On Wednesday Instagram rolled out their new dedicated video platform called IGTV. That means longer, vertical videos on the social media platform that used to be just for photos.
Instagram teased us a little while ago about offering long-form video content. I’ll admit, I wasn’t super keen on the idea at first. Was I going to scroll through my feed and suddenly run into a 10 minute vlog? That’s not the Instagram I know and love!
But Wednesday’s announcement from Instagram not only calmed my fears by not including the longer new videos in my precious feed, but it has me very excited about the expansion of Instagram.
But before you jump in an start publishing new content, here’s what you need to know about IGTV:
It’s built into the Instagram app, but there’s also a standalone IGTV app
While there is a new app for both iOS and Android, there’s also a new section of the existing app that is dedicated to IGTV content. So that means these new videos won’t clog up your regular Instagram feed. For now it currates videos based on your interests, who you follow, and what’s trending. And so far I’m addicted. It’s easy to get sucked in – just like we all do with YouTube videos. So they’ve made the platform in a way that keeps the videos coming at you.
It’s all vertical video
IGTV is aiming to be a head-on competitor of YouTube. Facebook (who owns Instagram) recently launched Facebook Watch to try and compete with Netflix. And now IGTV is setting its sights on YouTube. But with the growing popularity of vertical videos, IGTV is placing their bets on vertical. Sure, you can upload a landscape video, but it will stick out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of IGTV’s content and more importantly, it will fail to make use of all the real estate available on the screen.
For years, videographers like me, have scoffed at vertical videos because our cameras are made to shoot landscape, videos have always been landscape, and that’s the way TVs are made. A few years ago, I was one of “those people” who commented on friends’ vertical videos telling them to turn their phone when they filmed videos. But with the prevalence of smartphones, vertical video is here to stay, and I’m now on board with the trend and I’m excited to watch longer videos without having to turn my phone.
It’s meant for longer videos
For now, you’ll have a time limit on IGTV video uploads: anywhere from 10 minutes (for us common-folk) to 60 minutes (for big celebrities and brands). Instagram is trying to lure younger influences and vloggers to the platform. So don’t expect to see feature films on IGTV anytime soon, but vloggers who have published solely on YouTube might make their way over to IGTV and keep Instagram’s teen audience on the app longer.
It’s a step up from Instagram Stories
IGTV videos don’t have to be polished TV commercials or documentaries. It’s still social media, and real, authentic, raw videos are what people want to watch. But with IGTV, there’s an opportunity to produce and curate content that is higher quality than an in-the-moment Instagram Story or Live video. For brands this means any video you produce for your YouTube channel – with a little bit of planning for vertical video – can be produced for your IGTV channel as well.
What You Can Expect to See (My Prediction)
Creators should flock to the platform right away to try out the new, shiny thing. There will be no ads (for now), so that will entice viewers and provide a clean viewing experience as Instagram ramps up the new service.
At first, I think businesses and vloggers may try posting the same content to both YouTube and IGTV to test out the waters, but the real success for both IGTV and creators will come when new, original content is created specifically for IGTV and a page’s Instagram audience.
I’m very excited to see how IGTV plays (pun intended) out and how impacts both Instagram and YouTube. It may seem like just another social media channel that you have to manage now, but with some planning and effective repurposing of your content, I think IGTV has big potential for brands, individuals, and businesses alike.