The Rise of IGTV: The New TV of Mobile

It was not very long ago that Instagram launched Stories, and audiences were shocked and awed at how closely the new feature resembled the widely popular Snapchat. In fact, many were sure that within the next couple of years Snapchat would become obsolete as Instagram had now absorbed its most defining features and made them its own.

Fast forward to June 2018 with the launch of IGTV, a brand new way to use longer-form, permanent video for a deeper kind of storytelling. Just like with TV, IGTV video has channels that you can tune into to watch the original content of some of your favorite creators. Sound anything like YouTube? Yeah, we thought so too.

In a giant leap to keep with the times, which is moving in the direction of mobile video, Instagram launched IGTV to “bring audiences closer to the creators they love.” And with their massive effort to take on YouTube, it’s looking like they may just become the superstar of mobile TV. According to Cisco Visual Networking Index, as people continue to watch less TV and more digital videos, by 2021 mobile video will account for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic.

Key IGTV Feature for Businesses

So, what’s different about IGTV video and how can businesses use it to their advantage? Unlike YouTube, which presents video content in horizontal format just as you would watch it on TV, IGTV lets you view on a full screen, vertical format that is specifically built for mobile users. Perhaps the most significant feature, however, is that videos are no longer limited to one minute and can now last for up to an hour. This change encourages all content creators to be more creative with what they choose to share with their audiences and allows them to use IGTV as a forum for content that engages and entertains, rather than for just sharing short daily updates.

To house these longer videos, Instagram launched the IGTV app, although you can also access it through the TV-shaped button located at top right above Stories within the Instagram home screen. If you’re navigating within Instagram, the platform will notify you when your favorite influencers’ videos have been added to IGTV. If you’ve downloaded the app, IGTV will begin playing as soon as you open it, saving you time from having to search or browse to get started.

With IGTV video, you’ll be able to tune in to the channels of favorite influencers you follow as well as new ones you might like based on your interests. You can also opt to “Search IGTV” or browse between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching” for ease of viewership. And let’s not forget how much weight Instagram puts towards engagement. With IGTV, you have the ability to like, comment and send videos via “Direct,” so you can always stay connected with your audience.

As with YouTube, IGTV lets users subscribe to the channels of their favorite content creators, so that they can stay up-to-date and never miss a video. Creators will also have the ability to add links in the descriptions of their videos, which will also allow them to drive traffic to destinations outside of Instagram.

IGTV and Branding

As a business, it’s necessary to stay in front of your audience. With IGTV, anyone can be a creator, and the platform allows brands to really showcase various aspects of their business and the breadth of their work, without being limited by video length and format or by content. It also makes it easier for new people to discover your brand, so be sure what you’re putting out there is interesting, informative, engaging, original and representative of you and your brand. If you’re not sure what kind of content your audience is interested in watching, why not ask?

IGTV is still in its very early stages, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it evolves and how influencers and brands use it as a platform for their unique voice and message.

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