New & Next in Digital MarTech: IGTV Opportunities for Higher Education

New & Next in Digital MarTech: IGTV Opportunities for Higher Education

Instagram recently launched a new long-form vertical video format called IGTV. With the ability to upload 60 minutes of video to larger or verified accounts and 10 minutes of video to smaller accounts, Instagram is embarking on the next generation of user-generated content and capitalizing on the future of mobile. IGTV is both a stand-alone app as well as its own section within the Instagram home page. Users and businesses can download the app and set up an account within minutes to begin putting out content for their already established insta-followers.

IGTV is a bold step for Instagram, which already has a “stories” function that caps videos at 60 seconds, allowing the trend-setting app to compete directly with video juggernaut, YouTube. Since the launch of IGTV, companies like Buzzfeed and Chipotle have taken advantage of the new platform with impressive results, featuring views in the hundreds of thousands. With one billion monthly daily users, Instagram is expecting IGTV to take-off quickly as the next big thing in long-form digital content.

Digiday was one of the first to report on IGTV, featuring a quote from Mohammed Ali Salha, head of programming operations at Tastemade UK, that summarizes the value of IGTV precisely:

“This is a chance to tell a story in the way it was meant to be — no segmentation, no breaks. It feels like an intuitive on-the-go way of consuming longer content. It’s true to the mobile experience in 2018.”

With the landscape of digital marketing shifting to mobile, IGTV is Instagram’s way of providing a more dynamic experience for both marketers and consumers.


How It Works: The Nitty Gritty of IGTV

The IGTV app features four tabs: For You, Following, Popular and Continue Watching. It also allows users to search for other relevant accounts.

  • For You: IGTV automatically pulls videos it thinks you will like.
  • Following: Under this tab you can watch videos created by accounts you already follow.
  • Popular: The videos that are trending the most from accounts that you don’t follow, similar to the “Explore” tab on the main Instagram app.
  • Continue Watching: IGTV will save your place on videos that you have already watched, allowing you to go back and finish them.

In order to begin posting videos, users can create a channel directly through IGTV. As of right now, users can only upload video through their camera roll instead of recording video through the app itself. However, based on Instagram’s own IGTV videos, editing capabilities appear to be a viable option down the road.


How EDU Marketers Can Use It

As champions for the New & Next in digital marketing for higher education, we see great opportunities on the horizon for colleges and universities when it comes to IGTV. To get your wheels turning, we’ve highlighted three different ways EDU marketers could take advantage of IGTV as a part of their digital marketing and community building strategy.


Community Engagement

IGTV provides an opportunity to build stronger engagement and interaction with your Instagram followers. Users can interact with companies by liking and commenting on videos while having the same sharing capability as Instagram. Videos can be linked directly or through direct messaging.

An example of this from Digiday is a video from BBC Stories that follows a woman’s struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome. The video was posted on June 20 and has since gained around 60,000 views and 60 comments. Marketers at higher ed institutions can use IGTV to connect with their followers and community in a new mobile-friendly way.

To highlight a way that one of our clients, Brescia University College, could benefit from IGTV, we looked at the promotion of their Brescia Bold playlist curated by students. Brescia could take video of its students talking about the songs they’ve been listening to lately. They could then edit and upload the video to IGTV for all of their followers to then view, like, and comment about their latest jams as a way to encourage more plays and shares.  

Influencer Engagement & Advertising

There is also potential for sponsorship with creators and influencers as another way of raising brand awareness. We know that Columbia College Chicago has a great suite of professors with clout in their respective specializations, such as Sam Weller or Shanelle Fowler. Colombia could leverage its digital strategy through IGTV by turning its faculty into influencers as a way of connecting more with its academic community. This could be done by showcasing the work they are already doing and translating it into long-form video content like interviews and Q&A’s. “10 Facts About Our Professors” might end up becoming the latest trending video in higher ed.

Instagram has also been considering the possibility of mid-roll advertising in IGTV and we’re 99% sure it’s on the horizon. Although Instagram hasn’t said anything official about monetizing IGTV, the long-form video format presents an opportunity for advertisers that (if and when launched) can’t easily be ignored.


Event & Contest Promotion

Instagram Stories is somewhat limited for marketers while IGTV now provides the freedom to produce more long-form content in a way that is easily accessible for their viewers. We see colleges and universities promoting information sessions, webinars and contests as methods for nurturing prospective students through the application process. You most likely already have branded thought leadership content like videos and presentations that you could easily repurpose for IGTV.

University of Michigan, who spoke at our Converge 2017 in Palm Springs, recently ran a contest on Instagram for a chance to win school-branded swag for your next BBQ. By using IGTV, U of M could produce a longer promotional video for this contest featuring more edits and animation.


IGTV Opportunities for Higher Education

So what do you think? Are you going to jump in and give IGTV the college try this summer or wait until more EDUs take the plunge? If you are interested in experimenting with IGTV, tweet us @ConvergeOrg or get in touch with us. We’d love to discuss your ideas!


Dane Cronbaugh
Dane Cronbaugh
July 6, 2018