What will Instagram's IGTV mean for social media marketing?
Why are experts so excited by the customer engagement opportunity that IGTV could provide brands?
Instagram has announced the release of a new long-form video feature, allowing users to post hour-long clips.
IGTV allows content to be posted that eclipse Instagram’s present 60-second limit.
Videos can be uploaded via a standalone app on users’ homepages, with each user having his or her own channel where videos are stored, in much the same way as YouTube hosts user content.
Initial reaction to the announcement has been very positive.
“Instagram tv will alter the face of digital platforms forever,” gushes Kara Buffrey, PR account executive for Clearly PR. “We have already seen the prolific drop of snapchat use following the introduction of Instagram stories, so what is there to say that IGTV won’t steal the audience away from YouTube?
“Further supporting this is the fact that Facebook owns Instagram. Facebook has previously ranked number six on the Fortune 100’s fastest-growing companies list (2017), and is seemingly untouchable in matters of PR scandal.
“Due to this partnership, some of the most talented techies will be working on this platform allowing it to be the ultimate tool for video uploading. The platform should theoretically be completely mobile friendly, allowing you to film, edit and upload with ease.
“Most importantly of all, we may forget that Facebook gets over eight billion average daily video views. Easy links between Instagram and Facebook should thrive your video content even further making it a vital tool for business and the individual.”
Online video on mobile devices
With its potent combination of longer-form video and mobile, IGTV will have already captured the attention of marketers the world over.
- 58% of online videos are viewed on mobile devices.
- EMEA saw mobile video plays hit 58% in the first quarter of 2018, a 22% Y/Y increase from 47.8% in Q1 2017, and 39% better than two years ago.
- Long-form video (20+ minutes) time watched exceed 50% on every screen.
- Long-form content made up nearly 55% of time watched on smartphones.
- Broadcasters saw mobile devices account for more than half (58%) of all pre-roll ad impressions.
Jim O'Neill, Ooyala principal analyst says: "Consumers are becoming far more comfortable watching any content on every screen than they've ever been. The traditional barriers to multiscreen viewing - the amount of available premium content, the cost of service and the quality of experience - all have fallen. The first screen for viewing truly has become the screen that's most available to the viewer at the moment."
And these changes in the ways that content is consumed are having a direct influence on the marketing sector.
Neil Waller, co-founder of influencer marketing platform Whalar, says: "The advertising and creative industries are on the cusp of immense change. Just this week we've seen a cornerstone in the creative calendar, Cannes Lions, welcome social and influencer marketing into the fold for the first time with its inaugural Social and Influencer category. Brands can no longer rely on print or TV ads alone, and Instagram's creation of IGTV represents the future. It has been built around how we would traditionally watch TV, with content launching from your favourite creators just as soon as you open the app."
“For the ad industry, it’s fascinating to watch how the video format continues to change and evolve,” adds Josh Krichefski, CEO of MediaCom UK. “It’s been a huge talking point at Cannes Lions this year. People are really advocating for video’s ability to inspire emotion in viewers, and go beyond a short sales snapshot for a brand; for example, Christie’s Auction House last year ran a four-minute video ad for its Leonardo da Vinci painting auction, showing visitors’ emotional reaction to viewing the painting for the first time.”
Content marketing and influencer marketing
While it's not yet clear if the longer Instagram videos will include adverts, the announcement potentially opens up new opportunities for brands that are already keen to tap into the marketing power of video.
“Short videos optimised using data segments and audience targeting may quickly grab people’s attention, but do they leave a lasting impression? Do they make us feel something?” continues Krichefski.
“Yes, shorter formats have their place in the advertising mix, but IGTV will give brands more creative license to build campaigns that are less hurried and can connect with consumers on a deeper level. It is a refreshing change of pace in an online world where we’re all too used to being bombarded with rapid-fire content.”
Sophie Light-Wilkinson, VP marketing, EMEA at Bazaarvoice, believes that IGTV carries significant implications for the future of social commerce.
IGTV will give brands more creative license to build campaigns that are less hurried and can connect with consumers on a deeper level.
“Given the recent uplift in the use of features like Instagram Collections, we can expect to see brands employ Instagram even more as a means of driving customer content around the products they bookmark. It may seem overly simplistic, but featuring visual content curated from social media on ecommerce product and category pages is not only engaging and authentic, but it helps drive conversion and revenue per visitor.”
Abi Jacks, director of marketing UK at Rakuten Marketing, suggests that the news that Instagram is venturing into the world of long-form video will be a welcome addition to content creators and brands alike – but warns that businesses should still approach with caution.
“It will enable those with huge followings on the popular social media platform to extend their influence further than the one-minute maximum videos the app allows today and move closer towards a YouTube style presence,” she says.
“Research we conducted last year found that UK marketers on average will pay £60,000 for an Instagram post by a celebrity influencer, rising up to £93,000 for those in the premium fashion industry, showing that huge money is at stake here.
“Whilst the update could provide brands with a brilliant opportunity to promote brand awareness and positioning, they should also take stock before committing to assigning large chunks of marketing budget. Despite the money being spent on influencer campaigns, our research also found that 86% of marketers have admitted they aren’t entirely sure how influencer fees are calculated, with 38% not being able to tell whether a particular campaign drove sales.
“Working with brand-relevant influencers, and using attribution tools to help measure how sales are being driven on social media apps like Instagram so influencers can be rewarded on that basis rather than simple ‘reach’ alone, will be key to creating and nurturing valuable and fruitful partnerships.“
Alexei Edwards, head of social at Tribal Worldwide London, concludes: "Brands, agencies and creative-types will be twitching with anticipation at the potential of IGTV. We of course all know influencer marketing is beset with measurement problems and inconsistencies, and some of the data typically tracked can be a little on the fluffy side.
"But as this evolves and the fluff gets tidied up, I envision IGTV becoming a significant channel in delivering measurable effectiveness for brands. We’ve seen the power influencer marketing has had on the beauty industry in 2017 with a reported return of £8.81 for every £1 spent. And in a recent survey of marketers working in the beauty sector, 52% of respondents thought that using ambassadors and influencers to build audiences will be more important than a shoppable app.
"Once IGTV sorts out its monetizaton model for creators, I fully anticipate it will become another marketing monster in the Facebook eco-system."
Neil Davey is the managing editor of MyCustomer. An experienced business journalist and editor, Neil has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 15 years, including Internet Works, CXO magazine and Business Management. He joined Sift Media in 2007.