So you’ve probably heard of (or seen) IGTV by now. If you’ve seen it and are too afraid to ask, here’s a quick briefing:
IGTV is Instagram’s foray into long-form video content, allowing users to upload content up to ten minutes in length. What’s unique about the platform is that it’s made primarily for vertical content (even though horizontal videos are now being supported), lending the content to handheld viewing and helping users feel like they’re watching a much longer video.
These videos can be accessed from the standard Instagram app, with users being allowed to post 60-second previews of the clip to their feed. Their followers can then opt to watch the full video on Instagram by clicking on the video or a prompt after watching the preview clip. Basically, it’s Instagram’s way of keeping users on the app, instead of leaving to go watch the same thing on YouTube.
So now that you’ve gotten the gist of what IGTV is, you might be wondering why you’d want to use it. That’s easy – when Facebook and co. rolls out a new feature, they like to prioritize it in the apps’ newsfeed to encourage adoption. As a result, preview posts are given precedence in your followers’ feed, as well as being more likely to appear on the “Discover” screen. In other words, your content gets promoted by Instagram for free.
Many brands have been slow to make the leap into Instagram’s newest feature. While the complimentary content boost is nice, it’s hard for some to justify creating vertical video content for one platform. Time and resources cost money, and the bigger the company, the stricter their content guidelines. This might give small- and mid-sized companies an edge, allowing them the freedom to move forward and create content without the restrictions bigger entities may have.
That doesn’t mean all companies have to do is hit record on their phone, though. IGTV is a great new tool, but there are some notable distinctions between what you can and can’t do. Let’s take a look at some.
Can: Post videos to feed
As we mentioned earlier, you can post a 60-second clip of the video to your newsfeed. When you initially publish your video, you can opt to share a preview of the full video. If you choose, you can also share the IGTV video to your associated Facebook page. An important note: You can only share a preview of the video to your newsfeed or share to IGTV as you publish posts – you can’t do it later.
You should absolutely share a preview of the post. They’re prioritized by the Instagram algorithm, so take advantage of it while you can!
Can’t: Change caption of the preview post
While you can publish an IGTV preview to your feed, do note something peculiar about it – you can’t edit the caption of the post once it’s live. Furthermore, the caption to each of these previews are pulled directly from the title of the video, so it may be in your best interest to name videos similar to captions for Instagram, as opposed to what you’d title a Facebook video.
Can’t: Pay to boost IGTV videos or preview posts
While the videos and preview posts get a nice boost from Instagram, you cannot put paid dollars behind either of these. The structure of the platform doesn’t lend itself to boosted posts and that includes the preview posts on the newsfeed as well. It doesn’t matter whether you use Facebook Ads Manager or try to boost directly through Instagram, you can’t put dollars behind those posts.
Can: Link the video to your story
We know, we know – relying solely on organic for your top-tier content can be a bit frustrating. Don’t worry, Instagram has a little tool that will help make up for that.
Once you post IGTV videos, you’ll now have access to share a link to your video via “swipe-up.” Previously reserved for accounts with 10K followers or more, this ability is now available for everyone after posting a video. While you can’t put paid dollars behind the video, at least you can share your content as much as you can via your story! You can’t, however, promote stories that swipe up to IGTV videos.
IGTV is still a relatively new platform, and things are changing every day. As we continue to explore Instagram’s Wild West, our biggest piece of advice is to experiment. If something goes wrong you’re sure to learn something from the experience, which is arguably more valuable than any success.