Is Your Brand Ready for Instagram's IGTV?

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The ever-evolving Instagram has yet again launched a new feature. Dubbed Instagram TV (IGTV), the new video app (also available within Instagram itself) serves as a new platform for long-form, vertical video content.

If you're active on Instagram, you might have already seen a few creators trying out this new feature. After making the obvious comparisons to YouTube and Snapchat, you also might have seen a new opportunity for long-form video marketing.

Is your brand ready to dive in and make the most of this new pathway for social video? Here's what you'll need to know about how IGTV works and how you can seize on the potential.

What Is IGTV? How Does It Work?

Instagram is positioning IGTV as an "evolution" of mobile video. Smartphones continue to dominate the world of video consumption. IGTV has the potential to become a platform of choice (with a substantial user base) thanks to several innovations.

Smartphones continue to dominate the world of video consumption. IGTV has the potential to become a platform of choice (with a substantial user base) thanks to several innovations.

The first "hook" with IGTV is their insistence on vertical videos. "It's how you actually use your phone," Instagram asserts. While that might be off-putting if you're a brand used to horizontal videos, Instagram could be onto something here. Brands were able to seize upon Instagram Stories -- another vertical option -- so there's a precedent for vertical content having real impact.

Don't confuse IGTV for Instagram Stories, though. The second "hook" with IGTV is the similarity with traditional television. When you open the app, IGTV plays automatically (like a TV would). IGTV also has channels, where any creator (or brand) can upload content and connect with users.

You can scroll through channels to find something new, and bookmark the ones you like to check out later. There's a downside here, however, in that search capabilities are currently limited. At present, there are no options to search for videos based on genres/topics. This could limit marketing exposure, but, hasn't stopped brands from jumping in and experimenting.

 Photo by  Levi Elizaga  on  Unsplash

How Brands Are Harnessing the Platform

There are no ads on IGTV, yet, so current brand strategies involve making the most of the platform without them. For some, that has boiled down to repurposing content that would otherwise have made a decent Instagram Story.

Others have taken a more inventive approach, however, like Chipotle. Their deliberately cheesy promotional video, touting their "endless combinations," was one of the first "all new" videos to hit IGTV. Gucci, on the other hand, has taken to posting high-end videos from their fashion shows.

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Then there's BBC Earth, who decided to take full advantage IGTV's hour-long video cap and post a forty-minute video of life beneath the ocean. It's already racked up 365,000 views, showing there's an audience for long-form video on Instagram, willing to pounce on the right kind of content.

And Billboard has been smart to add their "How It Went Down" series in vertical form to the new platform. It's the perfect way to engage with artists, songwriters, and fans by giving them a longer version of content they already want on an app they spend most of their time on anyway. Are these brands giving you any ideas for how you can use IGTV? 

What to Remember While Getting Started

Chances are you already know what kind of content your audience craves. IGTV represents a new method of video delivery, however, so you'll need to find how it works best for your brand.

Don't rely on rehashing content you'd have otherwise used for your Instagram Stories. Instead, focus on fresh videos that make use of the increased time limit. Remember to shoot with vertical framing in mind, and try your hand at a bit of experimentation.

The platform is still new and there's not yet an overwhelming deluge of content. This is prime time to stand out and increase your brand's reach with social video offerings that break the mold.

If you need any suggestions on how IGTV might work for your brand, download this list for ideas! If you have any questions, comment below.