IGTV: Perfect timing for something fresh, but what do we do with it?

Instagram valued at $100B thanks to higher user numbers and new services

Beyonce may say that girls run the world, but with the number of features and innovations Facebook keeps rolling out across all it’s productssome old, some new, some borrowed ( some bought), and some where the performance probably makes them blue – she has some fierce competition. 

The launch of IGTV last week caused more buzz than we’ve seen since that algorithm update in January… but people are asking, What the fuck is IGTV?. With a great combination of features and functionality, IGTV is intended to take Instagram well beyond it’s current capabilities. IGTV is a bold, risky and ambitious play to own vertical video and take audiences, and probably content creators, from YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat ( what’s left of them anyway) and the rest of the video ecosystem. 

Bloomberg – Is Instagram Facebook’s last hope?

Facebook, like all brands, is always trying, testing and learning from new features and innovations, across all of it’s products, of course. In addition to IGTV just some of the recent innovations and updates across all Facebook owned platforms have been:

Many of these innovations are thanks to acquisitions, like the recent compliment app popular with teens TBH , just one of the 66 since 2005When you look at IGTV in perspective of the broader landscape with digital, content and marketing trends, platform updates and innovations – recent and to come, and online audience behaviours, the story of it’s evolution and ( if done well) potential unfolds, and things get interesting.

Audiences and Platforms
Video Viewing Habits
Facebook Algorithm Update- January 2018
Facebook TV ( Watch)
Instagram – IGTV
IGTV – What does it mean for brands and content

Or, maybe it will all just give you a headache from overthinking.
And this is just a typical day in the social media life so, Should you ask your social media manager if they’re okay? ( yes, absolutely, you definitely should)

VidCon 2018: teens sound off on YouTube, Facebook Watch, Snapchat’s redesign and IGTV

Audiences and Platforms
For Facebook / Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat are their biggest competitors, globally and locally. Younger audiences prefer Instagram and Snapchat. 

Facebook and YouTube are the top 2 most active and popular platforms globally and locally in Australia, says We Are Social in their January 2018 Digital Report .

Screen Shot 2018-06-24 at 1.20.31 AM.png

To dive into the numbers a bit further the Sensis 2018 Social Media Report, released last week, tells us that in Australia 91% of us are active on Facebook, 53% on YouTube followed by Instagram (39%), Snapchat (23%), LinkedIn (22%), Pinterest (22%), Twitter (19%) and Google+ (13%) ( really? who’s using G+ and why?). For younger audiences, both Sensis and Pewter research say Instagram and Snapchat are the platforms of choice.

The biggest competitors for Facebook / Instagram are YouTube and Snapchat, and they both present opportunities for IGTV to move in. 
Snapchat isn’t dead but it hasn’t been in a great place for a while – Spectacles failed in their first launch and hopes are on the recent relaunch – Spectacles V2 , a globally unpopular app redesign – now in a costly roll back, limited new functionality releases and public smackdowns from Kylie Jenner and Rhianna have been slowly stripping it of value and users.

YouTube is hardly struggling or fighting to keep users like Snapchat but – they have been struggling to get vertical video right; 2 years in and their subscription service YouTube Red is significantly underperforming, confusing for users and now being split into two products; the poor and slow response to the Logan Paul controversy hurt reputationally and their algorithm has parents concerned with some of the content being served to children. Unlike Instagram it also really only has one capability, video.

Facebook is still reputationally cleaning up from the Cambridge Analytica #datadrama and trust in Facebook has declined . People reevaluated how they use the platform, have been tightening their privacy controls, culling friends and tightening their network to make it more “trustworthy” and using Facebook less. Overall engagement and time on site has fallen and although Teen audiences continue to decline, overall users have grown, but only slightly. 

When  it comes to trust though, Roy Morgan says Social Media Is “Deeply Distrusted” By Australians in general.

Like many others, both Facebook and Twitter have been doing a lot of work to increase transparency of their ad targeting to give users a better understanding of how their data is used.

