- 1. Definition
- 2. IGTV Overview
- 3. Pros and Cons of IGTV
- 4. Influencers and Instagram Television
- 5. How to use Instagram new long-form, horizontal videos
Table of contents
Instagram TV, or IGTV for short, is Instagram’s most recent video-sharing application. The new feature allows the platform’s users to upload videos up to an hour long. Previously Instagram users were limited to 30-second videos.
The differences between Instagram’s new long-form video service and its old video format does not just pertain to the length of the video itself but also to the location in which it plays.
IGTV displays on a horizontal format in deep contrast to the traditional vertical video formats seen on most social media platforms. The main reason for the horizontal alignment is to make it easier for mobile users to view videos through the Instagram app. This makes sense as the majority of Instagram users access the platform through a mobile device.
Instagram’s new feature can be accessed through its own app, which is separate from the Instagram app. Although this may seem like it is a different entity altogether, users, advertisers, and influencers need not worry about having to attract a new audience as they can reach their current followers through Instagram TV once their following download the new application.
The new feature is yet another influencer marketing tool provided by Instagram that can produce higher engagement and conversions. This is a really good sign for influencer marketers as it proves that Instagram still supports this form of marketing by continuing to provide influencer management features.
It is relatively simple to access the new television format as long as the app is installed. Once installed, a user can open the app and click on a TV icon to automatically begin viewing videos from those who they follow - celebrities, public figures, brands, and other Instagram creators. The Instagram TV app also provides a dedicated app for iOS & Android users which automatically starts playing videos once the app is opened.
It's easy to upload videos through the app. However, videos made by less-popular IG users with a small following are restricted to 10-minutes at this time. This can change once their videos begin to get a high degree of engagement and their following increases.
Videos can be uploaded through the cog icon within the IGTV app. The setup process includes creating a channel and linking uploaded videos to a particular Instagram account. Instagram has promised that more video features for its TV format are on their way and that their main goal is to eventually allow all users to host full-length videos similar to TV shows.
As of right now, those looking to use IG’s video features to make money on their videos, similar to the way YouTube compensates its users through their video creations, will not be able to do so as the platform is not currently planning on running any ads on uploaded videos at this time. If users want to make money through Instagram TV at this time, it would be in their best interest to use this application as an influencer marketing tool to provide more engaging content for their following, as well as to help them increase their audience.
Pros and Cons of IGTV
Instagram is currently encouraging its users to create longer videos through its TV application by providing them with a number of tutorials and support. That being said, it appears that Instagram is going to provide video creators with many advantages so that the platform can quickly switch to somewhat of a story-based video channel. However, there are some disadvantages, to using Instagram TV, many of which may be corrected by the platform in the future.
The Pros & Cons of Instagram’s long-video service can be seen below.
- Links: Through IGTV, users can link to their blog posts, affiliate sales pages, squeeze pages, and product pages in their videos’ description. While Instagram may not be paying their users directly through long-form, horizontal video creation, they will allow them to be compensated indirectly through other marketing channels.
- Clickable Hashtags: Very similar to the description links discussed above, Instagram Television creators can link to various pages outside of the platform through their video Hashtags and drive traffic for more leads and conversions.
- Higher Engagement: Videos beat out pics and posts for their ability to engage, influence, and convert their viewers. Using longer videos that are catered to a particular niche following will only add to these three benefits and establish more brand loyalty which equates to more sales in the future.
- Less Competition: As this feature is relatively new, there are not that many brands that have taken advantage of long-form video as of yet. This means that an influencer, marketer, or brand can use their creative skills to really separate themselves from the competition. As with all new features on all social media platforms, the restrictions are less in the beginning and mount up as time goes by. This is the right time to establish oneself as the go-to video brand in a given niche.
- Automated Influencer Management: There is no need to re-establish a following with Instagram’s long-form TV as the app automatically integrates with one’s Instagram account. What is more, videos can be linked to IG Stories, giving influencers higher engagement rates all through a single tap of an icon.
- 10-Minute Rule: As was stated earlier, unless an Instagram user already has a mass-following, they will only be given 10 minutes to work with. While this is far better than the former 15-60 second options on IG’s traditional video format, micro-influencers with a smaller audience will not have the opportunity to engage their followers with as much video content as they might want to due to this time restriction.
- No Tags: Unfortunately, right now this feature does not allow a viewer to tag an influencer or brand decreasing reach somewhat.
- Limited Editing: Once a video is published, there is no way to go back and edit it. This is really a drawback as a video creator must get it right the first time and will not get a second chance to fix things that may need fixing once uploaded.
- No Skipping: Viewers cannot skip back & forth while watching a video. This can be a real inconvenience, especially when someone has already viewed the video and only wants to re-watch a certain part of it again.
Influencers and Instagram Television
Influencers and brands have a near unlimited range of possibilities on how to engage their audience through long-form TV on Instagram. From How-To videos to comedy skits, the video content is really only bound to the creativity of level of its creator.
Having an hour to create and produce a video gives influencers a lot more room to showcase their talents. Even influencers who are only allowed 10-minutes videos can do a lot more with that then they could with the former half-a-minute rule. They just have to take some inspiration from shorter YouTube videos that are doing really well among their followers.
Instagram’s new TV service not only allows current influencers, advertisers, and brands to extend their reach with longer and more entertaining & engaging content, but also allows those who never even thought about using Instagram as an influencer marketing channel to do so as long as they have a creative spark and can put out popular video content.
While many Instagram skeptics often cite the fact that Instagram puts out too many features on a regular basis, its new long-form TV capabilities are actually something influencers have been asking for some time as it decreases the limitations on time and increases the ability to provide users with a better viewing experience.
Ultimately, this new influencer marketing feature is likely to make great headway among influencers who are into video production as they can now express their creativity in a more practical and relevant fashion. This will also help advertisers who use influencers to get their message across as video content sells better than any other marketing medium to date. More content equals higher engagement, which equals higher conversions.
How to use Instagram new long-form, horizontal videos
When using any social media feature, be it new or old, there are certain best practices to follow in order to get the most out of it as well as to stay in compliance with the platform which supports it.
Below are some of the more relevant best practices to employ when using Instagram Television:
- Choose Long-Form Video Content: With long-form videos, Instagram users now have anywhere between 10-60 minutes to get their message across. That being said, it is best to focus on no more than 3 video formats as changing styles too often will only confuse followers and drive them away. Some examples of videos users can employ through the platform’s TV feature are How-To’s, product reviews, and behind-the-scenes episodes.
- Upload Regularly: In order to foster continuous engagement among followers, influencers should upload long-form videos on a timely schedule. This does not mean daily, but just enough to keep followers coming back for more.
- Edit Before Uploading: As the new TV format does not allow a user to edit their videos once uploaded it is important to do so beforehand.
- Use Unique Cover Photos: There are two ways a user can choose a cover photo for their long-form video: default photo taken from the video itself or uploaded vertical photo chosen by the user. It is better to choose the second option as it is it will be more unique and stand out better than a generic picture taken randomly from the video. With uploaded videos, a user can use an overlay text to make the image stand out even more.