As Instagram users worldwide slowly start to notice that new icon in the top right corner of their app (the neon TV with a lightning bolt across the screen), we wonder – is this the next big thing?
To coincide with smashing the 1 billion active user benchmark, Instagram has launched ‘Instagram TV’ – or IGTV as the millennials will refer to it – and it could mark a change in the way we shoot video forever. This is because IGTV is totally vertical. Anyone shooting with a normal camera will know that you can’t cram the full landscape frame into a portrait edit, and so filmmakers across the globe will have to rethink their process. Do we now need to frame video to suit the vertical format, or do we crop into the perfect shot and lose footage either side?
But we’re running ahead of ourselves. Back to the basics of IGTV. The platform is accessible as a standalone app or directly through Instagram, and if you click that new little icon you’ll be transported seamlessly into a more refined version of the Instagram Stories world where everything is vertical, except here you have the ability to search, scroll, follow, comment publicly, get recommendations, see popular videos from strangers, save videos to watch later, and, best of all, these uploads have permanence – this is mobile-first video that won’t disappear in 24 hours.
What is IGTV?
On the 20th June, @kevin (Systrom) announced that ‘IGTV is video, re-imagined for mobile; long-form vertical video from the creators you love. While all these creators are on Instagram, they’ve yet to be able to share longer videos with their fans on IG. Today that changes with IGTV‘. Is this the future of video? Will electronics manufacturers be designing vertical-friendly cameras, will YouTube have to rethink its existing format to compete, will Netflix drop new releases in 9:16?
IGTV promises new opportunities for content creators, with 60-second maximum durations going right in the bin. Users can currently post up to 10 minutes of video footage, with more influential accounts having full reign of an entire hour. Eventually, Instagram promises, time limits will be banished for all – which opens doorways to a whole new load of prospects. ‘The death of TV’ is in the back of our minds, along with the vision of a future where soap operas are watched vertically on a smartphone from your own sofa.
How do I use it?
You can download the standalone IGTV app, or you can jump in through your usual Instagram. Anyone you’re following on Instagram you’re automatically following on IGTV, so there’s no new admin to worry about. Videos are immediately full-screen as the smartphone Gods had always intended; this is lovingly and specifically designed for the new generation of content creators.
Two features that any Instagram user has been screaming for since it launched in 2010 are being realised in IGTV. These are: being able to upload via desktop and being able to add links in the caption (no more ‘link in bio!’). You can also tag other users in the caption, and IGTV will take you straight to their profile within its own interface.
Cover image format: JPEG, recommended size is 420px by 654px (you can’t edit once it’s up there)
Video format: MP4 only
Aspect ratio: 9:16/portrait
Resolution: minimum is 720 pixels; supported up to 4K
Duration: for the majority of us we’re looking at between 15 seconds and 10 minutes, if you’re a superstar then you can have a full hour
Size: 650MB for up to 10 minutes; 3.6GB for up to an hour
To upload on mobile:
– Enter IGTV through Instagram or the IGTV app.
– Click on your user avatar. This will take you to a new screen where you’ll find a ‘+’ symbol. Press it!
– You will now be faced with your camera roll; choose the vertical video you want to upload.
– Enter your title and description, and don’t forget to include searchable keywords and links for maximum engagement.
To upload on desktop (finally!):
– Log in on instagram.com and navigate to IGTV from your profile.
– Hit upload and go for it, not forgetting the keywords and links in your description.
What does this mean for my brand?
As Instagram catches up with YouTube’s coveted user figures, video continues to be the holy grail of online consumption – IGTV promises that ‘by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic’. While we’re not saying that IGTV will replace YouTube, it will certainly run wildly alongside.
Where big brands will no doubt continue to post slick ads on YouTube, IGTV will be a more raw, intimate home for content. Right now IGTV doesn’t have a live video function, which encourages users to work on an edited piece of footage instead of the unprocessed upload nature of Instagram Stories and Snapchat. We’re seeing a bridge between full scale video production and running-down-the-street live vlogging, which will make everything more accessible to both creators and viewers. The sweet spot between glossy polish and scuzzy handheld is right here and, as a brand new product, it can only get better.
WhiteNoise is a social digital agency specialising in branded content and social ad campaigns. To start planning your own video marketing strategy, or even if you just want some advice, why not give us a call on MCR: 0161 504 0660 or LDN: 02077540315