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Why We’re Tuning in to IGTV

Recently, Instagram launched a long-form video app called IGTV. Unlike OG Instagram, content length is no longer an issue — some creators are even able to make 60-minute videos. Don’t want to download another app? Don’t worry — IGTV content is also available on the native Instagram app. Here’s the lowdown…

  • HOW IT WORKS: Like Facebook, Instagram autoplays content from people you follow or content curated from an algorithm based on viewing habits and interests. Users can swipe down through videos or swipe up to the browse tab, where they can find videos from people they follow, popular videos on the platform, and even videos they’ve started but haven’t yet finished.
  • WHO CAN HAVE A CHANNEL: With IGTV, anyone can upload content. For now, only creators with “large followings” and verified accounts can post hour-long videos, while those with smaller followings can post content up to 10 minutes.
  • A TWO-WAY STREET: Similar to content on Instagram, IGTV supports likes, comments, and sharing videos through messages.
  • EARLY ADOPTERS: Celebrity influencers such as Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez, and Kevin Hart have already uploaded content to the platform, driving over a million views each.


Why Fullscreen Anticipates Success

  • YOUNGER GENERATIONS WATCH MORE ONLINE VIDEO THAN TV: 71% of teens watch at least 3 hours of content on their phones daily* and they’re consuming more video on their phone than on any other device. Right now, they turn to YouTube as their top form of entertainment, with 70% saying they watch YouTube for more than two hours a day**. We anticipate IGTV becoming a strong competitor for this generation’s viewing time. With vertical, mobile-first video, IGTV content will fit seamlessly into teen’s mobile-driven binge-watching habits(?).
  • INSTAGRAM IS A PLATFORM OF INFLUENCE: It’s a place for users to find inspiration and entertainment from their favorite influencers. Digital creators – especially those we anticipate seeing on IGTV – already have loyal, built-in audiences. For an influencer, this isn’t starting a YouTube channel from scratch; this is connecting with an already-engaged audience in new ways.
  • MONETIZATION WILL LIKELY HAPPEN: Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom made it clear that IGTV will not have ads at launch, but mentioned it’s “obviously a reasonable place [for ads] to end up.” So, with a built-in video audience, we can expect to see more content from creators and eventually more premium ad space for brands.


How Brands Can Play

  • WHAT ABOUT YOUR EXISTING PLATFORM STRATEGY? Many brands already have an established Instagram strategy. IGTV should be an extension of that — especially since brands can link out to specific landing pages from IGTV video in a way that’s similar to Instagram stories. Despite the “TV” in its title, audiences on Instagram have grown to appreciate the less-than-polished content on the platform.  This means brands don’t necessarily need to incur high production costs to participate.
  • WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR YOUTUBE PROGRAMMING STRATEGY? IGTV is another long-form storytelling opportunity, but as long as the money remains on YouTube, we anticipate IGTV becoming a secondary focus for influencers and brands. Rather than double-posting videos to both platforms, we predict IGTV will become the place for bonus videos or behind-the-scenes content. Also, an IGTV channel could be a perfect place to extend previous brand partnerships on YouTube to new audiences. Creators such as Eva Gutowski are saying they will post “mini versions of…YouTube videos”. When monetization does inevitably hit the platform, the successful YouTube creators will need to decide whether they publish in both places or focus on the platform with the highest return.

Instagram, a platform that was once dedicated to aspirational and static images, is taking a big bet on social video — and we think it’s a smart one. If early adoption is any indicator of future success, we predict IGTV will compete strongly with YouTube and Facebook Watch for brands’, creators’, and fans’ time.

*Google Report – Gen Z: A Look Inside Its Mobile-First Mindset
**Trifecta Research – Generation Z Media Consumption Habits: True Digital Natives