Twitter ( June 2018) – twitter ads transparency update
Facebook ( June 2018) – Greater transparency for Ads and Pages

Facebook gets charming in new ad campaign promoting transparency and data use 

Instagram has faced criticism for encouraging inauthenticity – adding to poor mental health and low esteem , but its younger audiences are finding ways to keep it real with Fintsa’s. The unpopular change from a chronological to algorithmic feed is staying and brands have found it difficult to identify fake influencers, but a recent Brandwatch Instagram Report shows these issues haven’t kept anyone off the platform.

Virtual Influencers lead to Virtual inauthenticity 


Video Viewing Habits are changing
Long form video, mobile video and vertical video are all on the rise.

Forbes – Video Marketing continues to explode in 2018

The online video landscape is overwhelming but digital video ― especially mobile video―is the fastest-growing video type by consumption says the 2018 IAB Video Landscape Report. Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends report identified mobile video as essential for marketers years ago.

Interestingly the 2015 Internet Trends Report also identified vertical video as one to watch. “Consumers are going vertical, so marketers have to as well” said Digiday in 2015. It’s taken time but 3 years later popularity and adoption is rising more rapidly than ever .Even Netflix is going vertical now. 

We’re also watching longer videos. The IAB Video Report also revealed that long form video content (8+ minutes) accounted for 98% of all time spent watching video on connected TVs, 81% on tablets, 65% on computers and 55% on smartphones. 

The biggest competitors for Facebook / Instagram are YouTube and Snapchat, and they both present opportunities for IGTV to move in. AND
Long form video, mobile video and vertical video are all on the rise.

long form video stats.jpg


With VidCon on in the US in June 2018 , and coming to Australia in September, we can expect many more video and platform insights and updates, like YouTube going vertical with Stories and helping creators engage communities and earn more  to come in the next few weeks. 

Check out the Keynotes, talks and updates on the Vidcon YouTube Channel 

Facebook Algorithm Update- January 2018
Facebook prioritises engagement over video views

Speaking to Wired in January 18 about that algorithm update, Facebook’s Adam Moseri said “ There will be less video [ on Facebook]. Video is an important part of the ecosystem. It’s been consistently growing. But it’s more passive in nature. There’s less conversation on videos, particularly public videos”. 

Hit the blue bit to read: Facebook’s Adam Mosseri on why you’ll see less video.

January’s Facebook Algorithm update flipped how Facebook prioritised video upside down, downweighting its algorithmic rank value. It was a significant turnaround. Only 3 months earlier, in Oct 2017 buffer app said that “Facebook loves videos uploaded to Facebook [natively]  . With January’s update the opposite is true, and buffer confirmed video is now classified as a passive experience that has little value. Traditional engagement metrics are back in style – for the algorithm anyway. As marketers we still want create more meaningful results that help brands grow.

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 11.22.19 AM


Facebook TV ( Watch)
Watch hasn’t proved it can create a video-watching habit, or encourage content discovery

Instant Articles and live videos didn’t stick. What about made-for-Facebook news shows?

In January 2017 Mark Zuckerberg told investors that “video is a top priority for Facebook”  . They’ve been trying to nail their TV product Watch for a while now. Arguably Facebook TV is a strategy to re-engage younger audiences, and keep those watching long form video on the platform. Watch has been a slow burn since launching in Aug 2017 and Fast Company believes  Facebook Watch is still trying to figure out what it wants to be.

Perhaps one reason for the drop of video value for the algorithm  is because Facebook want us to watch their content over anyone else’s. People are watching, not many of us though, and so far viewing has all been passive and in the newsfeed. Watch hasn’t proved it can create a video-watching habit, nor can it engage users enough to drive traffic to the Watch Hub for content discovery. In the 60’s TV’s took a while to warm up, but that’s not the part of TV you want to win at. It’s been a rocky start for Facebook Watch. Maybe the recent addition of news broadcasting shows  will bring better news?

Instagram and IGTV
The innovation makes sense and the timing for something new feels right .

