Ever since we figured out a way to turn signal waves into a form of communicative medium, humans have been obsessed with making social contact possible through virtual means. The original social networks such as Myspace and Orkut started off as a medium to help people connect and socialize, but it wasn’t until the invention of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook that the social media revolution took off like a spaceship to Mars.
Ever since Facebook was able to tap into the advertising ability of social media and rake billions in profit from it, the social media company has been on a warpath. After taking over Instagram back in 2012 for a whopping $1 Billion, Facebook has turned Instagram into a money-making machine through sponsorships, advertisements, and marketing campaigns all across the platform.
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With the IGTV (Instagram TV) platform that is breaking free of the 60-second video limit and offering creators a way to showcase their video content and monetize it in the process, Instagram is aiming for the stars and taking a swing at the biggest video sharing platform in the world- YouTube. If you’re wondering why Facebook is making such bold moves even when the Instagram is a blockbuster hit by itself, here’s everything you need to know.
Why did Facebook create the IGTV platform?
As a regular Instagram user, you’ve probably seen plenty of videos in your Instagram feed already, and creators until now have coupled together multiple 60-second videos to make their content longer, so why would Facebook find the need for an entirely new platform dedicated to videos?
1. Instagram videos are an untapped goldmine
Instagram started off as a photos-only platform, but when the service introduced Instagram videos, the crowd went wild. Within the first 24 hours of the service being made available, there were 1.5 million videos posted on the platform, and Facebook took notice of this. Over the years, features like Instagram Live Video and Stories have surpassed the regular way users enjoy the platform, which is one of the driving reasons behind IGTV.
2. IGTV caters to the younger demographic
The target audience for Instagram is the younger generation, which is highly adaptable to new features and elements that are introduced with the Instagram app. This is apparent from the fact that after Instagram introduced Stories, which gained three times the search interest compared to the original Snapchat Stories. Additionally, the younger generation is no longer engaging with TV and Radio as much as it is with videos and social media, which is why a platform dedicated to videos such as IGTV is the perfect bait.
3. Facebook Watch is a hit and miss
Google has ruled the world of video sharing through YouTube over a decade ago, and while Facebook has rivaled it with marketing campaigns through Facebook Watch, it hasn’t been as widely successful as you’d expect. YouTube has managed to offer better viewing quality and streaming speed to views compared to Facebook, while for the marketers, YouTube is also cheaper and while Facebook has higher video impressions, YouTube beats it once again with higher completed views, which is essential for viewer engagement.
4. It’s about the money
Since Facebook is a company that has based its entire fortune on advertising users content and helping companies build their brand through online marketing, Google’s YouTube is a natural competitor. This is why IGTV is expected to follow in the footsteps of Facebook and monetize off the videos that are put up by the creators, and hopefully share those revenues with the creators themselves. While Instagram is yet to highlight the exact path to monetization for creators, you can expect pre-roll and mid-roll video ads tucked between IGTV videos very soon.
While IGTV is still in its infancy for it to be broken down too much, but you can expect the video sharing service to work based on what Facebook is doing it on their platform. Facebook has recently begun testing out a premium subscription for certain groups and pages, where users can gain access to exclusive content by paying a monthly fee. This is similar to how services like Netflix and YouTube Red operate, so it is within the realm of possibilities that you could be paying for premium content on IGTV too.
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Why would you want to use IGTV?
If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you know for a fact that IGTV is not the only competitor that has faced up against YouTube in the past few years. While many have come and gone, YouTube may finally have found a video sharing platform that gives it a run for its money, but why would you, as a user, want to give IGTV a go?
1. IGTV is built for mobile
Despite being riddled with ads, the YouTube app does a pretty decent job of showcasing millions of videos, but you do feel that the platform is after all desktop-centric with 4K resolution and 360 videos. IGTV, on the other hand, is a mobile-exclusive platform that while does offer web support, is dedicated to bringing videos in a vertical orientation, which makes for great viewing on the mobile screen, especially since you don’t have to flip the phone sideways to enjoy a full-screen experience.
2. Better user interface
The original Instagram Video feed is a great way to enjoy random videos and age-old classic vines from the past, but you have no control over the playback whatsoever. IGTV changes this by handing you over a good amount of playback control with the ability the fast-forward videos and rewind them by 10 seconds. Apart from this, you also get a dedicated slider bar to view the playback duration of the video and move it around to skip to all of the good parts without having to watch the entire video.
3. Your feed is extra personalized
While YouTube does offer you a list of content only from the Channels that you’ve subscribed too, it also often offers related content which may not always be of interest to you. IGTV, on the other hand, hopes to bring a more personalized experience when viewing videos, by breaking it all down under For You, Following, Popular, and Continue Watching sections. You essentially get to enjoy curated content under the first two sections, while Popular enlists the most trending creators and videos for you to get a fresh list of content to enjoy, while the last section keeps a tab of all the videos you’ve started watching but haven’t finished entirely, so that you can jump right into the action.
4. Longer videos and better quality
Considering that the shorter video length was one of the main reason driving creators away from Instagram and towards YouTube, the ability of IGTV to allows videos longer in length than just 60 seconds is a big deal. New and upcoming creators can upload videos in an MP4 format that are 15 seconds to 10 minutes in length and up to 650MB in size. However, verified Channels and bigger brands will be able to upload videos up to 60 minutes long that is up to 5.4GB in size, which means you’ll be able to enjoy high definition content worth hours of playback time directly from the IGTV app.
Do you think IGTV will be enough to convince loyal YouTubers to move their focus over to the mobile platform? Be sure to drop down your thoughts on Instagram’s video platform down below.