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Why you should invest in IGTV even if it doesn’t make financial sense…yet

As you have probably heard, Instagram has added a new longform video channel to its burgeoning list of features. IGTV is Instagram’s play for a slice of the social media “television” market – but for e-tailers such as HiSmile, it has been received with mixed reviews.

On the one hand, we understand the growing importance of longform content, as you can see by our own content creation efforts on YouTube. But on the other hand, IGTV seems to be at odds with the typical Instagram user’s behaviour, and we question what this means for business ROI.

Instagram is typically used throughout the day, and the platform is very much set up for quick visual sustenance that doesn’t require much of an investment in our most important currency, time. Both the original Instagram feed and Stories are specifically designed for a user experience with a low cost of entry in terms of time.

In stark contrast to this, IGTV lends itself more towards the type of user behaviour found on YouTube, where users block out a certain amount of time to watch longer content when they are ready to do so. The key difference is that, when users go to YouTube, they already have a strong understanding that they are ready for a longer time commitment.

That is why IGTV feels out of touch with the user experience of the platform and user base it is directed to. A good comparison would be Facebook Stories, which were meant to mimic Instagram Stories. But the implementation and execution felt alien to the platform (Facebook), and the feature hasn’t seen much adoption.

Even after considering all of this, I would still say IGTV is worth your time if you have the resources to play the long-term game with ROI. If not, and you are looking at longform video content as a short-term ROI play, you would be better off investing in YouTube, where user behaviour is already entrenched.

From our brief experience on IGTV since launch, it requires a lot more time and effort to script and create content than Stories or posts, since longform content is always more time consuming end-to-end.

The important thing any business owner or marketing manager should remember is that longform content has an upside, in that the people who consume it are more invested due to the time commitment. The downside is that most consumers aren’t ready to invest the time required for you to gain the positive ROI you desire.

Still, for the average retailer, this is a feature worth exploring to see if it’s suitable for your business, product or service. If so, it could be a key time to “land grab” a presence on the platform.

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