On 20th June this year, Instagram announced the launch of its new platform, IGTV, which is dedicated to long-form video content.
If you’re thinking: “That sounds like YouTube”, you’re right but also not quite.
With IGTV, Instagram is going head-to-head with the king of long-form video. Built with content creators in mind, the app is meant to be an alternative to YouTube where users can share and follow interesting content.
Key Features of IGTV
One of the key differences between IGTV and YouTube is that IGTV supports vertical videos only. You can use either a phone or a DSLR camera to shoot your videos as long as it’s in the aspect ratio of 9:16. Instagram justifies this feature by saying that “it’s built for how you actually use your phone” – users don’t have to go through the hassle of flipping their phones sideways to watch a video. This sounds great at first but since IGTV users can upload content ranging from short 15-second clips to an hour-long video, we can’t help but question whether users will want to watch a 60-minute video in vertical mode.
Another difference is that IGTV starts playing videos uploaded by accounts you follow as soon as you access the platform, either through its standalone app or the built-in one on Instagram. Creators can also add multiple links in their video descriptions as well as “swipe up” call-to-actions which can help brands increase web traffic.
Although Instagram has yet to introduce a monetisation scheme and advertisements in the app, IGTV still offers a pool of opportunities for brands. It definitely has the potential to help brands boost audience engagement.
So how should brands go about using IGTV? Given that this platform is still very new, many marketers are still trying to figure out what works best. We’ve been doing some homework so that you don’t have to (you’re welcome). We looked at what early adopters are doing and compiled two lists – things we think they’re doing right; and things we feel could be improved on.
Let’s start with the latter list.
What brands could do better on IGTV
Re-uploading content directly from YouTube
As mentioned, IGTV is a platform that hosts vertical videos whereas YouTube is a platform for horizontal videos. Directly uploading videos from your YouTube channel to IGTV without editing it to fit the 9:16 aspect ratio is a bad idea. If you think people won’t notice, you thought wrong – it is painfully obvious. It also leaves a bad impression – you don’t want to be perceived as a brand that cuts corners, especially if you rely heavily on customer trust.
Treating IGTV exactly like YouTube
It’s probably the newness of the platform but many brands on IGTV are populating their account with the exact same content from their YouTube channel. There’s nothing wrong with that. It makes sense to have similar content on your IGTV account, especially if most of your audience are already on Instagram.
However, the content you would produce for YouTube is usually more polished but with IGTV, there’s more room for raw footage. The reason why Instagram Stories is so successful is because it allows users to see the informal, laid-back side of an influencer or a brand. There’s so much potential in IGTV to build upon this intimacy with your audience. Brands should take advantage of it by producing content specifically for IGTV.
“What kind of content?” you might ask. Our second list below contains some examples of the kind of content you could create.
What brands are doing right on IGTV
IGTV is the perfect platform for behind-the-scenes videos as it allows for less polished content. These videos are great for building intimacy and fostering trust between you and your target audience. It gives your audience an inside look into your process.
Some brands who are already doing this include Victoria’s Secret. They even have an introductory video to summarise the kind of content followers can expect to see on their IGTV.
Local brand, Troops on Print, are making use of IGTV to showcase the illustration process behind their designs. Though the execution could be improved, they’ve got the right idea.
Getting their followers involved
With IGTV added to the mix, Instagram now boasts a wider variety of functions for users to share content. Now you can post photos or videos in short- or long-form; either ephemerally or permanently. This gives marketers a greater variety of choices for content marketing and allows us to develop a more holistic marketing strategy on a single platform. It also gives brands new ways to interact with their target audience.
Bacardi came up with a creative way to take advantage of Instagram’s multiple features. As part of their Do What Moves You campaign, Bacardi collaborated with Les Twins to give the superstar dancers’ followers a chance to direct their new video.
Followers could use Instagram Stories’ voting function to select the choreography, lighting, location, camera movement and even the title design of the video. Les Twins’ fans were thrilled at the outcome of the final video and appreciated being a part of the project. Just look at how much positive engagement this video generated.
By making use of Instagram Stories, IGTV and influencers, Bacardi is one of the few early adopters that really made the most out of the new platform.
Since IGTV is still a new platform, there is room for brands to get experimental with their content. You never know what will work.
Hey, as long as your target audience enjoys it, right?
In summary, don’t just re-upload content from YouTube. If you must, be sure to edit it so that it fits IGTV’s aspect ratio. Try to create some content specifically for IGTV, like behind-the-scenes snippets or content that will take engagement one step further. Make use of the social nature of the platform. Like any marketing strategy, remember to keep track of how your content does in terms of engagement and pretty soon, you’ll discover what kind of content is best suited to connect you to your target audience.