“It’s mobile first, it’s simple and it’s high quality,” said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom of the brand’s new service, Instagram TV, or IGTV.
Mobile-first vertical video might well be the shape of things to come if it's not already.
Last week IGTV was launched to a captive audience of one billion monthly Instagram users. It’s a social media platform and service that allows users to upload and watch videos of up to one hour in length at a time.
While some have suggested it could challenge YouTube’s seeming monopoly on the video market, there is one key difference between the two platforms: YouTube was first developed with desktop viewing in mind, and IGTV was developed with mobile viewing in mind. As Systrom puts it, it’s ‘mobile first’.
Desktop first vs mobile first
The go-to video style for many brands when commissioning video has generally been the standard YouTube-style format: a horizontal video, created with desktop viewing in mind. But a lot has changed since the launch of YouTube in 2005, and content creation best practice has evolved dramatically. Take a look at the below images as an example.
The image on the left is what a YouTube-optimised horizontal video will look like when viewed upright on a mobile device. The image in the centre is what a square-shaped Facebook-optimised video will look like when viewed upright on a mobile device. The image on the right is what a vertical IGTV-optimised video will look like when viewed upright on a mobile device. Vertical video is the clear winner in the battle for screen space.
In a media landscape where we measure success by column inches, video size on-screen can and should be given kudos, too.
What does this mean for your brand?
When properly optimised, IGTV presents brands with a fresh way of reaching their target audience.
Where once vertical video was restricted to back-to-back clips of a maximum 15 seconds on Instagram Stories, now brands can produce up to an hour’s worth of content for one clip. This brings with it plenty of opportunity for vertical video.
Netflix, the BBC, RTÉ and other publishers have already started sharing content on the platform and no doubt others will soon. There are plenty of YouTube vloggers who are considering how best to optimise their videos to suit the vertical video format, as well.
It’s an interesting time for content creators and brands commissioning video for social media platforms. While vertical video is nothing new (think Snapchat/Facebook Stories), the launch of IGTV is an expression of confidence in the format.
Quoting eMarketer and Cisco analysis, Instagram notes that “people are watching less TV and more digital video” and “by 2021, mobile video will account for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic”.
In Instagram’s own words: “we believe this is the future of video”.
If you’d like to learn more about how video production and social media are now working in tandem, get in touch with PR360.