During the last few days, I've been trying IGTV (Instagram TV) as a possible (and yet another) outlet to share my work.
When it first launched a few months ago, I was very skeptical. I still am, but after playing with it for a bit I can see its huge potential.
I've released 4 videos so far on my IGTV channel:
I wanted to share some thoughts about the platform.
This is not YouTube
I'm still trying to figure out the best way to share on IGTV. Even though many think Instagram (well, Facebook) is going after YouTube, I believe IGTVers (is that a thing?) will find a different way to use this tool that fits better with its very own characteristics.
For now though, I've seen way too many people simply uploading the content they already had on their YouTube channels to IGTV. I believe this is a mistake.
Videos must be vertical on IGTV. Instagram is very clear on this, and I don't think they'll be changing their mind any time soon.
This makes recycling content made for other platforms more difficult, and while that might not be good for IGTV at first, over time its content will become exclusive for the same reason. If you record vertical, you are probably not going to share that on YouTube or other platforms where horizontal video is king.
My first three videos on IGTV are natively vertical, recorded on my phone and edited on Final Cut Pro as vertical projects. Recording yourself on the field is not easy task, recording two versions (one horizontal and one vertical) is impossible for a one person team. These videos are and will remain exclusive to IGTV.
IGTV is mobile first
Instagram is mobile first, so is IGTV.
Smartphones account for 29% of the views on my YouTube channel, but that's not the whole story. People watching my videos on a TV do so for an average time of 6 minutes and 20 seconds. Smartphone audience stays with me for 3 minutes and 19 seconds. That's a huge difference!
This shows that different devices require different type of content.
This is why I intend to make shorter and straight-to-the-point videos on IGTV, leaving longer montages for YouTube.
If you watch my IGTV videos, you'll notice that I include "hardcoded" subtitles on them. This is not only because my English pronunciation is terrible, but because most people watch videos without sound on their phones.
The audience is already there
Unlike other new platforms, you don't start from scratch -all your followers are already there.
This is good, you don't have to ask people to join you somewhere else, but on the other hand, it's a missed opportunity for smaller accounts on Instagram.
As of right now, I don't see many of the big accounts I follow on IGTV. If this was a new platform where you had to build your audience from scratch, you could have a head start by being among the first ones publishing content there.
This advantage is lost on IGTV. Once a big account starts publishing, they'll have all of their followers paying attention.
There might be good news though: Instagram wants IGTV to succeed, so they might promote the still scarce content being published on IGTV to make people more aware of this new feature.
Take IGTV for what it is: yet another chance to have your work seen by millions.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. On one hand, most of the people who know me and follow my work today wouldn't have if it wasn't for Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Unsplash... I do appreciate that and I'm grateful.
On the other hand, it's a game that is hard to play because you don't know the rules and they change all the time.
In the end, the best thing you can do is work hard, create awesome work and share it with as many people as you can.
IGTV for me is an opportunity to share the smallest pieces of my daily work. Not meaningful enough for a YouTube video, but excellent content to be consumed from your phone in 1-2 minutes.