It looks like another social platform is making a play for the YouTube audience and network of creators. Instagram, which recently hit 1 billion users, launched IGTV in June.

While Instagram has had a short-form video presence for the past five years, this new initiative moves the platform into the long-form video space (videos top out at 60 minutes), and deeper into the vertical video space.

IGTV has its own standalone app, but the new long-form video is also supported by the original app (an IGTV button should be located at the top of Instagram if you have the latest version of the app).

Download the IGTV app, and either automatically log in with your existing Instagram credentials or create a new handle. Once you log in, the app opens with video already streaming. (As Instagram points out, it's just like TV in that way.)

Each creator on IGTV is considered a "channel," so you can flip through your favorite channels to see content made by your favorite creators. And no, there aren't special requirements to become a creator: all you need is the IGTV account. While the videos are commercial free for now, expect Instagram to put in a system to monetize content once the app takes off.

Videos on the app are varied right now. A lot of the video looks like something you'd find on the OG Instagram platform (think: Instagram's Eva Chen answering fan questions on her walk between meetings or Kris Kardashian posting a Kim-narrated Keeping Up With The Kardashians promo--just my feed?). However, episodic content is starting to pop up, and some major media outlets are already testing the platform in an effort to reach younger audiences.

Brands are getting in on the IGTV game too, and it's actually a pretty fantastic resource for the marketing toolkit.

Netflix has seen a bizarre amount of success with an hour-long IGTV video of Cole Sprouse eating a hamburger (a re-run, no less), Bacardi brilliantly crowdsourced opinions on Instagram stories and translated them to an influencer-fueled IGTV video, and Gucci has posted video from a recent fashion show.

In fact, Instagram is encouraging brands to use ​IGTV (don't mind if we do). While Instagram and Instagram Stories are still best for short-form content (Instagram) and spontaneous, expiring video (Instagram stories), IGTV is the place to put content with more investment. No, still not a great place to post traditional commercials (who wants to tune into a commercial channel?), but if you've ever thought about short branded films or episodic content, or have longer video content you'd like to repurpose, this platform is built for it.

Will you be adding IGTV to your 2019 content marketing plan?

Published on: Jul 12, 2018