“IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators”
Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO of Instagram.
Instagram’s new platform and YouTube competitor is here. As well as being a standalone app, IGTV, you can also watch content from your favourite creators in the Instagram app.
What is IGTV?
IGTV is Instagram’s new competitor to YouTube and a new way to watch content online.
eMarketer predicted that 78% of video content will be viewed on mobile devices in 2018. They also expected YouTube to attract two-thirds of all digital video viewers in 2018, though the launch of IGTV may change this prediction.
Unlike YouTube, IGTV is made of all vertical videos – this makes a lot of sense as it’s specifically targeting users of a mobile platform who already create and view vertical content with Stories.
Anyone can create their own IGTV channel in the standalone app with a maximum of one IGTV channel per Instagram account. Most users will only be able to post videos up to ten minutes in length. Larger accounts can post up to one hour of content but Instagram announced that in the future there will be no limit.
Just like with other content on Instagram, channels and videos based on your likes and who you follow will appear in your explore page. Trending videos will show up on the popular channel and, like Instagram Stories, you can share IGTV content direct to your friends through messages.
Right now there are no ads as Instagram are focused on building engagement and creating a user base. However, there will be in the future so that creators can make a living off this new platform and creators will be able to post links on videos as a way to drive traffic to their other online content.
IGTV is also set up to allow you to view your Insights on each video so you can track engagement.
IGTV is a YouTube competitor
Instagram is very clearly looking to be an online, mobile content provider and not a new platform to rival Netflix or similar streaming services.
According to TechCrunch, “Instagram is focusing its efforts around web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed.”
The announcement of IGTV also had prominent YouTube celebrities such as Lele Pons showcasing the new platform in what seems like a move to persuade popular YouTube identities to move onto IGTV.
This is great for channels and users already on Instagram.
There will be no pressure to produce super high quality, studio level productions. Focus on content and use simple editing software like iMovie to produce videos for your channel.
IGTV only shows vertical videos
Technically you could upload a horizontally shot video but that probably wouldn’t be the best idea. Instagram has been training people to shoot vertical content with Instagram Stories and this is just one step further.
As well as vertical video making a much better viewing experience on mobile, it also makes it easier for anybody to create content from their phone. Building on the points made in the previous section, this allows people to produce content that is natural and doesn’t have the too processed, polished studio look.
However, this will be frustrating to many businesses who may have to shoot video content in two different aspect ratios if they are planning to upload videos to multiple social media platforms.
IGTV is an interactive viewing experience
Whilst watching IGTV content, viewers can like and comment on them similar to live videos. Creators can add links to their videos so you can interact with them on other platforms as well.
You can also swipe up to search for more videos by category and swipe across to skip to the next video. We’re expecting many more features to be added that allow more interaction with content.
Like with other content in your Explore tab, IGTV videos are curated to your preferences and likes. The three IGTV categories help you distinguish between videos that Instagram thinks you will be interested in.
“For You” shows the videos that the Instagram algorithm believes you will enjoy. This is based on people you follow, posts you’ve liked or commented on and other data Instagram has on your activity.
“Following” shows the videos from all the accounts you follow on Instagram – if you follow someone on IGTV you’ll also follow them on Instagram too. “Popular” shows the current trending videos on IGTV.
This is just the start…
This is Instagram’s first move into long-form streaming content so we’re sure there are going to be new features coming out regularly. We already know ads/monetization and unlimited video length will be rolling out soon and we’re excited to see what is announced next.