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Instagram Releases IGTV Product Capitalizing on Mobile Video

Just five years after its release of short-form native video, yesterday Instagram announced the launch of IGTV. The product aims to bring long-form video content to the forefront of platform user behavior by hosting videos up to an hour in length. While smaller accounts can post between 15 seconds and 10 minutes of content, larger accounts may upload videos up to an hour-long. Looking ahead however, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom expressed the eventual vision of unlimited content length for all. The rollout is currently available on iOS and Android mobile devices as a tab in the Instagram app, as well as in a standalone app for uninterrupted viewing. 

With the continued focus on and development of opportunities for both brands and influencers to become creators, and expand to long-form, lean-back video content, we’re not surprised by this launch. In fact, we’re excited about the opportunity for additional organic content, inventory and eventual paid advertising capabilities. 

Paying homage to traditional television, the product plays video as soon as you open it. This alleviates any unnecessary barrier to point of entry through searches, and provides a seamless experience for user immersion. The product features tabs for personally recommended content, popular content on IGTV, followed accounts, continued watching, and search capabilities for discovery. This layout follows a behavioral trend of interest in unrefined user generated content as opposed to polished, professional production. The product’s direction goes head-to-head with other lean-back video consumption opportunities provided by YouTube and Snapchat Discover, as well as Facebook, Inc.’s own Facebook Watch. In the plight to capture the attention of users looking for a variety of relevant content in an easily digestible format, platforms are expanding their offerings to accommodate the changing landscape of mobile video. 

iProspect’s POV and What It Means for Marketers

IGTV gives brands lean-back content to consumers on a platform where they’re spending more and more of their time, consuming more and more video, and even converting. Longer video means more chances to get your brand story across in a meaningful way, if you can formulate an entry strategy that works for the platform. With users looking for more in-depth content, the product likely won’t be a fit for every brand.

Potential Barriers to Entry

  • The initial roadblock for brands of all sizes would be content creation. Producing high-quality long-form content may be difficult for advertisers who have been conditioned to capture a customer’s attention in the shortest time possible. Traditional TVCs likely won’t have a place in the organic product as-is, as users will be looking for more custom content designed for the social environment and mindset, not to mention the added layer of the vertical format.

  • Another deterrent may be the posting limitations for the general public. Without the same posting ability as larger accounts, users with more modest followings may be turned off from engaging if they aren’t allotted the same platform capabilities. This may lead to a heavy volume of laggard adopters until IGTV opens up unlimited post lengths to all users.

Opportunities for Brands

  • Giving users the option to absorb video content in a standalone platform means reaching a more immersed audience that is already committed to an extended view time. When your customers are thoughtfully seeking and opting into a more in-depth viewing experience, there’s a stronger chance that your brand’s message will be received with welcome captivation.
  • There are no ads on IGTV as of launch, however, Systrom did note that ads on the product are “a reasonable place to end up.” Instagram recognizes the effort creators will be putting into new long-form content, and advertisers estimate that a revenue sharing component will be inevitable. With an ever-growing saturation of ad placements across social channels, the IGTV platform presents a new and welcome arena for advertisers to put their video messaging into play. This is in line with Facebook, Inc’s approach to monetization, typically launching products organically first to observe consumer adoption and behavior, before introducing paid advertising.
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