Instagram has unveiled its long-form video hub under the name IGTV, offering a YouTube-like experience for vertical videos suited for mobile viewing.
The hub will be part of the platform’s Explore tab and will feature YouTube-like vlogs around 10 minutes long.
While previous reports suggested Instagram will be able to support videos up to an hour in length, the Facebook-owned social network will focus on shorter content by internet celebrities instead of by big publishers and TV studios.
The main distinguishing thing from the normal Instagram is that there’s no feed, no still pictures and no stories. It has also lost the big limitation of videos on Instagram, which are limited to one minute – on IGTV, they can be up to an hour long.
IGTV can be viewed in two ways. The first is from Instagram, where a little button will pop up if people on your feed have posted something new.
Meanwhile, a separate app will feature IGTV videos and will be the core focus of the new platform.
Instagram said that IGTV will be “rolling out globally over the next few weeks on Android and iOS”. The standalone app – named simply IGTV – seems to be available to at least some users now, though the button in the traditional Instagram app might not show up.
No ads on IGTV (yet)
IGTV won’t feature ads at launch, but Instagram says they will offer creators a way to monetize in the future. Instagram isn’t paying any creators directly for IGTV videos.
Abi Jacks, Director of Marketing UK at Rakuten Marketing comments; “The news that Instagram will be venturing into the world of long-form video will be a welcome addition to brands and online content creators alike. It will enable those with huge followings on the popular social media platform to extend their influence further than the 1-minute maximum videos the app allows today and move closer towards a YouTube style presence.
“Research we conducted last year found that UK marketers on average will pay £60,000 for an Instagram post by a celebrity influencer, rising up to £93,000 for those in the premium fashion industry, showing that huge money is at stake here.
“Whilst the update could provide brands with a brilliant opportunity to promote brand awareness and positioning, they should also take stock before committing to assigning large chunks of marketing budget. Despite the money being spent on influencer campaigns, our research also found that 86% of marketers have admitted they aren’t entirely sure how influencer fees are calculated, with 38% not being able to tell whether a particular campaign drove sales.”
“Working with brand-relevant influencers, and using attribution tools to help measure how sales are being driven on social media apps like Instagram so influencers can be rewarded on that basis rather than simple ‘reach’ alone, will be key to creating and nurturing valuable and fruitful partnerships.”
Sophie Light-Wilkinson, VP Marketing, EMEA at Bazaarvoice comments; “Instagram’s move shouldn’t be confused with any of the recent moves into streaming rights that we’ve seen from other major players such as Twitter and Facebook. As a platform Instagram has always had enormous advantages due to its visual nature when it comes to quick, snappy content. It’s a mark of the platform’s self-awareness that rather than follow the pack it wants to pioneer longer form content in the vertical format.
“This carries significant implications as far as social commerce is concerned. Given the recent uplift in the use of features like Instagram Collections, we can expect to see brands employ Instagram even more as a means of driving customer content around the products they bookmark. It may seem overly simplistic, but featuring visual content curated from social media on ecommerce product and category pages is not only engaging and authentic, but it helps drive conversion and revenue per visitor.”
Josh Krichefski, CEO of MediaCom UK added: “For the ad industry, it’s fascinating to watch how the video format continues to change and evolve. It’s been a huge talking point at Cannes Lions this year. People are really advocating for video’s ability to inspire emotion in viewers, and go beyond a short sales snapshot for a brand; for example, Christie’s Auction House last year ran a four-minute video ad for its Leonardo da Vinci painting auction, showing visitors’ emotional reaction to viewing the painting for the first time.
“It comes back to the old art versus science debate. Short videos optimised using data segments and audience targeting may quickly grab people’s attention, but do they leave a lasting impression? Do they make us feel something? Yes, shorter formats have their place in the advertising mix, but IGTV will give brands more creative license to build campaigns that are less hurried and can connect with consumers on a deeper level. It is a refreshing change of pace in an online world where we’re all too used to being bombarded with rapid-fire content.”