Opinion: Why Instagram’s IGTV is game-changing for brands & influencers!

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Pranay Swarup, Co Founder & CEO, shares his opinion on how IGTV impacts the social media ecosystem!

IGTV is much bigger than what we may think!

Remember Orkut, MySpace, Hi5, and Friendster? Right, most of us really don’t. Gen-Z is probably saying that we might as well be talking about Doordarshan. That’s the thing about social media, it’s a highly competitive space. Content creators, influencers & users may stay, but social media platforms will definitely come and go. Well, unless they keep their innovation, acquisition or strategic cut-copy-paste hats on.

Facebook’s definitely come a long way since it started in 2004, but even since it acquired Instagram in 2012 things have moved so fast and big, it’s almost unreal. Instagram has now grown into a community of a whopping one billion monthly users! Insta has always been about user-generated-content & creators, they started out with sharing square photos and revolutionary filters, turning every average Joe (or Rahul) into a photographer. Three years after its launch, Insta started supporting short-form videos but these were constrained to a minute. Though originally inspired by some competitors, they introduced stories and live streaming in 2016. It’s been a pleasant and successful addition.

IGTV’s launch, however, has been the biggest and boldest move yet by Instagram. In a mobile-first approach, videos canbe shot vertically which intuitively seem tomake it easier to just pick up your phone and start shooting, and also consuming. Gen-Z loves what's natural, what's authentic, and hence this is designed keeping in mind the creators and consumers of Instagram.

Also Read: Expert opinion: Is IGTV the path breaker everyone is expecting it to be?

This isn’t the first mobile-oriented video platform though. We’ve seen player’s like Periscope, Snapchat, Vine, Vimeo and even Facebook take their shot at this but nothing has come even close compared to YouTube. However, what makes IGTV, Instagram’s own video content hub, so unique & special is that IGTV apart from having a standalone application is also accessible from Instagram. With just one click it takes you to a whole other dimension where you can watch & discover long format videos from people (friends and influencers) that you already follow. Similarly, it is much easier for an IGer to move their subscribers to their new channel on Insta itself. The best part about this is that it creates little inhibition on emerging as well as established influencers to churn out videos shot on mobile devices at will, perhaps even less inhibition than YouTube. It’s simple and is designed to express yourself rather than creating compelling high-production value videos. This, along with an introduction of fun filters that one can expect with IGTV, it can truly unleash a new wave of creators! This also interestingly comes at a time when a lot of small creators haven’t been happy about YouTubes’ monetization model.

With, my team and I have been building India’s largest community of Influencers & Creators for India since 2016. We’ve been analyzing data inside-out and have seen Instagram Stories & Videos let loose branded content and engagement numbers like never before. A majority of our emerging Influencer base are most active of Instagram &Youtube across categories like Fashion, Beauty, Technology, Food, Fitness, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Travel, Music, etc. Video is the now & future, and IGTV holds the potential to further enable influencers to embed brands in their content, keeping it all interactive rather than with annoying and interruptive skippable or push-ads.

For Influencers: Part of being a successful creator is to be able to create content and engage audiences on multiple platforms. There’s been a 60% rise in creation and consumption of video content on Instagram. In the last one year, we've seen this community expand exponentially and we can see many of them moving to new channels of their own. A lot of our Influencers, have always shown interest in learning how to make better videos& break through into Youtube to get a bite of the huge video pie and Youtube’s 1.5 billion user base. However, considering Instagram’s expansion rate we could see new video creators and existing creators from Youtube migrating to IGTV since most of them are already active on Instagram. It of course will have to be done right by both Instagram and Influencers.Youtube isn’t going to just watch this happen though, one day after IGTV’s launch, they’ve just made it easier for creators to make money without ads.

What thismeans for brands? As of now IGTV is completely free of ads, since it seems to be inclined towards a seamless connect between curated content and its viewers. This gives max power to branded content. The IG blog highlights that “by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic" and that they’ve “learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals”. The beauty of IGTV is that content doesn’t have to be fancy. It has to be real & authentic storytelling, something people (aka influencers & creators) are best at.

This is the era of the mobile television for the mobile generation, and forward-looking brands definitely will want to make the most of it. Exciting times ahead!

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