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Brighton Journal | 26th May 2020

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What We Need to Know About Instagram’s IGTV

What We Need to Know About Instagram’s IGTV
Georgia Hansen

Forget everything you think you know about social media platforms. Youtubers, Instagramers, and even old fashioned Facebook users recognise one thing: IGTV is a thing and yes, it’s here to stay. 

Written by Inês Ramos

To be (a fan) or not to be? Whether you’re a regular user or an influencer, this article is for you!

Author: Inês Ramos – Journalist (MA)

Everyone knows that technology has one main lover: Millenials. Raised in the 90s, they are used to be in permanent touch with tech devices since they were preteens. It’s as if the(ir) world spins faster: they are proactive, innovative, ingenious and experts when it comes to communicating, chatting, texting, typing, and sending messages. This means that when a new platform is born – in this vast ocean of apps we are drowned in every day – they are the first ones to critically test it, adapt to it (or not),and make it a relevant part of their social (internet) life. 

Throughout the years, Facebook has been the true leader in the charts, being “the Ace” of social media, leading in numbers. However, we are now witnessing what is often referred to as “the Modern Battle: Instagram VS Facebook VS Youtube”. Even though nowadays there are approximately 2.37 billion monthly active users on Facebook and around 1 billion on Instagram, according to Social Media Today,, Instagram is considered to have “better statistics in engagement and content sharing”. It is estimated that nearly 500 million people interact with Instagram Stories every day (yes, you read it properly: e-ve-ry day!). 

With an advertising potential reach of 843 million people – again, according to Social Media Today – and 63% of users logging in at least once a day, it makes perfect sense for this app to invest on being ambicious, more complete and versatile in order to respond to its users’ needs. It’s a competitive world out there and this applies to social media apps as well. In this context, IGTV rises like a phoenix – a 2.0 version of Instagram’s “démodé” 1-minute long videos.

IGTV – a new long-form video platform – arrives in our screens and it promises to make our lives easier, more fun, and practical. Instagram has described this feature as the one where “the creators are the channels”: from a millenial’s perspective, why have dozens of apps on my iPhone if most of my social media needs can be fulfilled, compiled, and organised in one app only? IGTV is made for smartphones, unlike Youtube. This allows our creative minds to film and edit videos quicker while still reaching our dearest followers! 

So, whether you’re a regular “anonymous” user with a private account or a creative, a vlogger, an influencer or a business owner, here is everything you need to know about IGTV: 

Is there an IGTV app or can I use my Instagram app as usual?

There is an IGTV app, but videos can be uploaded on your Instagram app. The difference is that if you use the Instagram app, your IGTV videos will appear on your feed. 

Should I upload horizontal or vertical videos?

Vertical orientation is the way! The plan is for the videos to take up the whole smartphone screen, the same way Instagram Stories do. As Enterpreneur.com points out, an IGTV video is supposed to be “navigable, like television”. 

How long can the videos be?

It depends on the number of followers you have! Users with 10k followers or more will be able to share up to one-hour long videos, whereas everyone else has a 10-minute limit. 

Why does it feel like IGTV knows me?

It does! Spooky, I know. IGTV algorithm works similarly to algorithms in other apps: it analysis your preferences and past viewing habits, which allows the app to carefully select content you are ought to like! 

Where can I access someone’s IGTV content?

That’s as easy as 1,2,3! Underneath the user’s bio, on their Instagram feed, you can access all IGTV content. The best part is that you are more than welcome to “like” IGTV videos, share them on your stories or through direct messages. Seems simple enough? Well, it is. Think of Instagram as a starfish and its different tools – pictures, stories, DMs, boomerangs – are the arms. IGTV just happens to have joined this team of five tools! 

IGTV VS Youtube

Which platform is better for longer videos?

We already know IGTV videos can be between 1 to 10 minutes long or an hour long, depending on the number of followers. By default, Youtube videos can be no longer than 15 minutes, unless you have a verified account, then it can go up to twelve hours. While on Youtube you can upload videos in distinct file formats (MOV, MP4, AVI), on IGTV it has to be saved in the MP4 file format. 

If Youtube videos can be longer, why choose IGTV as a platform to promote my business?

According to the digital marketing institute “your audience probably has a 1-minute attention span”. Short and simple is often better than long and elaborate. If you want to get the message through nice and clear, IGTV is a much better platform to start up your business. 

Does IGTV have insights and audience ratings?

Yes! This is a clever way to find out about your audience’s engagement and even view- through rates, which is crucial for every business. You will be able to see what works better for your audience: a time-lapsed every day makeup routine or a 10-minute long makeup tutorial, for example. Youtube will also analyse all your insights and is the best option if you need information in-depth about how your videos are being absorbed by the audience! 

So… can I post the same videos on Youtube and IGTV?

Regardless being two great platforms, the content needs to be distinct. IGTV channel is at its best when used for dynamic, captivating and attractive content: the aim is to get the followers’ attention. Long tutorials will not be crowd pleasers on IGTV, therefore the content creator needs to have a strategy and design the videos for the specific demographic the brand is targeting: According to Liza Brown’s article on Instagram Marketing, videos between 2 and 5 minutes are still the most popular on IGTV. 

Can I make Money on IGTV?

No. At least, not yet. Most influencers rely on sponsorships from brands, but they can not make money from IGTV. Youtubers can monetise their content and even make a living. However, let’s not forget that to make money on youtube you need at least one thousand subscribers and 4,000 hours viewing time! Let’s face it, it’s not for everyone. IGTV can help influencers in other ways: increasing engagement and dynamically promoting their content. 

Can IGTV help myself or my business to gain a renewed image?

Sure! The key is consistency. Keep your identity, what makes you/your brand unique. Choose your style wisely, try having nice visuals and an aesthetically pleasing layout. Use hashtags – relevant ones! – able to get you the SEO traction you need. This means your content may appear first when a user searches for products like the ones you are selling/promoting. 

Are famous companies using IGTV?

If this wasn’t an efficient and trustworthy platform then companies like Netflix wouldn’t give it their time of day, right? It so happens that Netflix has used IGTV to feature a trailer for their brand new Love Island style show – Too Hot To Handle. Furthermore, being creative and entertaining, the company has also released never seen before bloopers of the show I’m Not Ok With This. 

Even though Youtube is years ahead of IGTV, only in the future will we know the full potential of this Instagram brainchild. So far, only a fraction of Instagram users is engaging in IGTV. However, this happened to the Instagram stories when they first came in to our lives. Are Youtube and IGTV rivals? Not really. They both have similar purposes, but they are not quite the same. Each social media user will pick the best platform(s) that better suits their needs, interests and personal/ professional goals. If your dream is to become an established content creator, start your own Youtube channel. If you are easy going and like to keep it simple when it comes to creating an “all smartphone based content”, why not give IGTV a shot?

Featured image: © Salman Aslam

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