Video is becoming one of the most essential parts of business marketing. People are watching more video than ever online – 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day and by 2020, online videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic.
YouTube is the second most visited site, after Google, and big names like Facebook and Instagram are really keen to get some of that video-watching audience with their new services Facebook Watch and IGTV (Instagram TV).
But are these new platforms worth investing your time and effort in to? After all, video is a time-consuming task and you want to make sure you’re going to get good return on your investment.
Instagram TV (IGTV) is a standalone video application and offshoot of the Instagram app. It is aimed at smartphone users and uses the vertical video format. It allows users to upload longer videos than the maximum 60 seconds allowed in standard Instagram posts, with most IGTV users able to post up to 10 minutes in length or verified/popular users can have up to 60 minutes.
The interface is fairly simple to use. You log in to the platform through your existing Instagram ID, so if you have lots of followers on Instagram they will be able to see your videos when they come on the on the IGTV app. My only complaint about the app is that you can’t search for videos by subject matter, you can only search by account name. So when I searched for ‘builders’ only Instagram accounts that had the word ‘builders’ in the title were shown to me. This could make it difficult to gain new followers as it’s less likely that people will find you unless you pay to promote your videos.
IGTV only came out this summer, so it’s hard to know how popular it’ll become. Some large brands are seeing some success with the videos, but the number of people watching them seems to be a lot less than on YouTube or Facebook. That shouldn’t put you off though, it’s always good to be an early adopter to these platforms. There are less viewers on IGTV than established sites like YouTube, but there is also less content to compete with, so you don’t have as many businesses vying for your audiences attention. If you’ve got something good to say and you think you can engage your audience then you’re bound to get some people interacting with you.
The best, and least effort, way to see whether your audience will engage on IGTV is by re-using any videos that you already have. As IGTV is in the vertical format, and your existing videos are most likely in a landscape format, you’ll need an editor to either crop the sides of the video or add a black bar above and below the video to make it the right format for the platform. For some really good examples of how to do this and what software is available, have a look at this blog by Ignite Visibility.
I do wonder if IGTV being a separate app from the main Instagram service will hurt its chances of success. Audiences don’t like to swap between apps too regularly. I guess time will tell.
Facebook Watch is a fairly new feature, particularly to the UK. Unlike IGTV, you don’t need a separate app to view the videos, there is just an extra tab in the standard Facebook app that contains all of the Watch videos. Initially, the Watch feature only allowed Facebook and their partners to create videos and those videos had to be in a regular series format. From this summer though, Facebook opened up Watch to allow more people to create content. Now when you go to the Watch tab you’ll see a range of content from the approved publishers and some one-off videos from regular Facebook users.
If you already have videos on Facebook your followers will most likely see them already in Watch, but to reach new viewers I think it’s a good idea to look at the evolving paid advertising to help you reach a larger audience. As with anything on Facebook, there is a range of new video monetisation tools, this will allow video creators to have the opportunity to pay to get their content featured alongside highly viewed official Facebook Watch content. For example, if you owned a bridal shop, then wouldn’t it be great to have your videos appear next to the Facebook Watch originals like ‘Help Us Get Married’ which have a large viewership.
Facebook is also looking to help businesses make their videos into a secondary income stream, they said:
“Creators with longer content that fans come back for can monetise effectively through ads. Creators with super-fans or niche content can earn money directly from their audience through fan subscriptions or digital goods.”
Facebook Watch, like IGTV, is still in very early stages but I think it’s worth looking at now, over time the platform will get more crowded so early adopters are likely to get their head start on the competitors. As Facebook Watch is on the same app as the standard Facebook and you can view it on the desktop browser version of Facebook too, I think it stands a better chance of success as users are more likely to watch videos if they don’t have to keep swapping apps.
Which Platform You Should Choose?
I think that IGTV and Facebook Watch are great contenders for business marketing, but they probably aren’t the best platforms to choose if you’ve not done plenty of video marketing or social media yet. If you’re just starting out with video and social content I’d suggest starting with YouTube to get your bearings. It’s still the largest video platform and it gets picked up on Google search engine, so it’s good for SEO.
If you’re already using Facebook or Instagram as a platform to reach your followers then have a look at how many followers you have on each and which place gets the best engagement (likes, follows, interaction etc). I’d then suggest trying out the video service (IGTV or Facebook Watch) on the platform you found was the most active and engaged.