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Introducing IGTV – A Yellow Brick Road, or Cul-de-sac?

Author's avatar By Jonathan Gabay 02 Jul, 2018
Essential Essential topic

One of the latest additions to the video content propagator mix is Instagram’s Facebook-backed IGTV

Have you heard Sara Bareille’s ‘Live in Atlanta’ version of Yellow Brick Road? You only really get the full audio-visual performance experience by watching YouTube Music or YouTube (as far as I am aware).

As with what has grown into an army of vlogger influencers, artists, organizations and brands alike are putting the majority of their content on video channels.

The biggest question is who, in terms of video content, will end up owning the greatest proportion of Mindspace – Google or Facebook or Snapchat…?

One of the latest additions to the video content propagator mix is Instagram’s Facebook-backed IGTV.

Brands including Nike, Netflix, Warby Parker, Trader Joe’s, Everlane and Gucci are testing the new channel with content ranging from witty one-offs to interviews with influencers.

IGTV, is Instagram’s response to YouTube. Arriving some five years after the launch of Instagram video, in principle it allows any user to set up their own IGTV channel and post video content, providing it is no longer than an hour in length.

Videos are accessed by followers of influencers or brands. However, initially unless an entity or individual has sufficient followers or gravitas, video content may be limited to ten minutes. (Which, given consumers’ attention spans, may not be such a bad thing).

IGTV has been designed with phone usage in mind

Instagram’s Co-Founder & CEO, Kevin Systrom:

“IGTV is built for how you actually use your phone.  Videos are full-screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.

Just like turning on the TV, IGTV plays as soon as the app is opened. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram.  Suggestions are based on your interests. You can swipe up to discover more — switch between ‘For You’, ‘Following’, ‘Popular’ and ‘Continue Watching’. You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct.”

Marketers have praised the channel’s integration with the original Instagram app, as well as how it focuses on vertical video and the ability to create longer-form content. For example, PR agencies dealing with fashion brands can create slick ‘behind-the-scenes’ videos to highlight fashion ranges.  Tracey Baldwin, Head of Fashion, Lifestyle and Sport at KBAPR explains:  “IGTV is a brilliant opportunity for fashion PR pros looking to build awareness and generate buzz around strategically important fashion opportunities such as launches and seasonal lines.”

Louis Vuitton and Gucci are counted as just some of the fashion brands which have shared video content from recent shows.

IGTV has sent many brands rushing to video producers to repurpose content featured on Instagram Stories.  Others are creating original content from scratch for the new channel.

How have brands been utilizing IGTV?

Chipotle, was one of the first to create an IGTV channel. The brand made a Mary Poppins-style video of a man removing an endless assortment of Chipotle burritos, chips from a Chipotle bag. Whilst the concept did not take advantage of the new 60-minute video length, it did pass Instagram’s original one-minute limit.

As of the time of writing, the video has amassed over 10,000 views.  (Respectable numbers considering that Chipotle’s Instagram videos usually receive on average between 15,000 to 50,000 views).

“Social is definitely not a one-size-fits-all,” explained Tressie Lieberman, Executive Director of Customer Engagement Marketing at Chipotle. “It’s a different format, so we design specifically for long-form and vertical content.”

Netflix used Instagram’s 60-minute video offer to feature a full hour of actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger. The video reportedly brought in over 676,000 views and nearly 5,000 comments.

Nike’s channel includes an animation featuring Cristiano Ronaldo as part of its recent World Cup campaign, fashion brand Everlane took its #DamnGoodDemin Day photo series to create a video that adapts for IGTV.

Thanks to Instagram already attracting a global audience of one billion, it instantly provides IGTV with an incredible base-audience.  The real challenge that Instagram faces is to differentiate IGTV from Instagram Stories.  (Some are already speculating that IGTV may eventually replace Stories altogether).

Whilst YouTube created an entire industry for made-at-home video influencers, the channel has begun to lose its veneer with the influencers.  This provides IGTV with an opportunity to offer such swayers a smart-phone vertical format alternative.

Currently (and to the relief of many viewers) the platform is not featuring traditional ads as opposed to videos made for the platform ads.  However, given that an Instagram spokesperson has told the press this may well change in the future, in order to monetize the platform, it is likely that there will eventually be two platform flavours – regular (with ads) and premium (no ads but some variation of a subscription model).

Incidentally, I looked up Sara Bareille’s IGTV channel. At the time of writing, there were no posts, but 143 followers – including myself, ambling along this latest iteration of a yellow brick road.

Author's avatar

By Jonathan Gabay

Jonathan Gabay is one of Europe’s premier creative branding authorities. He is author of 15 books including university textbooks on copywriting. His latest title is Brand Psychology. Jonathan is a regular keynote speaker for major brands around the world. News organizations including: CNN, BBC, Sky and many more trust Jonathan to explain the stories behind the biggest brand news headlines.

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