Everything you need to know about IGTV

Plus: How it can benefit your social media strategy

 Christina Heekeren-Thür | © punkt & komma
Christina Heekeren-Thür
Social media marketer

Yay or nay? When it comes to Instagram TV, or IGTV for short, opinions of marketing professionals tend to differ: Some love it, some don’t. Launched as a video app by Instagram in the summer of 2018, the platform didn't really seem to take off. Neither creators nor users truly liked it. The result: low download and user numbers. 

However, we’re slowly seeing a trend reversal. The app – now a feature of Instagram – is finally picking up speed. The reason for this is a small change to the Instagram feed, which allows you to post a preview. In addition, Instagram is trying to monetise IGTV. Ads are currently being tested to make it even more attractive for creators. We think: Instagram TV isn’t dead! What advantages does the video format have to offer? And how can you best use its functions? We have some tips for you! 

What is IGTV?

IGTV, or Instagram TV, was initially developed as a standalone app. Eventually, it was also integrated as a feature within the Instagram app. The platform allows users to post longer videos of up to 60 minutes. This makes IGTV very different from stories, which are only up to 15 seconds long and disappear after 24 hours. Following the principle of "mobile first", videos can be uploaded in vertical portrait format (4:5 or 9:16) – but videos in horizontal landscape format are possible, too!  

What speaks for using IGTV?

Why should you give IGTV a try? The answer is simple. As we all know, video content will become even more important in the coming years. Several recent studies confirm this trend. By 2023, videos will account for 82 percent of global internet traffic. It’s also interesting that 54 percent of survey participants would like to see more video content from companies. IGTV provides a good platform for this – because videos are relatively easy and inexpensive to produce. Tell your story, create trust, and get in touch with your target group – what are you waiting for?

Social media marketing on IGTV

You have no idea how to use IGTV for your brand? No worries: We’ve summarised some examples to inspire you.

1. A look behind the scenes

What applies to Instagram stories is also true for IGTV: Users love to take a look behind the scenes of their favourite brands. Virtual tours, insights into people’s daily work or footage from events – there are no limits to your creativity. A positive side effect: You boost customer loyalty and, at the same time, make your company seem more "human".

Hugo Boss, for instance, gives Instagram users the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of a fashion show.

2. Tutorials

Tutorials are especially suitable for IGTV. Because with videos that are up to 60 minutes long, you can give your viewers detailed product information without interruptions. However, this does not mean that longer tutorials are automatically better. Focus on keeping your videos short and explain things in simple terms if possible. The more complicated, the higher the bounce rate!

For example: https://www.instagram.com/tv/BmBYZpWAfFR/

3. Producing a series

No joke! With IGTV, you can even produce a small series for your company that goes online at the same time every week, for instance. Recurring formats give people a sense of security and orientation. But as we all know, they are also kind of addictive. If we liked the first episode, we're happy to stick with it and can’t wait to see the next video!

NASA, for instance, gives people an insight into what’s going on in space every month in their IGTV series "What's up in ...". This not only positions the company as an expert in all space-related topics, but also supplies its fans with the latest news on the subject. Super informative and really fascinating!

4. Presenting products and drawing attention to them

Of course, IGTV also lets you present or draw attention to new products. The best way is to combine your video with a call-to-action and ask the users to test the product right away. BMW is a good example of how to create a successful product presentation. The German car manufacturer presented its brand-new BMW 1 model series on IGTV.

5. It’s all about originality and creativity

In marketing, it’s important to stand out from the crowd – and that’s true on IGTV as well. Originality and creativity are indispensable. And you don't even need a complex script for that, as you can see in the Netflix video "Cole Sprouse eating a burger for 1 hour". It shows how Riverdale star Cole Sprouse eats a burger … for a whole hour. The video has achieved cult status and already has more than a million views and over 6,000 comments.

With these tips, your IGTV video becomes a success

As you can see: There are no limits to your creativity – you have countless possibilities when it comes to using IGTV for your marketing activities. We’ve summarised a few tips for you and are happy to let you in on what you should consider when producing your own IGTV videos:

  • An exciting start: Just like on all other channels, you have to grab people’s attention within the first few seconds. Make sure you come up with an exciting start and try to avoid long intros. A rule of thumb: If you don't “catch” the social media user within the first 15 seconds, they probably won’t keep watching your video!
  • Get to the point: Just because you have about one hour for a video, you don't have to ramble on for exactly that amount of time. Be sure to keep an eye on the clock when producing your videos and don't repeat yourself!
  • Announce your videos on other channels: Thanks to the preview function and stories, there are plenty of ways you can announce your IGTV videos on Instagram. Take advantage of this feature. You can also promote your video on Facebook or mention it in your newsletter! 
  • Don't forget hashtags and a description: Relevant hashtags and an interesting description make it much more likely for users to watch your video. Perhaps even those who don’t follow your brand or your company yet …
  • Effort vs. quality: An elaborate production is not always necessary for IGTV. However, you should still make sure that the quality is good. Always consider in advance what you want to say with your video. Be authentic and give yourself enough time to create and edit the video.  
  • Consistent design and brand recognition: It’s important to create a consistent and recognisable design for your videos – for instance, by way of a clear colour concept. Be sure to include your company logo in the videos as well. At the same time, you should have the courage to experiment. That’s the only way to find out what your followers really like.

It remains to be seen whether IGTV will really become a force to be reckoned with in the video content sector. After all, other platforms like TikTok are growing rapidly as well. However, there is definitely some potential there. Videos are clearly trending – and on IGTV, you’ll have numerous opportunities to get off to a flying start with a good idea and cool social media marketing. 

You’re interested in the topic of video content? Then you might want to have a look at the following magazine article: Video content on social media

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