With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is officially the social king, having replaced TV as the most important way for advertisers to reach young people.

For budding video creators, the social platform rolled out its long-form feature, IGTV, last summer hoping to lure audiences away from YouTube. But how does it compare to its predecessor, Instagram Stories? With over 400 million daily users, brands are placing their bets on Stories with effective results. But could they get more value out of IGTV?

What’s the difference?

Simply put: IGTV gives users their own channel to air long-form video. Like YouTube, it has a standalone app, whereas Stories is integrated into the Instagram app. IGTV users are encouraged to create content lasting up to 1 hour which remains in their channel forever – a bonus compared to Stories’ 15 seconds limit and 24-hour disappearing act.

Who’s using IGTV?

Since its rollout six months ago, National Geographic became one of the first media companies to air a full, vertical-optimised, 48-minute show traditionally made for TV.

Netflix jumped on the IGTV bandwagon relatively early with a video of actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger for an hour. It generated close to a million views along with hundreds of comments.

Fashion house Louis Vuitton gave fans a glimpse backstage with behind-the-scenes content from its Men’s Spring/Summer 2019 fashion show.

Is IGTV right for me?

Unlike Instagram Stories, IGTV provides more potential for customer engagement. Viewers are able to like and comment on videos, allowing brands to see how each video is received. On the flip side, viewers can only comment and ‘react’ through DM on Stories. However, the introduction of polls, swipe meters and questions has led to increased audience interaction.

The fact that IGTV is pretty new means that brands can establish themselves relatively early on. It’s also ad-free which is likely to generate more viewership. With influencer marketing, IGTV provides a new way to market with influencers in long-form – be it unboxing, hauling, reviews or tutorials.

Ultimately it comes down to what you want your video to achieve. Is it an epic branded film or a snack-sized, behind-the-scenes video to tease for a bigger upcoming project?

What next?

Starting out, brands should consider aesthetics: maintain a channel consistent in style, like The Lily News. Put together a detailed posting schedule and tease content in short-form, through Instagram Stories.

Though labour intensive, optimise video content for vertical viewing. Vertical videos see 90% completion rate compared to horizontal videos, so maybe it’s time to hold fire on 16:9 for now.

Finally – determine what content will resonate and best represent your brand. Could it be delivered through humour? Could you connect with your audience through an inspiring story?

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Nina Jan 24th, 2019

About Nina Postans

Nina is Marketing Manager at Skylark Media. Her background is in editorial content, running fashion and celebrity B2B services in New York and London. A keen home renovator and interior hacker, Nina juggles life on the school run while tending to her other kids (indoor plants!).