Will IGTV cause the same user migration from YouTube as Instagram stories did with Snapchat?
Experts assert that the new tool, which allows Instagram users to upload longer videos, could potentially provide a long-form video option for influencers that never jumped on the YouTube train, or provide another option for YouTube-focused beauty vloggers to build their communities. And while it is broadly recognized that Instagram stories did pull some users away from Snapchat, that same shift is not expected between IGTV and YouTube, at least as far as the beauty world goes.
The launch of Instagram Stories undeniably caused a shift toward the platform, data indicates. A 2018 survey of influencers compiled by influencer marketing agency Relatable.me found that 97 percent of influencers surveyed use Instagram Stories, and 30 percent use Instagram Live. In comparison, only 27 percent of influencers reported to be on Snapchat and 52 percent said they’d replaced Snapchat with Instagram Stories.
The platform shift culminated in a tweet from Kylie Jenner proclaiming “soo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me…ugh this is so sad.” WWD reported in February that Snap Inc. stock dropped 6.1 percent — $1.3 billion in market value — as a result of the tweet.
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The same phenomenon will likely not happen in the case of YouTube and IGTV, experts say.
One reason influencers left Snapchat so easily is because the content is ephemeral in nature — Snapchat content disappears after 24 hours. On YouTube, users can search a vast archive of content, from vlogs to tutorials.
“There’s thousands of [videos] to go back and watch [on YouTube]. it has a lot of embedded content and discovery that make it a more formidable competitor than Snapchat [in terms of] switching over,” said Conor Begley, cofounder of Tribe Dynamics. “A huge amount of the exposure [influencers] get on YouTube is people searching for stuff, not just people following you because they like you.”
IGTV, said Begley, is more personality-driven than YouTube — the platform is set up so that users have to search for content via handles, rather than keywords, allowing less room for random discovery. “The searchability of YouTube is a big advantage,” Begley said. “If I want to search for a tutorial on how to create a smokey eye, there’s going to be thousands of videos.”
Begley noted the opportunity on IGTV for beauty is big. Tribe data shows that there are five times the amount of influencers creating beauty content on Instagram than there are on YouTube. Many Instagram influencers don’t have the same massive followings on YouTube, said Begley, because it is difficult to build audiences on two different platforms — and the content format is different as well. IGTV will allow influencers who weren’t previously big in video to potentially become big. “If they can immediately translate into a new media format with the same size audience, that’s going to be a lot easier for them.”
Cecilia Gates, creative director at Gates Creative, agreed. “It gives brands and influencers that have a really strong following on Instagram another extension of their brand to go into video,” Gates said. “Those brands or influencers aren’t necessarily dual platform, they don’t always have the same amount of followers on Instagram and YouTube…[but] if you have a mass quantity of followers [on Instagram] you’re one less click away from getting more of your content out there.”
YouTubers are also poised to benefit, according to Martin Garbarczyk, chief executive officer and founder of Relatable.me.
“We’re thinking the people who will gain the most are YouTubers,” Garbarczyk said. “They will get a great new platform to publish content to audiences. They can use IGTV to drive traffic back to YouTube.”
Garbarczyk noted he has seen some YouTubers express early reluctance to cross over to IGTV, mainly due to the fact that the two platforms require shooting video in two different formats.
Unlike YouTube, IGTV videos are shot vertically.
“It’s going to be a good mobile platform for video content — YouTube isn’t great for mobile,” said celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, who has 1.7 million YouTube subscribers. “From a beauty point-of-view, I like the vertical format.” Eldridge’s first IGTV video — a makeup tutorial —garnered about 100,000 views. She said some followers told her they preferred the YouTube format. “People have told me they like to watch my tutorials on their laptop or the television,” she said.
IGTV allows all Instagram users to upload videos that are up to 10 minutes long, and content creators — those with 10,000 followers or more — to upload up to 60 minutes of content. IGTV also gives the longer videos a permanent home, different from Instagram stories or Instagram Live, which disappear after 24 hours.
While IGTV isn’t expected to pull communities off of YouTube broadly, experts say the launch will likely have some effect on the Google-owned platform. “It will definitely have an effect on YouTube,” Gates said. “But, to some point, the end users are a bit different.”
Marianna Hewitt, an influencer with 809,000 Instagram followers and 283,000 YouTube subscribers, has already uploaded an almost five-minute video documenting her evening skin-care routine to IGTV.
“I’ve gotten a really good response to it,” Hewitt said, noting that she plans to keep using IGTV and YouTube.
“Because I have a big YouTube channel, I film videos with that platform in mind, so it’s going to be a little learning curve if I want to upload to both,” she said. Filming, for example, would have to be more centered — but she is planning to differentiate the content on both platforms.
“I want to keep the content unique to IGTV, different than YouTube,” Hewitt said. “I have 23 million YouTube views, so I don’t want to forget about those people. It’s about finding which content is good for which platform.”
That sentiment is echoed by mobile-first entertainment company Shots Studios, which said it would launch Shots Studios Originals — a content series on IGTV with shows by Lele Pons, Rudy Mancuso, Hannah Stocking, Anwar Jibawi, Anitta, Delaney Glazer and Alesso — on Friday. Pons, who has 25 million Instagram followers, unveiled a new IGTV cooking show at an Instagram press event the day IGTV launched.
For now, Hewitt is in the testing phase with IGTV. “I’ll see the response from it, and once the views are high enough that it yields the effort I’m putting into it, I’ll do more,” she said.
For makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, who has 146,000 followers on Instagram, IGTV provides an appealing alternative to Instagram Live, which she regularly uses to show followers different makeup looks. Her IGTV content is likely to be deep dives on certain beauty tips and tricks, she said.
“I will probably use it more than Instagram Live because it gives me more flexibility,” Hughes said. Plus, it will allow her to answer user questions in the comments, she noted, instead of trying to catch them during the live stream.
Brands are also expected to flock to IGTV to promote in-house content.
“It’s almost the brand’s way to get a commercial, or what traditional advertising used to be, but in a different form,” Gates said, noting brands are likely to use the option for how-to’s and to better show the experience a customer would have with products.
“It’s all one less click away from people getting more exposure to your branded content,” Gates said.