Since Instagram launched IGTV in the summer of 2018, it has continued to adapt, alter, tweak, and adjust the tool’s features to make it more user-friendly. Usage has gradually increased, but IGTV has still not become the YouTube competitor some thought Instagram was trying to develop when it first launched the tool in the summer of 2018.
Now, a year-and-a-half after first launching, Instagram has made some recent big moves that show it is getting serious about making IGTV a successful video platform that can compete with YouTube. These recent changes indicate that Instagram is committed to the competition. Now, the question you need to answer for your organization is “are we committed to figuring out how to utilize IGTV to our advantage?”
If you are not convinced that IGTV is going to be a serious competitor to YouTube, first consider the following…
4 ways IGTV is taking on YouTube:
1. Development of original series.
IGTV now allows content creators to group IGTV videos by series. Those who follow your IGTV account may also opt-in to receive notifications every time you upload a new video to the series. This feature operates similar to the “Subscribe” button on YouTube, in that every time you upload a new video to the IGTV series, you are able to push the videos to an audience who wants it.
Instagram has made it easy for users to identify a series in their IGTV feed thanks to the “Series” text that appears on the thumbnail of any video in the feed that a creator identifies as part of a series.
2. Improved data for creators.
Instagram now allows content creators to see reach data on the different videos they upload to IGTV. The significance of this in helping IGTV compete with YouTube is obvious, as YouTube has long allowed creators to see reach and other data on the videos uploaded to that platform.
Creators who want to check up on the effectiveness of an IGTV video can access a dashboard that allows them to see the likes, comments, sends, saves, profile visits, and reach of a video.
3. Vertical scrolling list.
In the past, scrolling through videos on IGTV was a little tedious and users could only see a few thumbnails on the screen at a time thanks to the left-to-right video scroll at the bottom of the screen below the player.
Now, IGTV no longer has the player constantly located on the screen in favor of more thumbnails on the page and a new vertical scroll. This vertical scroll allows for pieces of six thumbnails on the screen at a time as well as a behavior more familiar to most social media users who are accustomed to scrolling down a page.
4. New partnerships with influencers.
YouTube is viewed by influencers as being much more lucrative than IGTV thanks to the number of views and associated ad spend that occurs on their videos. To combat this, Instagram is now helping select creators cover the costs of video production, with the anticipation that this will attract creators to the platform.
As part of the agreement (one of which is reportedly worth as much as $250,000) creators are forbidden from posting these videos on YouTube.
How to get a bigger audience for your IGTV videos
Now that it is becoming obvious that Instagram is serious about making IGTV a major player in the social video platform sphere, it should cause you — and your competitors — to consider what you need to do to align yourselves with IGTV’s direction.
To be clear, IGTV is not close to overtaking YouTube as king of videos, but it is working diligently to become a player in the game.
So, while it certainly isn’t time to drop your YouTube publishing, now might be a great time to at least slightly raise your IGTV publishing game.
5 ways to create a larger presence on IGTV:
- Direct people to subscribe to your IGTV series.Consider utilizing existing channels to raise awareness of your IGTV content. For example, you can promote your IGTV series in a newsletter, embed an IGTV video on your blog, or run Instagram ads to promote your IGTV presence.
- Let the data be your guide. Now that IGTV is offering more data to creators than ever before, you have the opportunity to see how effective your IGTV content is and start to test some assumptions about what you can do to make the content more engaging. This new influx of data can also help you know where to include ad spend when you produce and publish a video that is particularly effective.
- Create content specifically for IGTV. Before you begin creating a video that you intend to be published to IGTV, remember that the creation and editing process should accommodate IGTV’s standards. While you can publish horizontal videos on IGTV, publishing vertical videos remains your best bet for engagement. The dimensions for an IGTV video are 1080×1920 with a 9:16 aspect ratio — just like Instagram Stories.
- Always, always, always publish your IGTV content to your Instagram timeline. Perhaps the best thing Instagram has done to increase reach and engagement on IGTV videos is to allow Instagram account owners the opportunity to publish the first minute of an IGTV video on its Instagram timeline. Once a viewer reaches the one-minute mark of the video, the user is directed to IGTV with a simple tap of a button to finish viewing the remainder of the video.
- Use text on the video. Including text on the screen or including subtitles with the video is an excellent way to increase reach, watch time, and engagement. Because so many people watch videos on smartphones with the sound turned off, including subtitles on the screen provides another opportunity for a user to stay with the video rather than leave it.