When IGTV was first announced by Instagram in June 2018, it was immediately clear that leveraging the standalone long form video app would be more complicated for brands than just repurposing YouTube content. At first, brands and creators were only allowed to upload vertical video that was optimized for the dimensions of a smartphone. Though landscape video was added in February 2019, the app is still only searchable by creator profiles, as opposed to specific topics like in YouTube search.
Still, a few recent changes have made the IGTV app more accessible directly on Instagram. Your IGTV videos can now be featured on a separate tab in Instagram profile page, and Instagram introduced the ability to share a 1 minute preview of IGTV videos in users’ main Instagram feeds.
These moves have unquestionably given IGTV videos a higher profile with the Instagram audience, meaning it’s a great time to share best practices about how to use IGTV as a channel for audience engagement. Based on ListenFirst’s Instagram analytics, and what we’ve seen happen in the TV space, here are 5 IGTV Instagram tips for types of content which perform well.
Tip #1: Breakdown What Happened Last Season
The Hollywood Reporter has reported that there were 322 scripted series released during the first 6 months of 2019 alone. In such a crowded ecosystem, it’s especially challenging to convince new viewers to jump in mid-series or even to trust that existing fans will remember the details of a show they binged a year ago. TV Shows have often had a lot of success on IGTV finding creative ways to recap preview seasons.
For example, Netflix posted a 14-minute-long Stranger Things video where the show’s young stars recapped seasons 1 and 2 for fans, generating nearly 3 Million views and 5K comments on IGTV. Similarly, a Handmaid’s Tale: A Brief History of Gilead generated 214K views and more than 500 comments, which through a stylized video timeline, got viewers up to speed ahead of the new season.
While traditional trailers for TV perform well on IGTV, for serialized programing, marketers should keep in mind that content that looks back, not just forward is embraced on the platform.
Tip #2: Post Celebrity Contests And Challenges
Seeing celebrities engage in low stakes games and competitions is often a context that showcases their personalities, and this type of snackable video has been repeatedly embraced by the IGTV audience. For instance, Netflix posted a video where Riverdale stars Cole Sprouse and KJ Apa competed in a charm battle that generated 2.3 million views and nearly 900 comments on IGTV. While that clip also was uploaded to YouTube, this version was optimized for IGTV, showing the footage from two slightly different angles, stacked on top of each other.
Another frequently successful variation of that tactic is repurposing late night talk show segments. The Late Late Show does this consistently, for example in this Spill Your Guts segment with Demi Moore which received 134K views on IGTV.
Whether it’s content that’s vertically optimized, or just a straight up repurposing, clips that show stars competing with each will resonate with the IGTV audience.
Tip #3: Upload Interviews
Another content type which TV brands are using to deepen their fan engagement on IGTV is interviews with the cast and creative teams, which can take a variety of forms. Sometimes, that can mean posting panel footage—for example The Good Place sharing their SDCC panel which received 11K views. Other times that can mean something really outside the box, as with Law & Order SVU, which generated 27K views around an audio-only podcast excerpt where Mariska Hargitay talks about being on the show for 21 years.
While interviews can take many different forms, as long as it provides more context about one of the IGTV audience’s favorite shows, it will help keep that program top of mind.
Tip #4: Share Red Carpet Footage
Red Carpet coverage works on IGTV for the same reason it works in other contexts—seeing enthusiastic crowds of fans gather reinforces that the idea that the start of a new TV show or season is an exciting event. The Morning Show edited in footage from their red carpet premiere into their trailer which generated 41K views and 550 comments on IGTV. Meanwhile, Strangers Things sidestepped how impersonal red carpet conversations can feel by getting Randy Havens, who plays the science teacher Mr. Clarke on the show, to chat with his costars on the red carpet in a clip that generated 2.9 Million views and 3,570 comments on IGTV.
Tip #5: Leverage Reusable Concepts
Marketers shouldn’t be racking their brains trying to come up with totally different ideas of what to try on IGTV every time; if a concept worked, go back to it. In many cases, the audience knowing what to expect from your program’s IGTV page will make them more likely to click on a new video next time.
An example of the type of concept that can repeatedly work on IGTV is an aftershow. After every new episode airs, This Is Us has been posting a 3-6 minute spoiler-filled aftershow on IGTV which consistently gets around 20K – 80K views in a segment that Chevrolet has been sponsoring.
However, reusable concepts don’t necessarily have to be plot driven. Netflix has a Kiss and Tell segment that they’ve done with the casts of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Plays and Sex Education where cast members give another blindfolded costar an inanimate object to kiss and guess what it is. This has generated as many as 5.5 million views on IGTV.
While it started off a little under the radar, IGTV has started to become one of the go-to social media avenues for marketers, and a valuable communication feature on Instagram. As Instagram analytics is critical to understanding how to best use this video platform, working with a social media data analytics tool that’s able to explain what’s working both for your page and for competitors is the key to Instagram optimization.