As Instagram hit one billion monthly active users in June of this year it provided a new way to connect with and acquire new users, Instagram TV (IGTV). Instagram’s focus on video is not surprising given how popular YouTube has made watching videos online. More than five billion videos are watched each day on YouTube.
IGTV allows creators to shoot and publish vertical videos, making the platform easy to use for smartphone owners. Videos can play for up to 10 minutes long but for larger accounts videos can run up to an hour long. Video creators are not paid for the content they publish in the way YouTubers are and there is no advertising on the platform for now. Instagram hopes that the platform will eventually be supported completely by advertising. Several brands have started using the platform including Nike, National Geographic and Spotify.
One of the first videos featured on IGTV by Nike is the story of Maynor de Leon a man who used to weigh 700 lbs and began the journey of losing 500 pounds because he feared that his weight would kill him. The video traces his weight loss journey which started two years ago. He has made great progress and has lost 200 pounds so far.
National Geographic found a captive audience by showing a video on IGTV called One Strange Rock that features strange occurrences across planet earth. Given the visual nature of National Geographic’s content it is not surprising that this video has had over 1.3 million views since it was posted in June of 2018.
Spotify is using the platform to provide behind the scenes footage of Spotify artists such as Charlie Puth.
It is too early to tell if IGTV will be able to effectively compete with YouTube in the long run but it has not had the same initial success as Instagram Stories.
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