Just a few days ago, Instagram made two important announcements to its community. Firstly, that it had hit the jackpot of one billion users worldwide – a figure not to be sniffed at – and secondly, that its brand new long-form video feature, IGTV, was all systems go. While YouTube is sitting pretty itself at the moment, having bust the big one billion years ago, I wonder if the video giant has had its all-seeing eye turned by Instagram as the photo-sharing site begins to flex its muscles. Here’s a little look at what the launch of IGTV is all about and, more importantly, how best your brand can use it to its advantage.

IGTV – what’s it all about?

The launch of IGTV marks a big step for Instagram, a platform that up until now has previously only allowed users to upload videos of up to 60 seconds in length. It’s an app designed specifically for watching long-form video (of up to an hour in length for verified or larger accounts, and up to 10 minutes for us regular folk) and can be used on its own or from within the Instagram app. So, the platform’s one billion strong community can make use of it right away.

There are another few points that make IGTV a little bit special. One is that, unlike YouTube, it has been created with a mobile-first audience in mind – all videos are full screen and vertical.

Another is that you flick between ‘channels’ in the same way as you would when watching TV, only in the case of IGTV, each content creator is a channel unto itself. Instagram’s business blog highlights the fact that audiences are watching less TV and are increasingly moving towards digital video, with mobile video in particular expected to make up 78% of total mobile traffic by 2021. The blog also references a 2016 study by BCG which suggests audiences now prefer to watch video from amateur content creators rather than from professionals. With these two points in mind, as you flick through the channels of IGTV, you can see it delivers a unique video experience that ticks all the boxes of this growing consumer demand.

It’s also worth mentioning that, (at the moment anyway), IGTV is ad-free, allowing Instagram to focus on boosting engagement and turning their new feature into a success. However, it is very likely that in order to make IGTV sustainable, creators will need a way to monetise their content… ad revenue shares are bound to be on the horizon should the platform take off.

How can your brand use IGTV?

IGTV offers interesting and potentially lucrative opportunities for brands, even before the ads begin to appear in the app. As well as providing a wider scope for collaborating with influencers and reaching out to new audiences, the interesting ‘TV’ feel of the medium could lend itself well to more creative types of video.

For example…

A weekly or daily show that ties in well with your personal brand. You could feature popular influencers or create your own. With Nielsen’s report that 84% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations over any other network, brands realised the power that comes with a real life person’s word. Just look at Netflix – they used the new feature to play a full hour of actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger. The video brought in 676,000 views and nearly 5,000 comments, according to Digiday.

A trip behind the scenes and away from your polished IG feed – always effective for humanising your brand. Short documentaries showcasing your company culture, interviews with different employees or exploring the process behind launching a new product or service, would lend themselves well to IGTV.

A good old ‘How To’ tutorial never gets old – educating your audience offers value and builds trust and a connection with your brand. Just take a look at some of the more popular searches on YouTube for inspiration – unboxing events, guides and reviews always come high on the search list and that kind of interest won’t disappear on IGTV, even if the ability to search directly for this information isn’t possible on the platform. However, just because it can’t be searched for, doesn’t mean the demand isn’t there. Just make sure you deliver this sort of content in an engaging way – it’s all too easy to simply click on and change the channel. Time is money, people.

Of course, if producing engaging content was that easy, the whole world would be doing it. However, with our team of writers, designers and videographers, we can provide a helping hand in this area. If you’re looking for all your content solutions provided under one roof, give us a call today.

Image credit: Alexander Supertramp / Shutterstock.com