IGTV for businesses

On June 20th, 2018, Instagram launched IGTV, its long-form video platform. Available on the original Instagram app as well as its own standalone app, IGTV was ambitiously called “the next generation’s TV” and was expected to compete with YouTube for mobile user’s attention.

Fast forward almost two years later, and IGTV has not made the giant waves it set out to make–however, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t made a sizable splash.

If you’re a marketer or business owner wondering if it’s still worth it to download the IGTV app in 2020, it depends. We aren’t going to beat around the bush–it’s not for every type of business, but you should definitely consider it if:

  • You already receive a lot of engagement on your Instagram Stories
  • You’re interested in influencer marketing
  • You are a B2C brand that sells products that are visually appealing or easy to show off, like clothing, food, or a fitness class
  • You want to reach a Gen Z and Millennial audience

If you think IGTV might be a good fit for you, here are 5 ways your business can benefit from Instagram’s long-form video platform in 2020 and beyond.

1. No Money & No Equipment Necessary

Perhaps the biggest advantage of IGTV for small businesses is its low barrier to entry. All you really need is a smartphone with a decent camera.

Yes, researching your audience and coming up with engaging content takes time–no one is downplaying that! But posting a few IGTV videos over the course of a month and seeing what happens

2. The Future of Video is Mobile

According to Cisco’s Annual Internet Report, video is expected to make up 82% of internet traffic by 2021. And year after year, a greater percentage of those video plays are on mobile devices.

There’s no denying that the future is mobile, and so businesses need to stop seeing phones as a second screen and start taking a mobile-first approach to video content.

IGTV provides a great way for businesses to test out mobile video strategies and get used to creating more smartphone-friendly content. While IGTV has added support for horizontal videos, it’s intended to be a vertical video environment similar to Snapchat or TikTok. And odds are, the next big video-sharing app will be vertical, too, so you may as well get used to it now.

3. It’s an Easy Way to Expand Your Reach

You don’t have to create new content for IGTV to benefit from it–you can re-upload content from your brand’s YouTube or Facebook page to IGTV to gain additional viewership.

Any original content you create for IGTV can be cross-promoted on Twitter, an email newsletter, or whatever other marketing platform you use.

And thanks to a February 2019 update, you can also share a 1-minute preview of your IGTV videos on your feed. From there, viewers can tap “Keep Watching” to go to the full video, allowing you to reach an audience that would never watch IGTV videos otherwise.

4. IGTV Viewers are More Engaged

People scroll past Facebook videos and play YouTube videos in the background while they do something else all the time, but IGTV watchers are a much more engaged audience.

It’s true that only a small percentage of Instagram users have downloaded the separate IGTV app, but that smaller audience is highly interested and hungry for content.

Bottom line? You might get a higher view count on YouTube, but you’ll probably get more likes, comments, and shares on Instagram.

5. Promote Your Brand to Gen Z and Millennials

The millennial generation is in their prime spending years, and is estimated to spend around $1.4 trillion (yes, trillion with a “T”) in 2020.

Gen Z isn’t just a bunch of teenagers without income anymore, either. This up and coming generation is expected to spend roughly $140 billion in 2020, which is nothing to sneeze at!

How do you court these generations? By fishing where the fish are, so to speak. More than half of Instagram users are under the age of 34, so it’s safe to assume that IGTV’s audience has a similar demographic makeup, if not younger.

Tips for Getting the Most out of IGTV for Businesses

Be consistent! Series are the most popular videos on IGTV. Whether you update that series every week or every month, it helps to give your audience something to look forward to regularly. Your series can be as simple as a monthly how-to video, interview, or success story, but don’t be afraid to push boundaries and get creative!

  • A Professional Touch Helps. Yes, one of IGTV’s most appealing features is it’s low barrier to entry, but a professional touch can go a long way. If your business already has a strong presence on Instagram and you want to make a good first impression with them on IGTV, partnering with a local video production company will give you content that extra polish.
  • Include a Call to Action. Always make sure viewers have somewhere to go after they watch your videos by including a strong call to action. IGTV makes that easier by allowing you to include links to products in your video descriptions (something you can’t do on a normal Instagram post).
  • Keep Silent Viewers in Mind. That is, the growing number of people who prefer to watch mobile videos without sound. Consider optimizing your IGTV videos for soundless viewing by adding subtitles that are clear and easy to read.

The Takeaway

  • IGTV is a great video marketing platform for brands with a low barrier to entry.
  • If you don’t already have a strong presence on Instagram or receive a lot of engagement, you may have trouble getting traction with IGTV.
  • As smartphones continue to take over the world, learning how to create great mobile-friendly, vertical video content will give you a competitive edge when the next big mobile video platform comes along.
  • Take IGTV for a test drive before you go all out. Create 2 to 4 videos and analyze the results.
  • IGTV is not a “must-have” in your digital marketing toolkit, but it’s worth considering, especially if your business is B2C.

Have questions about setting up IGTV or creating killer mobile video content? Reach out to us!