Over on Instagram they’ve been working hard to attract and keep younger audiences by adopting, borrowing, stealing ( whatever you want to call it) features and functionality from other apps popular with the same younger audiences. According to a Brandwatch Study of Instagram from April 201860.4% of all users are aged between 18 and 24 and 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35 . So the strategy seems to be working. Brandwatch also found the same group accounted for two-thirds of the premium online video watched on YouTube

The biggest competitors for Facebook / Instagram are YouTube and Snapchat, and they both present opportunities for IGTV to move in. AND
Long form video, mobile video and vertical video are all on the rise AND
YouTube has something Instagram audiences want. ( long form video)


“We like social media because they’re different from one another, and if they’re being too similar to one another, we’re gonna delete those apps because the features are already there in another app. So if you’re talking about people putting on 30-minute shows on Instagram where you don’t have that necessarily, it’s going to attract people more to Instagram” – Teens at VidCon sound off  on IGTV

With the broader digital and video trends, the right audience on Instagram, video viewing habits established, Stories / Vertical continuously evolving, Instagram becoming more shoppable, Watch not delivering as hoped, Facebook still bruised from the data drama, Snapchat’s future looking rough and YouTube’s challenges with vertical video – IGTV feels right. It allows Instagram to expand it’s functionality and further own vertical video, grow and engage audiences more, and, maybe, attract creators from other platforms. The timing for something new and fresh also feels right .

IGTV is also a good side step to test new and different ways to enhance Facebook Watch and improve it’s performance. 

Considerations and Risks 

Design: IGTV is literally in it’s infancy, and there is still a lot to work out. Currently IGTV looks and feels like an extension of Live and Stories, as it should.. to a point. For me anyway, Snapchat designing  Discovery, it’s paid content hub, to look different than it’s user feed is one thing it got right. Integrating them, making paid and creator content hard to tell apart from friend’s Stories, is one of the reasons users hated the redesign. Time will tell if mixing friend, paid and creator TV will work.

Revenue, Advertising and Creators: IGTV so far has no revenue model, either for the platform through advertising or for creators. Of course it will have, but the question is what it will look like. Pre-rolls are annoying as fuck, but they are effective, so as Facebook expands pre-rolls will IGTV adopt them? Or will ads be placed between “shows” in the same way Snapchat does? They are skippable now, but unskippable ads are coming to Snapchat. Let’s just hope they stay away from mid-rolls. Also, IGTV has no revenue model for creators. That makes attracting them difficult. To be a true competitor to YouTube, with quality content by professionals – not just your friends, that’s a problem that must be resolved quickly. 

VidCon 2018: YouTube helping creators earn more money and build stronger communities

Instagram can’t be the new YouTube until it figures out how to pay for its TV shows

Content moderation: is another area that IGTV has not yet addressed.  When Facebook launched Live we saw a 14 year old take her own life in a two hour broadcast, a disabled man beaten live and there is so much porn broadcast on Facebook and Instagram Live that they both have their own PornHub Categories. YouTube have proposed hiring an additional 10,000 people to moderate content,  reviewing videos of ]extreme violence, animal cruelty, child porn, suicide, murder and who knows what else. Content so confronting that shifts are limited to 4 hours to minimise the mental health impact it can have on moderators. Even with their current efforts, content like the recent Logan Paul Japanese Suicide Forest Video  still slips through. That’s problematic and damaging for everyone.

Facebook may be growing their moderation team, but they currently only have around 7,500. So how will IGTV keep up with moderating the large volume of long form content it is hoping for?

Instagram Forgot the Lessons of Internet Abuses

Social Media’s Silent Filter

Engagement and the IGTV Algorithm: Snapchat may have gotten the look and design of Discovery right, but the algorithm was a mess / non existent at launch, and still is today. This makes relevant and interesting content difficult and time consuming to find, and fills the newsfeed with content I could not be less interested in. Three things you never want to be known for. Bored, unengaged users are one thing, advertisers losing confidence is another. The recent Instagram algorithm update is aimed at improving the experience for the audience and Hootsuite explains how they keep us engaged and serve us the right content.

Interestingly while many believed video ranked higher than images, Instagram treats photos and videos equally. 

