Instagram is at it again! We’ve received a bunch of revolutionary information about the platform lately, including big news about how its algorithm places new posts, and busted myths about shadowbanning. Now the platform has another big announcement, and it may be the most important news of them all. Instagram calls it IGTV, and it’s all about video.
It’s an Instagram service for watching online videos – specifically, full-screen and vertical videos like the kind you would record on your video (businesses should never use vertical videos, but that’s a subject for a different time).
Of course, Instagram has had video options for a while now, but they are limited to a minute long and designed for quick creation and viewing when a snapshot just won’t do – more along the lines of Snapchat. But this new IGTV service is created for longer videos that can last up to an hour.
Instagram is already rolling out IGTV to select areas, and within several weeks it should be available to everyone.
You will be able to access IGTV from within the traditional Instagram website. However, IGTV will also be available as a standalone app that will only play these lengthy videos. The service will be divided into channels, but the channels will simply be the Instagram accounts that are already in place.
It looks that way, doesn’t it? Instagram has many reasons to try this: They have a very large, very popular, built-in group of fashion icons, adventurers, and other influencers who may be looking to create their own vlogs.
Instagram may also want to monetize their services more clearly. Long video allows for very valuable (from Instagram’s perspective) video ads, and Instagram could note just how YouTube’s ads have evolved over time and try to do even better, if possible.
Of course, YouTube also has a lot of experience running a dedicated video platform—along with its own built-in audience—and Instagram does not. IGTV will have to navigate many tricky video service areas, such as what to do about piracy and how to punish naughty content. The video service will also require a new version of the Instagram algorithm, which will no doubt give us lots to talk about in the months to come!
The moment you launch IGTV, it starts playing (no doubt one of the most popular videos of the day). From there, users can navigate using a very simple series of tools. People will be able to look for specific videos with the For You section, which offers recommendations, or the Following section, which is all the Instagrammers you follow who also are on IGTV. Then there’s the Popular section for general popular videos, and the Continue Watching section for videos you left. Like other Instagram content, people will be able to like, comment on, and share the videos.
Instagram specifically mentions “project” videos, which appear to be about following creators with their latest fashion projects, and comedy sketches. Of course, we’re sure that they would be pleased with anything from skateboarding videos to interviewing funny cat. It will be very interesting to see what the B2B and more professional side of Instagram does with this platform. There’s a lot of room for DIY videos, how-tos, unboxings, project guides, and other types of content on Instagram.
If you have never tried to create longer videos for your brand before, that’s a great thing to work on, no matter what video platform you use! However, as with most new platforms, it’s a good idea to wait and see how the internet world reacts to IGTV, to get a better idea of how it will be used, what connotation it has, and where it fits in a general branding strategy. The good news is that you can easily repurpose videos from YouTube to IGTV, or vice-versa, so it shouldn’t be too much of a new burden to use if you have a video strategy.