In past episodes, we’ve discussed how much we like Instagram, the best ways to use it, and the important information about Instagram’s news feed and algorithm. Now it’s time for Sarah, Ashley and Aleks to discuss IGTV, Instagram’s mostly new TV service.

Back in June 2018, Instagram announced a massive new project they called IGTV. While Instagram had made room for short video clips in the past, IGTV launched as a full video platform, available both as a standalone app and an integral part of the Instagram experience. It’s purpose was to compete more directly with video platforms like YouTube, providing a spot where people can record and post their own videos up to an hour like, creating video channels to market themselves…or other brands.

Obviously Instagram has put a lot of work into IGTV, but brands are still learning how to use it. Today the group discusses what to make of IGTV, and how it should be used.

IGTV is Appealing to Influencers, But Only in Certain Ways

Influencers who are already popular on Instagram are certainly using IGTV, but many of them are using IGTV as an extension of what they were doing before. This includes showing behind the scenes, uncut video of what they are already doing, more extended explanation of their current work, and more in-depth adventures that followers can enjoy from beginning to end. It’s cool, but there’s not a lot of evidence of individual creators jumping onto IGTV to create entirely new content…at least, not yet.

IGTV Already Showcases Some Major Brands (For Now)

A lot of brands are involved in IGTV for their marketing as well, including many big names. Netflix, for example, has an hour long video of Cole Sprouse eating a burger. Chipotle has a brief video of someone unboxing a food order. Louis Vuitton, in perhaps the most practical application, has a vertical video showing off the latest styles from a major fashion show. Buzzfeed is porting some of its videos onto IGTV, too.

This is exciting, but it’s important to take it with a grain of salt. As we’ve discussed on previous podcasts, this happened in the first year of Facebook Live as well, because Facebook was offering big subsidies for major brands to put their content on the service. It would be surprising if something similar wasn’t going on here, in which case it’s important to see how the big brands act in the long term.

And There are Many Options for a Business to Use IGTV

If you want to jump into video ASAP and establish yourself – and you already have a lot invested in Instagram – then experimenting with IGTV is a great idea. Social Media Today has a good rundown of how to begin on IGTV. Video ideas are similar to the ideas you would have for YouTube or similar services, including product demos, interviews, webinars, and repurposed content.

It’s Still Unclear How Much of a Success IGTV Is – And How Long It Will Last

Since IGTV is still relatively new, it can be difficult to decide exactly how popular it is (Instagram hasn’t released much hard data yet). Usage indicators for the IGTV app show that use has fallen quickly throughout the summer but appears to be picking up toward the end of September.

If we had to guess, we’d say that a lot of brands and influencers are waiting to see just how IGTV does before starting to move content over to it. Those who already have a strong audience on YouTube don’t have much reason to switch yet (and YouTube just released vertical videos, so a lot of people are experimenting with those). Ultimately, the rest of the year is a make or break time for Instagram, and we’re eager to see how they perform.

We would love to hear from you and if your business is using IGTV? How has your experience been so far? Even if you don’t use much IGTV, do you find yourself watching it at all? What has that experience been like? Connect with us on social media @21handshake and let us know. Did you live this episode? We’d really appreciate if you gave us five stars on iTunes and shared with a friend who may be interested in IGTV!