The growing popularity of IGTV for an engaged audience

Using Instagram’s IGTV to grow and engage your younger audiences.

By Sahar Amer | Mar 8, 2019

The Digital News Report 2018 found that smartphone reach for news intake had doubled within the space of six years (60% using smartphones as their main news device) in most countries, which has subsequently led to the rise in online video consumption, particularly through native video formats on social media platforms.

Among other social networks, Instagram have further optimized for mobile-video trends with the introduction of their latest consumption feed, IGTV, which allows users to publish long-form, vertical video content up to a maximum of one-hour in length. Since it’s announcement last June, news publishers including BBC News, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Economist, have been experimenting with IGTV to create longer, more in-depth stories to strengthen audience relationships.

Reaching and engaging with younger audiences has definitely been a challenge for news publishers, but of the one billion monthly active Instagram users, over 60% are aged between 16-34 years which proves to be a benefit to using the platform to reach this demographic.

Compared to Instagram’s in-feed videos, IGTV has demonstrated reaching a higher amount of users. One video from BBC Stories following a woman’s condition with polycystic ovary syndrome reached 60,000 views through IGTV contrasted against only 1,000 views through their in-feed account.

IGTV stands as an individual app but its content is automatically accessible through the main Instagram app to all regular users, which builds a wider following and larger audience reach.

The vertical video feature that IGTV allows for a more comfortable viewing experience on smartphones. There are current debates around IGTV being a contester for Youtube, as Youtube has long been the main platform for video publishing and creating. However, Youtube has not yet adapted to vertical viewing on smartphones so with that being an advantage to IGTV alongside it’s easy-to-use, attractive interface where users can react and comment to videos, there seems to be a necessary space for its popularity.

There is also plenty of scope around creativity with the new viewing format as it continues to develop. Experimentation will be key in understanding what viewers want to see.

The Economist trialled mini documentary episodes about ecotourism and threats to the Antarctic which have brought in between 26,000 and 1.2 million views. Many other publishers are choosing a lower resource route by upcycling existing video content from other channels and repurposing it for IGTV, and this is still reaching a six-figure view count.

Instagram have assured there will be an opening for ad-revenue by the end of 2019, so audience reach and subscriptions are the main focus for news publishers.

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