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  • Writer's pictureJames Cullen

What is Instagram TV and Should I Be Using It?

Savvy marketers will have predicted this some time ago, but live-streaming has become the forefront of many social media campaigns. Forget transparent posts and meme marketing, forget bread and butter for every freelance copywriter - hello live video, hello Twitch, hello Facebook Live, hello to the brand new baby of the mix: Instagram TV or IGTV.

What is Instagram TV?

The Instagram feature and standalone app was tailored for videos that are longer than 60 seconds ,though can be as short as 15 seconds - so content marketers and social media experts should look at utilising those 60 seconds to not only fit in with their marketing goals, but also the few seconds it takes for attention spans to wane - hook them in fast. The videos are 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels high and the thumbnails in JPG format.

Should I Use Instagram TV?

The answer to this question depends on the kind of brand you are, how you are planning on using IGTV, and what you are hoping to gain from it. For many, IGTV could be an exercise in wasting time - but for others, it could be a hidden goldmine. Here are the arguments for and against:

PRO: Could IGTV Change Programming?

IGTV, like regular TV (remember that?) has channels. Channels are started by any brand or any influencer. These channels can be used to showcase little videos sponsored by a brand or full hour long episodes of a new TV show you've invented. The system is trial and error at the moment - but with brands able to put up significantly longer adverts, the classic episodic advertising campaign format could see a resurgence. Remember Nescafe Gold with George Clooney? Or Daz and the quest for whiter whites for those in England? IGTV works well for brands or individuals who have something aesthetic to draw in viewers initially. For example, the fitness industry could have field days with IGTV - posting workout videos that last a few minutes, offer some solid advice, and encourage viewers to stay until the end. Food brands could create nice little recipe videos and focus on the visual nature of the platforms. IGTV also allows some social media analysis to take place with stats which could help feed into a wider Instagram marketing strategy, which a freelance copywriter can help assist with.

CON: Is Instagram TV Just White Noise?

There are, however, some pitfalls when it comes to Instagram's flagship content factory. People were already growing tired of the story function and the amount people were able to post - some serial posters may as well have had IGTV before their stories were so lengthy. This already led to user apathy, which will have rendered the launch of IGTV the same as the launch of a white noise station. Users were already tuning out of the stories, so they were definitely not going to be clicking on stories that were more animated and lasted significantly longer. Fans of the app wanted a return to the chronological timeline, not the algorithm heavy that saw people liking posts that could be five days old. Instead, they were gifted the live-streaming function, which many saw as pointless.

IGTV is a nice bit of fun that has people talking about Instagram again - and away from the chronological timeline. Seriously, though, bring that back! If you attempt some IGTV, let me know how it goes. Oh and don't forget to include subtitles and make sure your phone stays in portrait mode for the full effect to be seen.

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