Let’s Talk About IGTV, Content and the Creators

Let’s Talk About IGTV, Content and the Creators

RBH's Joe Hepburn explores Instagram's IGTV and what it means for marketeers

On June 20th, Instagram opened the doors of the convention center in San Francisco to announce its latest launch – IGTV. Who normally attends events like this? Press? Sure. Bloggers? Sometimes. Investors? Always. Tech journals? You’ve got it.

The difference is that Instagram didn’t just open the doors to a hoard of media outlets this time. On this occasion, Instagram has bulldozed through the wall for creators in more ways than one. So, let’s pause for a second and play a game. Let me guess how your experience has been with IGTV so far. You wake up to your second, third or fourth alarm blaring in your ear. You fumble to pick up your phone from your bedside table, get caught in the cable then pull it toward your face. You unlock it, the bright light shining into your half-opened morning eyes. You see the notification for app updates, you sigh, press update and get ready for work. Once you’re suitably awake you begin the morning browse of the required social channels, starting with the boring ones and saving Instagram until last, because, well, it’s Instagram! To your surprise, there’s a new icon in the top right-hand corner of your screen – a small cathode TV-looking icon. You might click on it because after all, there are roughly 4,000 prompts to do so. You see your first video and assume it’s the same as an Instagram story so don’t bother returning to it for a few days.

Well sorry fictional person from the preceding paragraph! This is not ‘Stories’ nor is it a ‘Memory’ or some other half-baked social ‘Feature’. No, my friends – this is hope. This is a sign of great things to come. Instagram TV (IGTV) is designed from the ground up to be a competitor to YouTube which has experienced heavy criticism lately from both content creators and users for shifting the algorithms and requirements for subscription feeds, ultimately making it harder and harder to get your content in front of the right people (unless you pay of course). In addition to this, YouTube has been criticised for monetisation techniques and mystic rules that de-monetise creators. At a point when YouTube needs to focus on repairing relationships, now is the perfect time to launch a competitor service. Great timing Instagram!

Launching a dedicated space for longer form video solves both these problems as creators can share longer, more produced videos on Instagram, which they can then monetize – Kevin Systrom

So, how is IGTV it different to YouTube?

Instagram presented a heap of research that they’d conducted on video consumption habits throughout the keynote. Among others, this data included facts like, “Teens are now watching 40% less TV than they did five years ago”. Stats aside, some simple observations will show you what they watch now. I probably don’t even need to give you a hint, but I will anyway! In a nutshell, it’s glued to most of our hands every day and it’s not a book!

Mobile video consumption has risen by 60% in the last five years with a clear trend towards the 9:16 (portrait video) aspect ratio. Funnily enough, this would probably have made us cringe a few years ago before it became commonplace! Just think about how successful HQ and Snapchat have been despite offering no landscape mode. Using this format separates it for content creators and allows people to experiment with new methods of creation. Many have likened this shift to Vine, which limited content to a specific format and forced users to be creative within set parameters. Despite these restrictions, it still facilitated highly entertaining content. 9:16 is set to deliver the same results. By limiting the aspect ratio, Instagram has also opened up a plethora of other opportunities including 4K resolution, up to 60 minutes of video, and a monetisation method designed with creators in mind.

What does this mean for us in marketing? Can we advertise on this?

Short answer? Not yet.

This wasn’t made for us – it was made for those who want to be discovered and those who want to create and build content for audiences around the globe without being limited by the current constraints on YouTube. In the initial stages it will benefit marketeers through virality, trends, creators and influencers. Those who love our clients’ brands, those who want to partner with brands and those who want exposure to other media channels. We can help all of them. More content means more creativity, more creativity means more art. Who can say no to that?

RBH launched the Young British Designers IGTV channel within 24 hours of the announcement. Showcasing young British designers on a platform designed to showcase creators will no doubt be a match made in heaven.

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