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IGTV Hoping to Win Big


Social media powerhouse Instagram recently announced IGTV, a long-form video (longer than 20 minutes) application that will allow users to post and watch videos in a similar fashion to what they currently can do on YouTube. This is big news not only for the creator, Instagram (and its parent company, Facebook), it signals what many of us in the social media world have been predicting for some time: Video will only continue to dominate consumer habits and, perhaps more notably, small-business digital marketing strategies.


Until now, Instagram enabled users to post videos of up to 60 seconds in length. The platform, however, was not nearly as intuitive as YouTube, which has full-scale production features, analytics and practically no limits (at least time-wise) on what can be posted by v-loggers, media companies and small businesses. Hence, YouTube’s deep platform has resulted in a steam engine of video capabilities — online viewers watch more than 500 million hours’ worth of video on YouTube every day. Facebook has followed suit by allowing long-form video uploads. Its analytical features allow creators to track consumer trends in real time.


Why the surge toward long-form video? Isn’t this a vast departure from the “millennials have no attention span” thinking that we’ve had hammered into our brains these past five years? The answers might surprise you. 


Video Consumption Trends Among Businesses


First, a few facts:


• Video is more popular than ever, especially with small businesses. According to one national survey, 61 percent of all small businesses use video content in their digital marketing plans.


• Video is also attracting a lot of newbies. More than 67 percent of small businesses using video for marketing purposes consider themselves as brand new to video creation, deployment and marketing.


• Video consumption trends that were seen at the end of 2017 are expected to increase by 35 percent by the end of 2018.


Video Increases Engagement


Online video for websites and social media pages is critically important for small businesses these days because it provides higher engagement rates than textual blogs, articles and other posts. 


What’s the perfect mix for social media? That’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, because each business is different. However, what we do know is video, on average, attracts viewers and holds them longer than most other content vehicles. Of all those YouTube viewers, more than one-third of all long-form video consumers typically watch entire programs. That’s not impressive, it goes to show how a captive viewer can be more easily targeted with long-form video content.


Let’s also not forget the digital marketing is huge business. According to Forbes, the video component of digital marketing in the U.S. alone is a $135 billion industry, with the average U.S. company spending about $20,000 on video marketing each year.


Instagram’s Real Motivation


Dollars and cents obviously motivate all trends, but it was kind of hard to see this one coming as fast as did.  After all, it was barely two years ago, in 2016, when global smartphone trends indicated 55 percent of all video consumed was of the short-form (0 to 5 minutes) variety; 16 percent was medium form (5 to 20 minutes); and 29 percent was long form (longer than 20 minutes).


Compare that to the same study conducted earlier this summer: short form has fallen to 38 percent and medium to 9 percent, while long-form video skyrocketed to 54 percent.




It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the video game or a seasoned pro, the takeaways from the pending launch of Instagram’s new long-form video app should reassure you that video isn’t going anywhere, especially as a viable option for your online marketing efforts.


I’ll leave you with a two more interesting trends that Kissmetrics revealed in a 2018 consumer survey:


1. A positive video experience increases a consumer’s intent to purchase a product or service by more than 97 percent.


2. A positive video experience increases a consumer’s affinity to a brand by 139 percent. 


Increased engagement, bolstered brand association and the ability to positively sway buying decision are three overwhelming reasons why video needs to be first and foremost on your mind when developing and analyzing digital marketing strategies.


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