With IGTV a separate app, content does not serve into the Instagram newsfeed, but the assumption has to be made that it will be similar, or ay least influenced by Instagram’s Algorithm. Paid amplification of posts is also not available (yet), so all performance is organic for now. Facebook hasn’t solved the problem of driving traffic to Watch even with content being served in the newsfeed, part of Periscope’s problem was not being integrated into the Twitter App, so Facebook Live lept in, and Snapchat Discover has always been easy to forget about, which is why it was combined with user Stories. How is IGTV going to keep users coming back and structure it’s algorithm to keep us engaged by serving us the right, relevant content? How easy will it be to discover new content? These are problems no one but YouTube has solved.

IGTV, Brands, Content, Marketing and Storytelling

Instagram has never been the first at anything, it’s just managed to innovate and stay ahead of (and occasionally help to kill) the competition. Just follow the history of photosharing –
Flickr launched in 2004 and Twitpic in 2008 ( photosharing),
YouTube in 2005 ( long form video),
Hipstamatic in 2009 ( photo editing and filters),
Instagram in 2010,
Vine in 2013 ( short form video – Instagram launched video a few months later in 2013) Snapchat in 2011 (vertical video in 2013)
Meerkat & Periscope 2015 ( Live Streaming) – Instagram launched Stories & Live in 2016
HouseParty in 2015, ( Group Video Chat), Kik launched group video chat in 2016, Instagram in 2018).
Visual storytelling and communication, marketing and advertising is nothing new to any of us.

As brands and consumers we’ve been making and watching different types of video for years, including long form video. Just ask YouTube, Vimeo, TED, PornHub and Tumblr. We’re now just making and watching more of it than ever, and IGTV is encouraging us to make and watch it differently.

Instagram’s IGTV: Decoding The Opportunity For Brands And Creators

For brands, creators and marketers, IGTV opens up another platform to publish different content, tell stories in new ways, reach and engage new audiences and engage existing ones more deeply. The foundations and recipe of  social media, content strategy and content marketing, the need to define meaningful objectives and much of our thinking shouldn’t change too much when planning and developing for IGTV. 

We still need to be telling stories worth telling, treating the Audience as King to create content they are interested in – especially if we want to capture more of their time – and delivering to business objectives. 

For the last few years we’ve been told that everyone has short attention spans and are too busy and time poor to give anything proper attention, or to waste. Ask almost any planner, strategist or social media “expert” and they probably would have said that anything longer than 30s and you’ll lose people on social. Vine, Stories, pre rolls, Insta’s 60s video limit, ephemeral content, gifs, short stories, “micro video”, 6 second ads, even clickbait headlines – they’re all systematic of this belief. Just don’t tell YouTube, Vimeo, PornHub or TED. Like these brands, I doubt they’ve ever paid attention to it.

Thankyou stood out not too long ago with Chapter One. A 7 minute video that is essentially a crowd funding pitch. It should have been boring as fuck, but it’s brilliantly captivating. and was hugely successful.

How ThankYou raised 1.4M by asking audiences to pay what they wanted for a book

Chatbooks embraced the insight that parents live hectic, overloaded, multitasking lives –  and took nearly 4 minutes of comedy gold to show they understand us.

Casey Nestat tells brilliant stories on his YouTube channel

Barbie is publishing surprising content for younger audiences in her Vlog.
While Barbie’s audience is too young for IGTV now, does it open the door for IGTV for kids in the same way YouTube has.

These are all examples of great long form video, the question is how to translate it into vertical. Great content happens on vertical too.

Casper’s Late Night Snap Hacks Gives Homebodies the Social Life of Their Dreams. It’s also a clever campaign that could easily be adopted to a serialised content campaign for IGTV or Stories.

To help eliminate the pressure of going out on the weekend, Casper’s created a microsite called LateNightSnapHacks.com filled with snappable videos. Scenes include everything from a disco ball to people dancing at a club to driving through the streets of New York City. All users needed to do was film the scene on with their own Snapchat to create the illusion of a rockin’ night out. 

Check out 5 more great Snapchat campaigns.

