Home SMM IGTV for Business in 2019. Part I: What is IGTV

IGTV for Business in 2019. Part I: What is IGTV

by Mary Ivanova

Case Study: How Brands Use IGTV

In this three-post series, we will be talking about Instagram’s new long-form vertical video platform. Launched in June of 2018, IGTV is a fast developing medium Instagram is dedicating a lot of effort to. Let’s see how you can utilize the tool for your business in 2019.

If you’ve been using Instagram in the past 10 months, you may have noticed the tiny red TV icon at the very top of your screen – that’s where IGTV videos live. Additionally, Instagram introduced functionality to post IGTV video previews to user’s feed, as well as Story.

It’s a convenient format as it allows for continuous watching (like in Stories) and accommodates vertical phone screens by design. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What is IGTV

IGTV for Business in 2019. Part I: What is IGTV

Simply put, IGTV is YouTube for phones. It allows users to enjoy video without distractions – users only see the full screen video as they watch. Browsing happens on top of the content they are watching.

IGTV key characteristics:

  • vertical
  • at least 15 seconds long
  • immersive
  • currently ad free

IGTV for Business in 2019. Part I: What is IGTV

Tarte Cosmetics IGTV channel

And these are the main technical characteristics for an IGTV video:

  • Video length between 15 seconds and 10 minutes (max file size 650 MB).
  • Large accounts (verified and/or with 10,000 followers) can upload videos up to 1 hour long (max file size 3.6 GB).
  • Ratio – 9:16.
  • File type – .mp4.
  • Cover image specs: .jpeg, under 4 MB, 1:1.55 ratio, 420 by 654 pixels and up.

IGTV for Business in 2019. Part I: What is IGTV

BuzzFeed IGTV channel

What can you use IGTV for

IGTV is a very mobile-friendly environment, so think what your target audience may enjoy in that setting.

The minimalist, video-first interface allows for an immersive experience. There’s no white space, accept in the comment section. You don’t have to account for the surroundings of your video.

What you might want to consider is more extensive editing – it will help keep the viewers engaged with your content.

Here are the types of videos most frequently found on IGTV:

  • tutorials
  • product demonstrations
  • news reports
  • videos from events
  • interviews
  • vlogs
  • informational videos
  • recycled video content produced for other channels like YouTube or Facebook

IGTV for Business in 2019. Part I: What is IGTV

Netflix IGTV channel

IGTV vs other platforms

Let’s take a quick look at how IGTV differs from some of the popular social video formats you might have been using.

IGTVYouTubeFacebook WatchTwitterVimeo
vertical-firstyesnoyesnono
mobile-firstyesnoyesnono
long-form yesyesyesnoyes
next video autoplayyesyesyesnoyes
custom coveryesyesyesnoyes
adsnoyesyesnoyes
searchby channelyesyesnoyes
parent platformInstagramYouTubeFacebookTwitterVimeo

As you can see, IGTV most closely resembles Facebook Watch. Both vertical, long-form video formats are designed for their content to be consumed on mobile and are integrated into a bigger social network.

The four key differences between IGTV and Facebook Watch are:

  1. Length limits. Users can upload videos of up to 240 minutes long to Facebook Watch, while IGTV offers maximum video length of 60 minutes for verified and popular users and 15 minutes for everyone else.
  2. Ads. Facebook Watch features ads, while IGTV is currently ad-free. IGTV monetization seems imminent though.
  3. Audience. If your audience is mostly on Instagram (where IGTV lives), Facebook (where Facebook Watch lives) isn’t going to be a great marketing platform for your videos.
  4. Cross promotion. There are 3 native ways to promote IGTV posts: feed and Story previews, Highlights button on your profile. Posting videos to Facebook Watch requires a Page, and all videos appear there.

Pros and Cons of Investing Resources in IGTV

Here are the main pros of using IGTV to grow your business in 2019:

  • Early adopters get the most boost
  • No ads
  • Useful for businesses with massive Instagram following
  • Mobile-friendly

But, let’s be realistic, there are some cons to look out for:

  • Hasn’t taken off yet
  • Unique content production is resource-heavy
  • Search by channel only

Closing thoughts

We can outline the two reasons to join IGTV today. Either is good enough to start posting yesterday:

First, you have a reasonably large and engaged following on Instagram.

Second, you’ve got the resources to produce unique content that would 1) appeal to your audience and 2) will be convenient to consume in a vertical format.

In our next post in the series we will be studying examples of brands that successfully conquered IGTV format and learning the key lessons for a successful IGTV channel! Stay tuned 🙂

UPD. And here is part 2.

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