Instagram made two big announcements this summer: it reached 1 billion active accounts per month, and unveiled IGTV, a standalone vertical video app that may give YouTube a run for its money (eventually). The move reflects the explosion of interest in mobile video (forecast to account for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic by 2021) and the trend of younger audiences spending more time with amateur content creators over professionals.
For creators, the new app presents an opportunity to experiment with video and determine what sort of subject matter and publishing cadence works for you and your audience. Its newness means that best practices are still taking shape and curiosity is high while expectations are low—a great time to get in the sandbox and play while fine-tuning your production skills and finding your video audience. Play now and you may be able to reap major benefits when the platform becomes monetized, likely later this year. Here’s what you need to know:
- The app is designed for vertical video, optimal aspect ratio 9:16. (Stay tuned for vertical aspect ratio in Spark Video!)
- There are two ways to enter the app. Once you have downloaded it, you can enter from the standalone app or through the IGTV icon that will appear in your regular Instagram app in the upper right corner.
- IGTV video should be between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long. Larger and verified accounts can post video up to one hour in length, but that must be done from a computer.
- Your Instagram network will be imported into IGTV, which means that you will automatically see content created by people you are already following. Your privacy settings in the primary Instagram app will also be retained.
- IGTV begins playing content automatically when you open the app, eliminating the selection process. Tap the right side of the screen to fast forward and swipe across to advance to the next show. It’s channel surfing for the mobile age.
- There are three options for what you see in your feed: you can choose to view “for you,” “following” or “popular.” You can also search for accounts (or channels as they are known in IGTV) as you would in Instagram.
- When creating video content for IGTV, beware of placing text in the upper left and lower thirds since it will be covered in most views, especially at the beginning, by your channel name (upper left), viewing stats (lower left), and channel browsing (lower thirds).
- You will need a cover for your video, which functions as the promo shot or thumbnail in browse. Make sure it’s a strong, compelling frame from your video or create a new branded cover using Spark.
- You can give your video a title and a description. The description is a good place to provide context for your vid and to pose questions to your audience and solicit feedback to boost engagement.
- Hashtags that you add in your description will be discoverable in both of the apps.
What Brands Are Doing on the Platform
So far we’ve seen big brands experimenting with decidedly quirky content here. Netflix posted an hour long video of Riverdale star Cole Sprouse eating a cheeseburger and got just under 1 million views and 6500+ comments. BuzzFeed posted 23 minutes of hamsters playing “soccer” and got nearly 29,000 views. Of course it’s not all so zany; National Geographic garnered more than 1.3 million views with its first installment of the made-for-TV docuseries One Strange Rock, showing how brands are attempting to extend their content investment to mobile platforms. Much is yet to be determined—after all, brands of all sizes are likely waiting for a revenue share model before diving in or jumping from YouTube.
But that hasn’t stopped some curious independent and personal brands from wading into this new world and embracing a conversational tone. Some of the early examples simply show people talking directly to their followers as if in mid conversation. For instance, @drummerboyaaron, who has amassed over 30K followers by setting up his drum set every Saturday outside a farmers market in Oakland, shows fellow musicians how he mics his drum set for outdoor pop-up shows—a question he received from a follower. Designer @hotpinkpineapples took her followers on a private tour of the original Brady Bunch house for her first episode (the lawn mower in the background she had to talk over probably wasn’t in her production plan, but hey—it adds to suburban realness). Watercolor artist @cindylaneart simply extends what she does on her feed to IGTV, showing her mesmerizing watercolor process set to music. One thing’s clear—there’s an appetite for the voyeuristic, voicey, and helpful on the platform and the door is wide open for any creator to set the bar.
Check out Spark’s Own IGTV Series—New Every Tuesday!
We’re also wading into the IGTV waters with a tutorial series that goes live every Tuesday on Adobe Spark’s Instagram. Get a #TipTuesday from professional designer, creative strategist, and Spark power user Nicte Cuevas. Every Tuesday Nicte walks you through how to do cool things in Spark and gives you ideas for boosting your brand on social media.
Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding.
Are you experimenting with IGTV? Let us know how it’s going by sending us a message on Instagram. We can’t wait to see what you create!