Screen Shot 2018-06-26 at 2.32.25 AM.png


Tough Mudder: Facebook Live

If they’ve never done Tough Mudder before, people can be wary of signing up because they don’t know quite what they’re in for. Facebook Live was used to show them exactly what to expect gets people excited to sign up, and amps up those who have already registered.

Check out  17 more Instagram and Facebook Live case studies

Screen Shot 2018-06-26 at 1.13.58 PM.png

Brands are already trying IGTV

DigiDay – How Brands are leveraging IGTV

National Geographic on their upcoming use of IGTV
mobilemarketer.com – Nat Geo tests IGTV
interestingly Nat Geo were one of the brands that led the charge on Snapchat Discover when that first launched, and are still active on it today. They therefore have a lot of experience in vertical video already.

 Bacardi on IGTV

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Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 3.02.23 PM.png

Netflix on IGTV


Brooklyn Nine Nine 

Cole Sprouse Eats a Hamburger – #Riverdale

When it comes to social media, the only real rules are that everything changes and we have to adapt – often. No two brands, platforms or audiences are the same, and while the principles are the same, no two strategies should be. About the only “rules” that apply 100% of the time are regulatory, business and platform rules. You also have to understand your audience, have meaningful objectives and test and learn to work out what resonates – everything else is creativity, curiosity, personality, experience, resilience and hard work.

Do it boldly, think divergently, take risks and repeat.
Check out my recent conference talk and post > If Marketing is all art and science, is creativity the key to connection 

With all the capabilities that Match ( Facebook’s parent company) has now or in development, outlined at the beginning of this article: e-commerce, Go-Pro integration, AR, VR, 3D, Crypto, Voice and whatever else is planned for the future, the potential for not just IGTV, but Instagram, to develop is huge. Which means the opportunities for creators, brands and marketers to experiment, push boundaries and try new things is huge.

Social media is only about 21 years old – Google is 20, Blogging 19, Facebook is only 11, WhatsApp 9, Instagram is 8 and WeChat 7. We may be the adults using our experience to write the stories and push the buttons but we’re working with kids.. and you know… #parenting.. everyone learns as they go, changes as they grow, and does the best they can.. and everyone is doing it slightly differently.

IGTV adds another another level to the experience for brands, creators, influencers and users. YouTube is still extremely strong though, so IGTV will need to work smart, fast and continue to listen, be responsive and innovate if it wants to grow and keep audiences, creators and advertisers… and succeed. 

For more content like this > CraigOnToast/SocialMedia

IGTV Set Up and Guidelines:
Instagram IGTV Help Centre
Set up IGTV Channel

Mary Meeker 2018 Internet Trends Report
Techcrunch – Key Insights
Adweek – Key Insights
CMO – Key Insights

2018 Sensis Social Media Report
2018 IAB Video Landscape Report
2018 We Are Social Digital Australia Report

Craig Mack is a social media and content strategist, LGBT blogger, speaker, model and Ambassador for suicide prevention charity R U OK.
With broad experience in social media, digital and content marketing, working across a broad variety of categories and brand on both client and agency side, and as talent / influencer, he has a unique view of and approach to social media, marketing and content.
Whether developing strategy, building and engaging communities, creating content, running paid social campaigns, working with influencers or analysing and using data and insights for both ideation and reporting, thinking creatively and putting the audience first to deliver results is the lens he always looks through.
He believes the Audience is King and that understanding, nurturing, thinking creatively and adding value to your audience creates stronger connections, and drives stronger results.

Craig @ CraigOnToast

Social Media and Content Strategy, Head of Social @ Colloquial, Social Media @ TEDxSydney, LGBT Blogger, Influencer / Talent @ TheRight.Fit, Model @ Wink, R U OK Day Ambassador.
Speaks and talks- Social Media, R U OK Day & Mental Health, LGBT Life & Advocacy

Follow along on LinkedInTwitter or Facebook 
Instagram , but only if you can handle creative freedom

Model bookings: WINK models
Influencer, blogger, model and talent bookings: TheRight.Fit
Speaker bookings: email and let’s talk!

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