IGTV, Instagram TV, Instagram TeleVision. Let’s see what the positives and negatives of this new social media platform are from the point of view of a content creator.
If you haven’t watched my IGTV Creator rant video yet you can press play here:
Let’s talk about the positives first
Storytelling. The clear goal for instagram is to have people be on their platform for a longer period of time. Video content will be up to an hour long, quite the jump from 60 seconds. Years ago we started at 15 seconds, then 60, now we’re at 3600. Having the option to share longer form content makes it easier to tell stories. Our entire lives revolve around stories, they are the most underrated aspect of the majority of the ‘cinematic’ stuff you see on youtube. I’m guilty of not focusing on stories myself, as they are more challenging to properly share or even come up with.
AV quality. The first thing I noticed when I uploaded my first IGTV post was the quality of the content. Being an Android user it has been incredibly frustrating to see my footage get crippled by an inefficient compression when reviewing my stories. This is not and Android bug, this is Instagram not taking the effort to optimise their software for a large number of phones. I understand it can be hard to cater to thousands of different Android phones but maybe consider optimising it for the current flagship phones? Please? Maybe? Seeing the high quality of my upload gave me some peace of mind though, hopefully we will soon see quality improvements on instagram stories and normal video uploads too!
Monetisation. This has not been mentioned yet, but it would make a lot of sense if Instagram would give their creators a way to monetise their channels and audience natively from the app. Youtube does this with ads (Adsense revenue has tanked over the past years though and is barely worth it unless you have a few hundred thousand subscribers). I foresee ads coming to the platform soon, from which the creators will be able to take a cut. This is pure speculation, but let’s hope it happens. If you dislike ads then you’re living in the wrong era, unfortunately. I don’t mind seeing ads on creators content if I know that watching it or clicking it means I support the person creating the content that I’m consuming for free.
Competition for Youtube. As much as I love Youtube, monopolies are never a good thing. Always have, always will be. Instagram coming for youtube’s audience means that youtube will retaliate with more innovation. Hopefully. I am hoping that youtube comes up with better monetisation options and community management amongst other things.
Now let’s have a look at the negatives of IGTV
User interface. The IGTV app is currently far from user friendly. The interface feels clunky and reminds me of when Snapchat made an entirely unnecessary design change. Over time we will get more used to the app and they will make it more streamlined I’m sure but in this early stage I don’t feel like it is an intuitive app to use.
Custom content. IGTV is yet another app to create custom content for. Between Youtube, Instagram (both posts and stories), Facebook and Twitter we now have another platform to optimise for. iJustine mentioned in a recent tweet that she has started shooting her content slightly wider so it easier to get a widescreen, square crop and vertical crop out of a single shot. This is a great solution, if you have enough pixels to work with! (If only the 1DXMkII had a more storage efficient codec for 4K clips…)
Thumbnail bug. There is currently a ‘squeeze bug’ when uploading a photo as a thumbnail, as you can see below my face is too thin due to the app trying to fit a wider vertical photo into the more slim thumbnail. Not only is this bug apparent, there is currently no way to alter or edit your thumbnail after posting it. Having a great thumbnail is absolutely crucial to online success so hopefully we see this sorted out sooner rather than later.
Mobile only? This one is more of a question really. I consume a lot of video content on my phone, on my desktop or laptop computer and on my TV. I am very curious to see if IGTV will have it’s own app on Apple TV or Chromecast and what that would look like. Which brings us to our next point.
Horizontal eyesight vs Vertical recordings. There is no denying that our TV and computer screens are built around the biology of our eyesight. We may have started with near square crop analog film back in the day but cameras and technology has advanced to a wide screen format. Our eyes see more content side to side than top to bottom. It makes sense to cater your content to that. It feels incredibly counter intuitive to shoot, edit and upload vertical video. However: the masses decide. We as creators need to look into what our audience is doing and it is very, very clear that an enormous amount of content gets consumed on mobile phones. It makes sense to cater to the people who can’t be bothered to flip their phone. They consume everything vertically, why would they flip their phone just for you if everything and everyone else is comfortably vertical?
A couple more thoughts on IGTV
A lot of people are hesitant to make the big leap to youtube. I’ve already heard from friends and read on other people’s accounts that they find this a very comfortable middle ground to make content for. The potential downside of this is that they are putting all of their content creator eggs in the one basket. We all know how destructive social media algorithms can be, and instagram might be one of the worst stories in the algo book. Ever since Facebook took over IG a lot of older and bigger accounts have been suffering HARD, there are shadow ban rumors, stunted growth stories, reach dropping by 50% over night, etc etc. It is important, now more than ever, to have a diversified content and social media strategy. I do not think it is wise to only try and grow on one single platform. You have to diversify!
If you’ve made it this far down, I’d like to sincerely thank you for reading. I’m really enjoying spending more time writing (It’s good exercise for me considering English is not my first language ) I’d love to hear your thoughts about IGTV, please share them with down below or drop by on Instagram or Twitter! Thanks again, Matt.