August 14, 2019 Tami Nealy

What Happened to Instagram TV?

Instagram TV

In June 2018, when Instagram launched InstagramTV (IGTV). Via the Instagram blog, co-founder and then CEO Kevin Systrom introduced IGTV as follows, “Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love.”

Fourteen months later and we’re wondering, has IGTV brought you closer to the people and things you love? Does it have any unique benefits to brands? What about the metrics, does it event work? These are all important questions on the minds of our Talent Managers and Account Managers here at Find Your Influence. So, we took a few uninterrupted days working from home to dig in and research. 

The Instagram TV Landscape

At launch, IGTV caused a bit of confusion. Users and advertisers alike were trying to understand how it would fit into the social media landscape. Savvy social media users already had an Instagram feed, Instagram stories, Facebook feed, Facebook Stories, Facebook Live, YouTube and Snapchat. Adding another layer to Instagram felt a bit, meh.

The advantage Instagram boasted was that the videos in your feed which are limited to only sixty seconds, can be expanded to 60 minutes on IGTV (but only if you have more than 10,000 followers). Studies have shown that online video viewership is steadily increasing, with a projected number surpassing 236 million in 2020. However, IGTV isn’t yet for everyone.

Keegan Acton, a YouTuber with more than 366,000 subscribers has yet to use IGTV. “I think IGTV is very confusing to use and it’s hard to maintain multiple platforms at once.”

One of the early topics of discussion surrounding IGTV was whether it could compete with YouTube. For Keegan, she’s not there yet.

Long Road to Monetization

In the first year of IGTV, the team at Find Your Influence has not had any brands request this as part of a campaign. Mobile Marketer reports, “…what sets IGTV apart from social media platforms of the same ilk, such as YouTube, is that there is currently no way to push paid advertisements through the platform.”

In a September 2018 piece by Media Post, the author explains how IGTV can fit into your feed. “Content creators are already jumping to take advantage of the creative possibilities IGTV provides, and by leveraging it in conjunction with platforms like YouTube, influencers and marketers can engage a wider audience with long-form video content.” 

Brands, advertising agencies and influencers will quickly flock to IGTV once success can be measured and proven effective. But according to CNN.com, “...when it comes to metrics about IGTV, it’s crickets.

When looking through the marketing lens, YouTube has convinced brands not to switch to IGTV by leaning in to their easy-to-digest reporting solutions. YouTube’s advanced analytics was enough to convince brands how effective that platform can be. On the flipside, IGTV performance is not yet as easy to analyze. IGTV takes Instagram followers and automatically subscribes them to corresponding video channels. This makes managing the audience path to the channel tricky to measure. Do they exist by default through following an influencer or have they opted in soley for the IGTV content? 

Creators Comment

Not all YouTubers are like Keegan Acton. YouTube sensation Eva Gutowski has two YouTube channels and an IGTV channel.  In an interview with Digiday, Gutowski said, “I get to do videos on IGTV that I wouldn’t post to my main [YouTube] channel. I don’t post makeup videos on my main YouTube channel; I’m not a makeup channel. But on Instagram, I can take those ideas that I’ve always wanted to do but maybe not wanted to do for my main channel on YouTube and try them out.”

Chelsea Goodson, Director of Influencer Management with FYI, and lifestyle blogger herself, believes Instagram is giving extra focus to creators who are actively using IGTV. “For the many Instagram users who are actively using IGTV, it appears they are being featured within the IGTV Explore page, further amplifying their opportunity for engagement and to build their audience.”

Bethanie Garcia of The Garcia Diaries shares that IGTV has been pivotal for her success this year on Instagram. “It’s given our page a whole new audience and an entirely new way for users to find us (since IGTV suggest similar videos and has their own explore type feed). At first, IGTV was ‘another thing to learn’ and a little frustrating because all of our previous video content had been horizontal – which IGTV didn’t support. After a year, they finally support both horizontal and vertical so it’s a lot easier to syndicate your YouTube content straight to IGTV!”

At FYI, we are cheering on the growth and development of IGTV. The opportunity for brands to leverage their products or services with creators to produce long-form content is another avenue to help achieve their marketing goals. If we can help your brand leverage IGTV or other social media platforms to deliver your message, request a demo today.