Instagram is known for testing and introducing new features on a regular basis. By doing so, the app always stays interesting and attractive to its users. Instagram provides its users a platform to connect people and inspire each other, discover, and entertain each other day after day.

What is IGTV?

IGTV (Instagram TV) is the latest feature for users to share videos on Instagram with their followers. The special thing about it: the videos can be up to 60 minutes long and the entire content is presented in vertical format, instead of horizontal, as it is usual for videos. This way, they fill the entire screen and viewers do not have to turn their smartphone around to watch the content. To record a video, a separate app, called IGTV, is needed. It automatically imports  videos into the regular Instagram app once they are filmed. On Instagram, videos are then sorted by “For You,” “Subscribed,” “Popular,” and „History.” In the search box you can look for individual channels to see if they have already uploaded videos. A novelty is, that there now is an IGTV button on the profile of each creator, right next to the highlights on the leftmost position. This will directly show you if a user has uploaded an IGTV video yet and your followers will be able to see it in your profile as well. IGTV videos are great for introducing new products or explaining how they work, through presenting an example. The fact that they are not limited one minute, like Instagram Stories, you have the opportunity to present things in more detail concerning individual functions and how they work.

Instagram's new IGTV functionality

Since the not quite so new feature did not really cause the expected enthusiasm among users, Instagram has recently made a small improvement. When a user uploads an IGTV video, followers will see a one-minute preview of the video in their regular feed. With one click they are then able to switch to the IGTV area from there, and can seamlessly watch the full video to the end. This allows users to directly enter into the IGTV area without much effort. Once they have arrived there, they are quite likely to stay for a bit and browse. The relatively small change of the feed-preview shows that the issue of relatively few Instagrammers using IGTV’s is not so much about the content, but rather about its usability. Today’s Instagram user is fast-paced, impatient, and likes things to be straightforward. If the application is too complicated for the user, he quickly loses interest. In order to catch the interest of your followers, we have summarized a few tips and tricks for you.

#1 Clear message at the very beginning of the video sequence

Everyone has been here: you are watching a video on Instagram or Facebook on your smartphone and suddenly you have to pause the video or cancel it because you get a call, need to get off the bus or the commercial break on tv is over. Later, you have most likely forgotten which video youwere watching, the video is no longer displayed in your feed or you simply do not have the time to finish it.

Due to these external factors that constantly impact our smartphone-use, our attention span is often very short. On average Instagram users only watch a video for 1.7 seconds. Consequently, it makes sense to communicate a clear message and establish a link to your brand very early.

#2 Videos must be understandable without sound

A common mistake made in IGTV videos is, that companies come up with a great picture-and-sound combo, but viewers end up watching it on the train or bus while their phone is set on mute, or they are listening to music at the same time. The video therefore has be understandable through its visual context In order to ensure this, it is important to convey the most important information to the viewer in the form of text or graphic elements. This way, users can easily watch videos on the go, without disturbing others and still get the meaning of your video message.

#3 Screen Split editing tools

Due to the vertical format, you should absolutely avoid uploading videos in landscape format. But if you already have existing content that you want to use for IGTV, you can make use of apps which allow you to incorporate existing videos into a horizontal-formatted background. The disadvantage of this is, that the video will appear quite small on the screen. Likewise, you can make a screen split, and play two videos simultaneously or offset. A great free app to edit your videos like this is StoryArt. In the app, there are several templates in which you can easily insert and trim your videos.

IGTV Split editing tools
IGTV Split editing tools

#4 Uses effects as an eye-catcher

Due to the short attention span of Instagram users we have mentioned before, it is important to make your videos exciting. Use effects to make your content even more interesting and to keep viewers with you for as long as possible. These can be small emojis, arrows or keywords. Such eye-catchers will make sure to draw users attention.

About Anthea Bruger

Anthea was part of the squarelovin team from 2018 to 2019. In addition to her marketing management studies at the Northern Business School, she supported the marketing team, in content creation as an expert for all things Instagram.

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