The social media landscape has pretty much stayed untouched since Snapchat arrived in 2011. Nevertheless, some platforms are faring far better than others in the competition.
Case in point – Instagram. Unlike other platforms, who are struggling to keep up in this game of social media cat and mouse, Instagram seems to be having the year of its existence. Users are more engaged than ever before, thanks to features like stories, GIFS, filters and music stickers.
The most recent introduction is Instagram TV (IGTV), a standalone app that is interlinked with the favoured platform. The new feature allows users to set up their IGTV channel and post video content that’s up to one hour long; an exciting and promising opportunity, particularly for brands and content marketers.
If you’re thinking this might sound a little familiar, you wouldn’t be wrong. And if you’re thinking of YouTube, you’d be on the money. The theory is IGTV is taking a light jab at the video-sharing giant, and attempting to cash in on the rise of video content.
The update is an exciting new platform for brands to explore and use to form deeper connections with their audience. With the estimated Instagram ad revenue reaching over $10 billion by 2019, how are brands seizing this opportunity to shine?
You snooze – you lose
The new addition to the social media landscape is just as frightening as it is exciting. We’re used to knowing exactly how the platform works, and more importantly, the type of content that performs best.
So it’s not surprising that brands are wary of jumping on the platform while it’s still in its infancy.
However, early adopters of IGTV have everything to gain, and nothing to lose.
The benefit of getting on the platform now is that you have an audience made up of users that are actively searching for engaging content.
The platform is not yet flooded with content, which means you are not fending off competitors, and have a shot at higher engagement rates.
As we continue to move to video and crave for more content from brands, IGTV could be the place to get your branded content fix. It’s not yet clear what kind of content will work best on the new platform, so brands have more freedom to experiment with the type of content they put out.
Most importantly, IGTV is the only platform entirely designed for the mobile experience, and will natively support full-screen vertical video. This is important.
As we continue to depend more and more on mobile, optimising apps and websites for a pleasant mobile experience is essential.
Getting it right from the get-go
Some brands, like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, are easing their way onto the platform and have debuted their accounts with a recap of their recent fashion shows.
Other companies, like Netflix, seem to have an inside track to understanding what the users of the app are craving for; their debut on the platform came as a one-hour long video of Cole Sprouse eating a burger. The shocker? The engagement rates went through the roof – the video brought in a whopping 955,000 views and almost 7,000 comments.
Brands are going longer and becoming more creative on IGTV and it’s paying off. They are taking risks and experimenting to see what resonates with their audience. If you want to succeed on the platform you have to embrace the new format.
Although the future of IGTV is shrouded in fog, there are four key elements that brands are doing that puts them as the leaders of the pack.
- Focus on creating content that feels native to the platform.
- Take time to edit for vertical video.
- Refrain from uploading horizontally shot videos.
- Short and sweet doesn’t always seal the deal. Create content that passes the original 1-minute mark and upload longer video-content.
What the future holds
So, is IGTV a realistic competitor to YouTube? Not yet. Instagram hasn’t figured out yet how to monetise content, to attract creators to migrate to IGTV from YouTube. The company hopes to have a strategy by the end of the year, but until then, the video-sharing giant isn’t under threat.
IGTV is the first video sharing platform designed entirely for the mobile experience. So it’s not unrealistic to expect some form of ‘IGTV original’ shows, movies or even series to debut in the future.
Especially with the introduction of 5G. We have high hopes for 5G, and as more apps and games are weaving in Augmented Reality into their offerings, we can expect to see that creeping into IGTV too.
The new video platform also allows creators to include clickable links in their descriptions, however, this means users have to exit the app (and their experience) if they want to make a purchase. The natural next step is to implement shoppable video technology for brands, to make the shopping experience seamless for app users.
So, Instagram has served a curveball and caused chaos in the social media landscape. Now that they have added long-form video to their platform - they can do it all. Is Instagram becoming a one-stop-shop for brands to raise awareness and connect with consumers? Perhaps not just yet, but they are definitely staying ahead of the curve and their competitors. Watch this space.
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