What Brands Need to Know to Get Started

Social Media


On June 20th, 2018, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced the social network would be launching Instagram TV (IGTV), a long form video app that’s also accessible from the Explore tab. It will be rolling out over the next few weeks to global users on Android and iPhone devices.

The full-screen, vertical videos—which anyone can upload—can be up to an hour long, prompting speculation that Instagram is making a home for content typically suited to YouTube and Snapchat. At the very least, the move speaks to the dramatic rise in popularity of video content on social media.

In the same announcement, Instagram revealed that it has reached 1 billion users, tying for the place of second largest social network with YouTube (Facebook is the largest). Not surprisingly, this means brands will likely be scrambling to figure out a long-form social video strategy (if they haven’t already) and be the first to make a big splash on IGTV.

What brands need to know about IGTV

  • Videos are full screen and vertical
  • Video length is 15 seconds to 60 minutes
  • Users can watch inside the Instagram app or on the IGTV app
  • Videos play automatically for users upon opening the IGTV app
  • Creators can add “swipe up” call-to-actions on videos
  • Within the IGTV app, users have the option to browse between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular,” and “Continue Watching” tabs
  • Engagement: users can like or comment on videos, or send videos to friends in Direct
  • Creators have their own channels, like YouTube (and anyone can be a creator)
  • Videos can be uploaded to the IGTV app or the web
  • File size: up to 3.6GB
  • File type: .MP4
  • Video size: 9:16
  • Video thumbnail / cover image: .JPG

How should brands make the most of IGTV?

In his announcement, Systrom mentioned two Instagram influencers already using IGTV: LaurDIY, who is using it to post her newest DIY how-to videos, and King Bach, sharing his latest comedy skits. Beyond that, brands have a full range of possibility to work with. It would be smart to look to YouTube for inspiration and analyze what performs well there.

For example, it’s clear that educational, how-to content is well suited to long-form video content on YouTube. Maybe there’s space for your brand to create this kind of content on IGTV, in-house or with an influencer.

As with other video platforms, behind-the-scenes and Q&A type content also performs well. National Geographic, Instagram’s largest non-celebrity brand, uses video to take their followers to exciting locations like the top of a mountain or deep in the jungle. You don’t have to be a TV executive to know what kind of video content will resonate with your audience.

(But, if you’re not sure what your followers might want to see on IGTV, it wouldn’t hurt to just ask them.)

In any case, before jumping into IGTV, it will be important to build a social video strategy for your brand and get equipped with our social video toolkit. Or, if you already have a social video strategy, you’ll need to figure out how IGTV fits into it. With a built-in audience as large as YouTube, IGTV will certainly be hard to ignore.

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