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Is Instagram TV The Next Big Thing?

The last few months have been very busy for social media app Instagram. To keep things fresh and exciting, they’ve been adding updates left and right to expand user interaction. But perhaps the most exciting addition is Instagram TV (IGTV).  In addition to IGTV, there’s a new explore tab design which allows users more control over the content that they see. A feature now tells users when they have seen all new content from the past 48 hours, which is apparently healthier for everyone. Instagram Live is offering group video chat, much like Facebook messenger. Travelers can upload their GoPro videos to Instagram Stories and users can now share their music through Spotify integration. Furthermore Augmented Reality Filters, similar to those on Snapchat, have been added to Instagram Stories. Still, the question remains. Is Instagram TV the next big thing?

What is Instagram TV?

Instagram TV is “a new app for watching long-form vertical videos from your favorite Instagram creators”.

It is a separate app that can also be viewed without leaving Instagram. Videos are made to be viewed on the phone, and so they remain vertical instead of the regular widescreen views. The length each video can be up to an hour long, unlike Instagram’s one-minute restriction. Content comes from creators that users already follow and begin as soon as the app is opened. IGTV gives users suggested videos based on interests and also allows them to discover other videos through the app. There are also different channels based on the creators that users follow. Anyone can start a channel. They simply must upload a video in the app or on the web.

Is it Worth It?

Upon its release, most users started with simple uploads of a few minutes long, and none made it to the hour-long mark. It can be considered a lot like channel surfing on a regular TV, which while likely the point, may negatively impact user interaction. Not to mention, longer videos mean more data usage and there are currently no data-saving measures. With all of Instagram’s current video services, it seems like it might be a while before IGTV really makes an impact. Not to mention, there is far more competition than simply YouTube Premium (previously Youtube Red). Many other companies are either getting into or improving their video services. Snapchat, Hulu, Amazon and even Disney is looking into creating more high-end shows than what IGTV has to offer currently. IGTV has no intention of monetizing its video service any time soon, unlike so many other services, which may be a drawback for many content creators.

That said, people are watching a lot more videos mobile. YouTube sees an average of one billion mobile views per day. That’s a lot to compete with for IGTV, even despite Instagram touting it’s one billion users mark. Considering that there hasn’t been any long form video content to compete with YouTube before, it’s likely to create some upset. Instagram users are known to be loyal and the app has upset competitors, like Snapchat, before. So IGTV could be the best thing for your brand right now.

Instagram TV and Brands

Since IGTV is so new and there are currently no ads, it’s the perfect place to build your brand. There’s not really any competition due to the lack of content and so that means your business will be one of the first on the app. That means taking advantage of those one billion Instagram users who will likely use IGTV and find your video. It’s simple to use and because it’s already part of Instagram, there’s no reason not to use it if the app is already part of your social media marketing strategy. Big brands are already using the app to engage their fanbase. Some are even concluding that IGTV can be a bigger engagement center than even YouTube. Brand such as Bacardi, Chipotle and Netflix are using the app to experiment differently than simply putting up commercials. They are using it to include their fanbase.

There is some concern that IGTV will simply become a place to put their Instagram Stories to “live”.

The two video forms are meant to be separate, but even brands like Buzzfeed have repurposed their IG Stories on IGTV. However, because of the longer format of the videos, it’s noted that IGTV is meant to be for longer viewing, and not simply the short videos that Instagram is currently used to. A successful brand will be one that uses the platform in new and exciting ways to promote their message. They will bring out more of the content that their consumers are already enjoying and make it even better.

It’s too soon to tell where Instagram TV will grow from here, but there’s potential for it to be a big game changer. With some brands already realizing its usefulness and influencers creating competition for YouTube, there’s a good chance it will stick around. Once Instagram figures out what it wants to do with advertising and monetization, it’s likely the platform will see some real growth. However, you brand may already profit from using IGTV by generating even more engagement with consumers. If you’ve ever wanted to lengthen a video because it did well with your consumers, then here’s your chance.

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