IGTV: The future of video?

Another week, another new release! Since the Instagram app launched in 2010 it has seen many changes. Once a platform to share square images with funky filters and the odd hashtag or two, now a creative space for bloggers, influencers and celebrities alike to post content based around their lives. The creation of ‘Stories’ has fuelled the blogger culture and influencer outreach has grown considerably, as sharing and reposting fun, engaging and informative content is now easier than ever.

The history of Instagram

In 2013 the function to record video was launched, allowing users to share moving image of us to 30 seconds. 2016 saw the creation of ‘Stories’ – 15-second video or still images that last for a 24 hour period before disappearing, which 400 million people are now actively using. As we hit the mid-way point of 2018, Instagram hits 1 billion users. This figure is an increase from its 200 million followers last September. To celebrate the milestone, the creators of Instagram reimagined what video is on mobile and ‘IGTV’ was born.

Said to be “Instagram’s most exciting feature to date”, it has already put to good use by the likes of best-selling author Giovanna Fletcher and Australian beauty and lifestyle blogger Pia Muehlenbeck. Giovanna – wife to McFly band member Tom Fletcher – has this week shared a 2:51 minute video of herself and Tom singing together. Before IGTV was released this wouldn’t have been possible due to the 60-second limit. YouTube sensation Pia is a German-born travel vlogger, social influencer and owner of ‘Slinkii’ – a luxe sportswear and swimwear brand. Her IGTV currently features some past posts that have been pulled across from her YouTube channel. Watch this space on where IGTV will go from here…

Creators from across the globe have already hopped on the bandwagon and are sharing their content with us through the latest update. To see some examples, check out the work of Venezuela born internet personality, actress, and singer Le Le Pons and YouTuber Bryce Xavier.

How it works

The new function has been built into the existing app, adding a new icon to the top of our Instagram screens. The feature allows you to watch videos without posts, feeds or stories getting in the way. The content of your favourite Creators appears instantly in the app, allowing you to add comments and check out the rest of the channel from within the same screen.

How does it differ from the Instagram we’re used to? 

One of the main distinguishing features is that unlike traditional Instagram, you can post content up to one hour in length, where this is set to only one minute on the feed at present. Another contrast is that video footage is ‘mobile first’, meaning it can only be viewed vertically which Instagram says “is how we naturally use our phones”. The video footage fills up the entire screen leaving no wasted space and with no need to rotate the screen, content is easily accessible.

How will this change we use the app we hear you say? At present scrolling is a rapid process, and the majority of the time is a force of habit rather than a want to browse the feed. We only hover over the image for a matter of seconds and double tapping takes no time at all. Story videos are only 15 seconds long and most of the time we swipe past them and only watch a snippet if it isn’t engaging. So, the question is, will IGTV force us to spend more time staring at our mobiles than we already do?

Why has it been created?

Since the app was launched 8 years ago, statistics show that teenagers are watching 40% less television. Although Instagram started out as a photo app, moving image now heavily features in stories and feeds. Instagram is now said to be showing 60% more video content than a year ago. The app’s owner, Facebook, has recently launched a whole array of different initiatives as they have been very keen on becoming a video platform themselves. Not all of them have been successful. For example; adverts placed next to video content cost far more, so are more valuable to Facebook and Instagram.

Another reason for its creation could be that there is a high a demographic who prefer Instagram over YouTube. They are; millennial women, beauty & fashion bloggers and not forgetting ‘the mumpreneur’.

What does this mean for our clients?

The primary focus is to build engagement and excitement around the new launch. However, Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom says that perhaps, in time, there will be a benefit to Instagram influencers. Currently, London-based French restaurant chain ‘Aubaine’ hosts a number of high-profile events. Key influencers, bloggers and public figures are invited to attend to provide social media coverage and reviews. IGTV could become an important tool when posting from an event to them. The future of the app could see influencers being paid to upload content, but at the present time advertising is not part of IGTV.

Where do we go from here?

As a recent update, we are unsure as to where IGTV will take Instagram. Will it be as popular as Stories was? Or Instagram Live? Only time will tell.

Just when you thought IGTV was the most recent update to the app…They go and launch a further two new features. Via the ‘explore’ section of the app, you can now video chat directly into Instagram either with just one person or a whole group. Discovering your interests has never been simpler. Now you can browse through posts that you would like to see, and accounts you’d like to follow. We think it’s safe to say that there is only one direction that Instagram is going, and that’s up.

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