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IGTV – brands may be cautious, but there’s still a big opportunity

Instagram introduced IGTV as an attempt to experiment with long-form videos. Despite the rise of Stories, there is still room for videos of longer length that can engage their viewers with more storytelling options.

IGTV allows creators to post vertical videos of up to 60 minutes blending the power of long-form content with the rising mobile consumption. It feels like a combination of Instagram with YouTube hoping to bring influencers to the platform.

It’s no surprise that Instagram wanted to invest in longer videos as they seemed to account for 54% of the total video consumption on smartphones during Q1, an impressive increase from just 29% two years ago.

How is the app performing then at this early stage?

Brands are still cautious

It’s been two months since the launch of IGTV and the initial surprise is now replaced by a confusion on whether creators and brands should invest more time in it.

Right after the first video attempts, many creators and brands paused their activity trying to understand if the new medium is worth their efforts. The biggest problem up to now is to convince viewers to download and access the app on a regular basis. Moreover, there isn’t a plan for monetization yet, which makes it harder for brands and creators to justify their efforts.

Engagement seems hard and many creators are waiting for a clear direction to see how they can benefit from the app before they spend more time on it.

Instagram is trying to make the transition smoother by promoting IGTV through its main app, while it also keeps mentioning it through their promotional channels. The idea to launch it as a standalone app requires more time to help users adjust to the new channel, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t be successful.

Although it’s still in its early days, influencers admit that it can be a growing opportunity to use a new channel that can connect to Instagram’s popularity.

Brands have also been cautious up to now, but Instagram is not worried yet. According to Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, it takes time to get people used to a new channel and a new format. They are aware that it the change won’t happen overnight and the challenge is to keep the users interested.

According to Sensor Tower, the app reached #25 in US iPhone App Store, but it has now plummeted to #1497.

The stats may seem gloomy, but IGTV is certainly not over yet.

Examples of brands using IGTV

Several big brands and influencers want to try out the new app so they’ve published their first IGTV videos over the last two months.

Mercedes-Benz posted a short film on IGTV to celebrate their 130th anniversary. It’s one of the first cinematic productions featured in the new platform and the goal is to connect with consumers through the trending vertical content. 

What we can learn: IGTV can be a great channel to capture the attention of mobile users with storytelling and unique videos.

National Geographic has been among Instagram’s early partners so they’ve decided to test the platform from the very beginning with a full episode of their series ‘One Strange Rock’. The 47-minute video counts 1.35million views, while their next video that was published in August already counts more than 1.8million views.

What we can learn: use your existing Instagram audience to bring them to IGTV. If you post interesting and unique content, they will follow.

Spotify has used IGTV to promote new artists and music. They have created exclusive content for IGTV, such as ‘Scrolling in the Deep’ and ’60 Second Concert’ to bring their audience to the new platform.

What we can learn: test new ideas and create tailored content to the platform.

Nick Jonas has collaborated with Postmates and he posted an IGTV video to test the new platform.

What we can learn: Brands and creators need to promote their new IGTV to their already popular channels if they want to grow their engaged audience to the platform.

5 tips to start with IGTV

IGTV may still be at an early stage but it has the opportunity to change the idea of online media consumption. It blends the powerful engagement of Instagram with the trend of vertical videos to make an appealing platform.

There may not be any plans yet for monetization but influencers and brands admit that it seems to be an interesting and ambitious plan.

We may not know how it will work out, but it seems to be worth the try.

After all, brands and creators that will stay loyal to the app as early adopters will have more chances to master the platform if it turns into the next big trend in social media.

It doesn’t require a big investment in time to test new ideas and the expectations are still low so that you can experiment with the best ways to use the platform.

If you want to start, here are five tips to keep in mind:

  • Involve IGTV in your Instagram strategy: the best way to use IGTV is to add it to your existing Instagram strategy. Come up with creative ideas to combine your Instagram feed, Stories, and IGTV for a complete Instagram strategy with multiple benefits for your brand.
  • Set up a video strategy: go beyond Instagram with a video strategy that involves all the social platforms on which your brand is active. Explore the best platform to post each video content, and start being more strategic with your editing and publishing tactics.
  • Be creative and test new ideas: it’s the perfect time to test new ideas on IGTV. Don’t be afraid to be creative to appeal to your audience. Post unexpected ideas to build your engagement in the new platform.
  • Be patient and consistent: the problem with brands using IGTV now is that they are impatient to measure the success of their content. It’s good to keep track of the views and the interest in your videos, but you should also think of the longer impact. Keep posting videos as part of your video strategy and evaluate the success in the longer term.
  • Tell a unique story: use IGTV to share a good story. Blend the power of longer videos and the vertical format to engage a demanding mobile audience.

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