Have you been wondering what that odd little vaguely-tv-shaped icon at the top of your Instagram is? Did you see the letters IGTV pop up in your news feeds about four months ago and had no idea what it meant because IGTV seems just like a random grouping of letters? Is anyone tuning in to IGTV?
Well, we're here to help. IGTV stands for Instagram TV, despite the fact that you don't watch it on television nor do many videos seem to be the traditional length of tv episodes. There also doesn't seem to be many series or much regular programming, another staple of television. A better name for IGTV might have been InstaTube, because YouTube is much closer to who Instagram is looking to challenge with this service.
Instagram TV is both another app and also an added element within the existing Instagram app which you can access by clicking on the tv icon at the top of your Instagram home feed. With Instagram TV, you can upload videos up to an hour long, which can be beneficial if you want to share longer content, because currently the limit for a video posted on Instagram sits at about a minute. As a viewer, you can choose to watch videos from those you follow as well as scroll though which videos that are trending. As a creator, it has some benefits because your videos have a higher chance of showing up to the over one billion Instagram user. It hasn't been all that buzzworthy, but people ARE watching IGTV. Not THAT many people (videos on YouTube are still getting way higher video watch counts), but still enough to be paying attention.
HOW ARE BRANDS USING IT?
Brands are using Instagram to experiment with both the type of content they make and the format of the content. For format, they're having to make sure their videos fit in the vertical format that looks perfect on a phone screen. This requires making sure the video you create is correct for this format and doesn't look stretched or condensed. Take for example how perfectly formatted this Buzzfeed video is. It allows you to see the full field of Hamster Soccer.
This video, made by Instagram in partnership with Disney to promote their new movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a standard behind the scenes of a movie video. But it is correctly formatted to benefit Instagram. And a minute and fifty seconds, it is a bit too long for what Instagram used to allow.
Another thing that Instagram TV allows you to do is experiment with your content. You can try some off the wall concepts, as well as try as present your content in a new way. Here's a video made by Marvel to highlight a "This Day in History" focused on Hank Pym...AKA Ant-Man. This video is only 15 seconds, which means that Marvel wasn't taking advantage of the length benefit of IGTV, but rather the type of content IGTV can allow.
Another experiment in form comes from Netflix. To promote the hit show Riverdale being available on the streaming service, they uploaded a video of actor Cole Sprouse in his role as Jughead Jones eating a burger...for an hour. It doesn't sound that compelling but tell that to the almost million of people who watched it. It doesn't hurt that they used a pretty well liked influencer for this almost avant-garde video.
IS IT WORTH IT?
I'll be completely honest here. When I began writing this blog, I thought my angle was going to be "who's using IGTV? Nobody, who cares?" But this is where I admit I was wrong. I still don't think it's the YouTube killer, or even close competitor, that they have may hoped for IGTV to be. What it is, though, is another interesting and engaging way to present content about your company or brand. It gives you the ability to make videos that are longer than what you can traditionally post on Instagram. Its layout creates a natural challenge of how to present the content and rising to that challenge can lead to some creative solutions. In today's hyper social and hyper visual world, a new way to get your content out there isn't a bad thing, especially if there's people willing to watch.
This applies to any brand or company, and that extends to universities. You could create an Instagram TV post that is a guided tour through your campus. Maybe you film students listing off their favorite things about your student center or what they're planning to do on break. There's a variety of different ways to use this tool to highlight your university. For more on how to use even more visual content to promote your university, check out our free e-book.