As Instagram continues to be one of the top social media networks, recently hitting a community of over 1 billion users, its features and services continue to expand. This past week, Instagram launched a new addition to the app called IGTV that allows accounts that you follow to post vertical full-screen, hour-long videos. Although the content can be up to an hour long, most creators will cap their content at 10 minutes or less per video.The addition is housed in both the Instagram app via the button on the top right corner or can be accessed via the separate IGTV app. When the feature is opened, content immediately starts playing. Similar to Instagram, the app allows users to switch between the “Following,” “For You,” “Popular” and “Discover” pages. Users have the ability to comment, like and send videos to friends via Instagram Direct Message. However, it differs in that it is structured much like watching television; the creators are the channels and create their own content housed on their individual channels. If you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will be available for you to watch..
It is no surprise that these features seem eerily similar to those of YouTube. Will IGTV be the next YouTube? It is hard to tell from just a week since its launch; however, major video content creators from YouTube are making the transition to IGTV. For example, comedic influencer Lele Pons will be doing a cooking series for IGTV and currently has 25 million followers on Instagram and 10 million on YouTube. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told The New York Times, “Teens might be watching less TV, but they’re watching more creators online.” Thus, influencer sourcing from YouTube is an essential strategy for IGTV to bring in dedicated audiences. Because Instagram’s current influencer space is primarily photo-heavy, this is a good way for audiences to be more engaged with the influencer and get to know their personality on a more intimate level. Naturally seeming like the next authentic step for these influencers to show that they are more than just a photogenic face, many Influencers who do not traditionally make video content are starting to make video content on IGTV. For example, Victoria Secret Angel Romee Strijd posted her first video titled “morning routine” that features her using her favorite makeup products that has garnered almost 1 million views. Similarly, Kim Kardashian posted a video titled “My KKW Beauty Pop Up Shop” that has also garnered over 5 million views. Influencers are choosing to put their content on IGTV because it streamlines their social media presence and brand onto one, singular platform – Instagram. For example, Pulse Talent Aggie Lal transitioned her travel content onto IGTV and has already been receiving large scale views of over 10,000 from her dedicated audiences.
Although there is currently no ad space in between videos, it seems that Instagram will likely move in that direction in the future to sell commercial air time between videos much like YouTube, potentially including ad revenue shares for the influencers themselves. Moreover, it is evident that the potential for influencer marketing on the new platform is omnipresent. Similar to how YouTube influencers often include products interwoven in their content, whether it be in a dedicated post or a product haul, IGTV shows the same potential to create similar campaigns. Depending on viewership over time, there will be plenty of opportunities for agencies like Pulse to offer services similar to the ones we offer on YouTube on IGTV, and possibly even more streamlined campaigns between Instagram and IGTV.
Overall, the platform seems like a more organic space for influencers to build an overarching content empire. Although YouTube has far more range of content than Instagram, the content on IGTV would arguably be more curated and exclusive than that of YouTube. The results will take time to build, however, it seems as though Instagram has a great opportunity to become the TV of mobile.