content, with easy to access and quick to watch videos and brands are able to advertise their wares in between your favourite influencer content.

With IGTV, Instagram has recognised that people simply want to view content solely on their phone and by adapting this new video platform to mainly vertical content they’re more likely to see engagement. According to the platform, “mobile data content will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. And we've learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals.” Time to download that app then right?

How can brands get involved?

Instagram Stories have already been jumped on by brands but IGTV offers the opportunity to utilise video to really push those bigger campaigns – with longer viewing times to play with. Brands can build stronger connections with viewers, encouraging those watching to see them as content creators with a real message – rather than just plugging their product on stories.

It’s worth noting that at the moment, there’s no actual advertising opportunity on IGTV. It’s a place simply for great video content – something all brands should now be looking into. This means your focus should be more on engaging content, for brand awareness and social visibility, to sit alongside your main strategies.

How to get started on IGTV

Don’t have an Instagram account? It’s time to sign up. If your brand has dabbled in video content and uploaded to YouTube in the past, IGTV gives you the opportunity to expand your reach. You can continue to upload to YouTube as a base then use IGTV to spread the word with your followers.

Build up your social following

You won’t get far if you don’t have people viewing this incredible video content you’re creating. My colleague at Zazzle also recently discovered that 60% of brands find that their social media accounts help to contribute to their business goals and actively provide conversions and sales - so if it’s not really on your radar or you’re not active it should be.

Use it for engaging how-to content

Educational, how-to content is always well received in video form. A craft brand may use IGTV to share DIY videos and tutorials, while a hair salon could utilise the platform to showcase their work and processes. It’s great for brand awareness and lets you showcase products you may be pushing, showing people how to use them or their benefits without being shouty about it.

Get creative

The best video content is the type that truly engages the audience – leaving them wanting to come back to view more. It needs to tell a story and have a reason. Consider the Dove Real Beauty campaign or Sport England’s This Girl Can – IGTV would be the perfect place for these videos to sit. Look to create content that shares a message or looks at a trending topic in a different light. Oh and if you can feature cute puppies in it too your engagement should soar – like Purina did with their Buzzfeed collaboration.

If your strategy is set for the year ahead, consider looking into IGTV as a place to post video content to support your social campaigns.

Jade Tolley, deputy content manager, Zazzle Media