Launched in 2010 as a photo-sharing social media platform, Instagram first introduced its video feature in 2013. Users were only allowed to share videos up to 15 seconds in length, but that limit has increased to 60 seconds over the years. Simultaneously, there have been rumors about Instagram introducing long-form video content, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that an official announcement was made.
On June 20, 2018, Instagram announced that they had crossed the one-billion-user mark globally. More importantly, they introduced Instagram TV (IGTV), their brand new long-form video sharing platform.
What Is Instagram TV?
Many industry insiders compare Instagram TV to YouTube. While they are both video sharing platforms with more than a billion users, Instagram TV is unique in terms of both content and presentation.
Instagram TV allows users to post original videos up to 60 minutes in length. Rather than showing them in the standard horizontal format, IGTV formats the videos to fit the way you use your phone – they are vertical and always presented in full screen with text and captions displayed over the image.
IGTV starts playing content from your favorite creators – usually the people you already follow on Instagram – as soon as you launch it. If you leave it open, the content will keep on playing, thus creating a continuous stream of user-created videos similar to linear TV channels – hence the word “TV” in the name of this feature. What’s more, instead of profiles, users get their own channels. When followers tap on one of these channels, all content from it will start playing continuously like on actual television.
IGTV is available as a separate app for Android and iOS, but the content posted to it can also be viewed from the Instagram app. Content creators can upload videos from the app or from the web. All Instagram users can log in with their Instagram credentials and start posting their videos. The videos you post will be available on your IGTV channel, as well as on your Instagram feed so that your followers who are not yet using Instagram TV can easily find them.
Why Is Instagram TV Important for Businesses?
All marketers know that establishing a strong presence on social media is very important for their business, so using Instagram TV to further promote your brand sounds like a no-brainer. With IGTV, you also get to jump on board early and get a head start on your competitors.
Unlike most other new platforms, your reach won’t be limited to just a few thousand early adopters. As explained above, all Instagram users can install and use Instagram TV with their existing accounts. This means that your videos could potentially reach more than a billion users from the get-go.
What’s more, if a user starts following your channel, your videos will play automatically as soon as they launch the app. That way, your message could reach millions of users without a single dollar invested in Instagram advertising. Instead, you can use some of the marketing money you save to produce high-quality content for the platform and reach an even wider audience.
How to Use Instagram TV for Your Business
Although IGTV is still in its early stages, there are already plenty of great ways you can use it to bring your brand closer to audiences, improve its reputation, and attract new clients as a result. Here are five ideas that could help you get your Instagram TV channel up and running.
1. Broadcast Live Videos
Until now, the only way to broadcast live videos on Instagram was to use the Instagram Live feature. However, those videos would only be available to your followers and would expire after 24 hours. With Instagram TV, your live videos will remain available on your channel indefinitely. You can use this format to broadcast live Q'n'A sessions or transmit interesting live events. What’s more, IGTV allows you to upload your videos to Facebook Watch, so your content will be available on both platforms at once.
2. Repurpose Your Content
With IGTV and the new audience it allows you to reach, all your old content can become new again. Take your old horizontal videos, edit them to fit the new vertical format, and post them on your IGTV channel. If you run a podcast, rather than sharing teasers and asking followers to visit your website to listen to the latest episode, you can post full episodes to your IGTV channel and accompany them with interesting visuals. This is much more convenient as it allows users to listen to your podcast without leaving the app.
3. Make Your Videos Instructional
Instructional content is always popular and doesn’t have an expiration date. With IGTV, you can take your “how-to” videos to a whole new level by allowing followers to replicate what you’re doing in real time. Whether you’re focusing on cooking, do-it-yourself home repairs, beauty and makeup, or fitness, the 60-minute format gives you plenty of opportunities to create captivating evergreen content.
4. Rerun Your Best Instagram Stories
If you’re investing a lot of time and effort into creating engaging Instagram stories, you probably want to preserve them and give them time to reach new audiences. With Instagram TV, you can now compile all your favorite stories into short videos broadcast on your channel. If you use Stories a lot, you can do periodic digest-style videos where you would include all your stories posted within a certain timeframe.
5. Create Your Own IGTV Original Series
In many ways, IGTV works like actual television, so you can also use it as such. We already mentioned sharing your audio-only podcasts on your Instagram TV channel. If this proves a hit with your followers, you could use a camera to simultaneously record a video version of the podcast and post it exclusively to your channel. Similarly, you can create your own weekly or biweekly IGTV show where you would introduce your products and services, answer your followers’ questions, and chat with interesting guests.
The Final Word
Although Instagram TV doesn’t yet allow advertising, there are many ways you can use it to bring your brand, products, or services closer to audiences worldwide. With more than a billion users and less competition than other, more established social media apps, IGTV is an excellent platform for marketers looking to attract new customers with engaging, creative content.