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Instagram’s New IGTV: Go Vertical, Or Go Home - Love Stories TV

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Instagram’s New IGTV: Go Vertical, Or Go Home

Yesterday Instagram launched IGTV, a new stand alone app and in-Instagram feature that allows you to upload up to an hour of long-form vertical video. Here’s what you need to know according to our founder, @RachelJoSilver:

I remember the first time (circa 2013-ish) that I asked our video producer at Birchbox to upload a video natively to Facebook instead of posting the YouTube URL: I thought she was going to cry. We’d spent the last two years obsessively trying to grow our YouTube views and subscriber numbers and the primary way we did that was by posting the video URLs on Facebook! After some gentle coaxing, she agreed, and we soon realized that we could get more views in a few hours on Facebook than we could in a few days on YouTube. Why? Because when a platform (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitch) launches a new feature they want it to be successful. So they promote it and they promote the early adopters. Facebook made sure that the newsfeed algorithm gave preference to native video > YouTube URLs.

When Instagram wanted to compete with Snapchat by launching Stories, what did they do? They sent notifications to all of your followers whenever you posted a story, and later, whenever you went live. Remember when Facebook introduced live-streaming to compete with Periscope (pour one out)? They literally sent a blast to all your fans whenever you used the feature. Periscope was dead in months (which was fine by me because as a female creator and marketer I couldn’t use that platform without being harassed — a problem Twitter still hasn’t done enough to solve). The first time we did a livestream on Facebook at Birchbox we were in such a hurry to be first that our tripod tipped over mid-stream. We laughed and our audience laughed with us. #AuthenticityAlways. A few months later we were on a plane to L.A. as guests of Facebook who wanted us at their consumer launch because, as early adopters, we were a great case study. TLDR; if a platform launches a new feature, use it and use it fast and don’t worry about being perfect. 

Yesterday Instagram launched IGTV a new stand alone app and in-Instagram app feature that allows you to upload up to an hour of long-form vertical video. It’s like this feature was MADE for wedding filmmakers! Who else is sitting on a pile of stunning, high-quality, professionally produced-but-authentic emotional content ranging from 1 – 60 minutes. At Love Stories TV we immediately launched a channel and sent a blast to our filmmaker community asking for more vertical videos. We promised to feature all the content we were sent. We quickly received tons of files and are getting them live as quickly as we can. It’s a win-win: we get to be an early adopter of the feature while Instagram is still alerting followers whenever someone ads new content to IGTV, and our filmmakers get extra marketing. Plus, IGTV allows for in-caption linking (unlike regular IG posts!) and @mentions, so we’re helping our filmmakers gain followers and sending traffic to their lovestoriestv.com channels where viewers can watch more of their films and contact them to inquire about their own weddings.

Meanwhile, I’ve seen some nay-sayers in the Wedding Videography Facebook group writing off vertical video. Do so at your own peril, my friends! Mobile consumption of online video has surpassed desktop consumption, if you’re producing with desktop in mind, you’re not producing for your customers. I literally just finished watching (and crying my way through) episode 10 of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale on my iPhone. It wasn’t vertical but I’m sure that’s not far off. We have a GIANT television in my living room — but I’d just rather watch it on my phone — and according to the numbers so would everyone else.

Yes. The final video you deliver to the brides and grooms who pay for your services is probably not vertical. (Not yet, anyways 😉 .) That doesn’t mean you should rob yourself of the chance to effectively market your work to all your future clients. Brides- and grooms-to-be are waiting for you on Instagram, so produce content that they will watch and share on Instagram.  

Fun fact: 90% of the views on lovestoriestv.com occur on mobile devices, and 2% on tablets; that means only 8% of the millions of video views happening across our site and social channels every month happen on desktop. Your clients are searching for you and discovering you on mobile. Why wouldn’t you want to provide the best, most engaging experience possible? I can’t wait for the day that we have vertical video on lovestoriestv.com, but for now here’s a tip: stop producing films with black bars on top and bottom. Horizontal video on mobile is already small enough, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the real estate you have. Your films are beautiful, make it easy for people to watch and share them.

Love Stories TV is a video platform for wedding planning and inspiration and our mission is to bring engaged couples and event professionals together in a uniquely visual community. We do this by connecting our community on our website but also on other channels where it would be difficult for wedding filmmakers or pros to make an impact individually. On Amazon Prime Video or YouTube channel we feature a diverse set of weddings, and wedding pros, from all over the world and we’re able to reach more people than most creators could do on their own. IGTV is just the next place where we can help our members reach their desired audience.

If you’re reading this post and you’re a wedding filmmaker: send your vertical videos to videos@lovestoriestv.com and we’ll feature them on our new IGTV channel. Note! Make sure the full version is on your lovestoriestv.com channel because we’ll be sending traffic there. If you’re in another industry all of this advice applies to you too — start talking to your video team about how you can being producing natively vertical content. No video team? Use your iPhone — it’s already vertical ;).

Send me your thoughts, comments, and questions – I’d love to hear from you!

– Rachel

Rachel Jo Silver is the founder and CEO of Love Stories TV. She previously was the Director of Social Marketing and Content Strategy at Birchbox.