What is IGTV?
Last week, Instagram launched their most important update of the year: Instagram TV. This marks a major shift in the way the platform has been used to date, highlighting Instagram’s transition from a primarily photo-based platform to a platform that is heavily focused on video content. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom explained that teenagers are now watching 40% less television and instead turning to online videos, especially on YouTube. IGTV is designed to be Instagram’s answer to YouTube, in much the same way that Stories challenged (and eventually overcame) Snapchat. Systrom told BBC that he hopes IGTV videos will be "more engaging and perhaps more emotional" than YouTube videos.
But is it really possible for Instagram to replace YouTube, the original Influencer platform and the place where many celebrity influencers got their starts? Only time will tell, but IGTV already has some great things going for it.
Here are the basics of what you need to know about IGTV:
What is IGTV?
IGTV is a new app and feature that allows users to create videos up to one hour long. (For now, only larger creators can create 60-minute videos, but that is expected to change soon.) Like IG Stories, IGTV videos will be vertical, allowing for more natural viewing on your phone. This makes IGTV the first ever video platform to be totally-optimized for mobile. This is a smart move by Instagram, as online video is predicted to account for 78% of all mobile data traffic by 2021.
In short, IGTV is an intuitive, mobile-first, and user-created video platform.
Where can I watch IGTV?
IGTV will be viewed separately from the regular IG feed, as longer videos can be disruptive while scrolling through the homepage. Instead, IGTV will be available both as a separate app and as a feature within Instagram. Click on the orange TV button, which appears above your IG Stories feed.
How do I find content I like?
Each Instagram user can create their own channel where all of their videos will live. (Unlike Stories, IGTV videos will not disappear after 24 hours, but will remain permanently on the platform.) Beyond that, videos will be organized into three categories:
For You: This will feature videos that IG predicts you will like. Think of it as the Discover page, but for videos.
Following: Here you can find the channels of everyone you follow on Instagram. You can scroll through videos at the bottom of the screen.
Popular: Here you will find the most viewed videos on IGTV.
Videos can also be shared through IG direct message, just like Stories.
What kind of content will be available?
According to TechCrunch, “Instagram is focusing its efforts around web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed.” In other words, this is all about user-created content, not TV shows. The experience, however, is meant to feel like TV. You can check in to see what’s on, flip through channels, and keep up with your favorite shows.
From haul videos, to tutorials, to music videos, to vlogs, there's truly no limit on the exciting new content opportunities this opens up. We cannot wait to see what our influencers come up with.
Can IGTV be used for sponsored content?
While there are no ads on IGTV yet, Systrom is definitely open to the possibility. In a Q&A after the announcement, he explained that ads are “obviously a very reasonable place to end up. There will be a way for creators to make a living." One way this might work is for popular creators to be paid a portion for ad revenue on their channels, similarly to how YouTube works. In this case, there is a minimum payout threshold, meaning that you have to have a certain number of people actually view your ads before you start earning money. Another possible format would be a pay-per-click structure, where influencers can earn money for each click or each purchase that originates from their channel.
In the meantime, there is nothing preventing influencers from creating sponsored videos. In fact, I just saw my very first sponsored video on IGTV! (Shoutout to Obviously influencer Diego Leon @Dandyinthebronx.)
Remember to always disclose your relationship to a brand-- FTC guidelines still apply!
Questions about IGTV? Leave ‘em in the comments and we’ll get back to you!