IGTV: Is Instagram’s new channel right for brands?


Image as part of post on IGTV by food, drinks & hospitality social media agency Clarity Comms

With a staggering 1 billion users, it is no doubt that Instagram has become the ultimate photo sharing platform. From uploading pictures of healthy lunches to fun selfies on wild nights out, users are always keeping their followers updated. Instagram hasn’t shied away from constantly evolving by launching features such as videos, stories and Instagram Live. However, now it’s time for the next chapter…IGTV. So what is it and how does it work? Clarity intern Nikita Chumber takes a look.

IGTV: how it works

CEO Kevin Systom declared that it’s ‘time for videos to move forward and evolve’. So what exactly is IGTV and what makes it different? Launched at an event in sunny San Francisco, IGTV allows users to create and share content from 1 minute up to an hour. It has been designed to enable users to watch longer content. IGTV is accessible on Instagram and also in its own individual app.

Consisting of a range of tabs such as ‘following’, ‘for you’ and ‘continue watching’, you are able to navigate your favourite channels and easily pick up from where you left off. Another useful feature is that it automatically plays when the app is open. This means that there is no need to faff around trying to find your previous video.

IGTV also features a user friendly vertical format, which contrasts greatly from its rivals such as YouTube and Facebook Watch, as you no longer have to turn your phone around to watch videos. Just like on Instagram, you are still able to comment, like and send videos through direct messages.

What does IGTV mean for businesses?

It has already been successfully utilised by huge brands, such as Louis Vuitton who recently showcased their creative director’s brand-new collection on the platform, meaning users could get the full glam experience from the comfort of their phone.

Brands such as Tastemade and Food Network have also created channels  on IGTV. They’ve shown that IGTV is ideal for sharing a series of on-going videos. It is useful for showcasing product launches and demos, as well as behind the scenes and exclusive events and clips, suggesting IGTV is applicable to both businesses and content creators.

It has been designed to allow businesses to get closer to audiences and be discovered. Instagram claims that it allows brands to ‘build stronger connections with potential customers’. They also claim IGTV lets brands ‘showcase other dimensions of their business’. To make full use of IGTV and create a successful channel, it is imperative that users create high quality, well-edited content. In this respect, it’s no different to any other social channel.

At the moment content must be created on a phone via IGTV or Instagram. That’s fine for individual content creators but might be more of an issue for brands. Facebook Live’s attraction to brands stems in part from the opening up of the API. This has allowed third parties to create useful tools that allow for professional filming and editing prior to broadcast. IGTV will need to add these functions if they want more brands to embrace the channel.

IGTV: another channel for brands

The arrival of IGTV gives brands another channel to reach, engage and activate its audiences. It’s confirmation that video continues to grow and that consumers love this type of content. Consumers seem to be rising to the challenge of creating filmed content too. That’s all well and good but it’s not without challenges.

Brands need to consider how IGTV fits with the overall social strategy. What are the implications for a brand’s overall social mix? If IGTV works, do they move away from their Twitter or Facebook pages?Businesses should definitely avoid using it tactically or simply because it’s new.

The reality is that brand owners will need to test IGTV to see its effectiveness and gauge the costs v benefits. It’s also too early to see if Instagram opens IGTV up to advertisers. Whilst a few brands have already leapt on board, others will watch, wait and see before committing to IGTV.

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