The clever folks over at Instagram have released a new feature/platform to their app, Instagram TV (IGTV). This is quite a bit different from IG Stories, in that creators can now upload longer videos, but it is still also in its infancy and it’s not exactly clear how the platform will play out. However, I am going into full on early adopter mode with IGTV, in order to try to gain a foothold within the travel, vlogging, and lifestyle niche…sort of a continuation of my YouTube channel. I want to use this post to share a bit of my strategy, thoughts on how to potentially make money from IGTV, and if it’s worth it for travel vlogging.
Instagram TV (IGTV) Features
If you have an Instagram account, you can click on the top right hand side of the screen, on the little TV icon. This is Instagram TV. Also, there is an entirely separate app from the original Instagram, so, download that as well. There is a space where you click on ‘Create Channel’.
There it is, you now have an IGTV channel, and can start uploading content.
For unverified creator accounts, you are allowed to upload videos of up to 10 minutes in length. Verified and the ‘big name’ accounts, they can get up to 60 minutes of video uploaded.
There really aren’t too many features upon this initial release. As you can see from the screenshot above, you can see suggestions for you, people you follow, the most popular videos on IGTV, and then continue watching paused videos.
IGTV vs YouTube
Is Instagram TV going to take out YouTube? I mean, I doubt it. I think that IGTV will be a pretty big threat in the mobile space. With such a huge user base, and the backing of all of that Facebook corporate money behind it, IGTV should be a massive hit.
However, there is still the limitations of IGTV as a platform. For one, you can only upload vertical oriented videos, because of mobile viewing. That’s cool, but that really limits creators in a way that YouTube doesn’t. Being said, there also should be some cool stuff once people really figure out how to use IGTV.
Right now, a lot of it seems to be just an extension or a place to re-post Instagram Stories. Why it needs to be posted to your users again, I’m not too sure.
Also, YouTube’s search functionality is still quite appealing. On Instagram TV, you can only search for people through their screen name or their description. So, you can search travel and get a list of channel with that word in their name. However, you can’t search by hastag or find videos by topic…lame.
I’m pretty sure IGTV will roll out more features and functionality in the future but right now it is pretty damn narrow.
Using IGTV for Travel Videos and Vlogging
So how do we approach using a YouTube-like platform, that doesn’t have the same functionality or features as the classic YouTube channel?
My initial thoughts are to treat it the same, but without the usual crap that YouTube has become notorious for. Like, all of the clickbaity headlines, and stupid video topics.
Of course, you want to do stuff that will grow an audience, but until a real search feature on IGTV is launched…it appears you’re limited to your audience.
With that in mind, I am now uploading lots of old travel videos, and will begin to generate plenty of fresh content as well.
I think the ability to create raw video from your phone right on to your channel is an interesting aspect. Yes, you could already do this on other platforms, but a lot of popular YouTube videos are so well polished because the format allow it to be. IGTV has to look good on a smart phone. Vertical videos. Of course, some slick editing will still sell, but raw and interesting content will perform better than it would on YouTube.
You’ll want to get on this platform early and start creating lots of quality content. Not only that, smartly use the title and the image thumbnail, for when the search gets better. That way, you’ll have a library of content that may get views and followers.
I am also going to be experimenting with the use of hashtags versus without. Right now, I don’t believe having hashtags is going to make a damn bit of difference but it is always a good idea to test out the system.
It’s already difficult as hell to break into this space on YouTube, just based on how their algorithm, favors certain channels and maximizing ad revenue.
This is what could be interesting for IGTV, a chance to build an audience, without getting completely screwed out of potential viewers. Sort of like how, Youtube will often not show you new videos of folks you’re subscribed to already.
I have been watching some travel vlogs on the platform already, and I’ve got to say, I like the experience. Something about the screen limitations almost makes it more intimate. However, I’ve also noticed that not a ton of people are uploading this format as of yet, nor are their audience numbers all that big. Meaning, not a high percentage of IG users or creators have dug into Instagram TV.
Plus, it’s a great app in order to try out different types of videos, and see what people will respond to.
Making Money of IGTV
If you’re in the travel or vlogging niche, there aren’t currently ads on IGTV. Meaning, none of that sweet Adsense revenue you may be currently getting over on YouTube.
However, IGTV, can be great for those who have a business. Products and services to sell directly to your viewers. You can easily do a deep dive into certain aspects of your business or niche.
For vloggers and travelers, that may mean taking on sponsorships, and creating videos based around those. It might also mean, having a book to promote, or some kind of travel hacking course that people in this niche already do.
BUT…most importantly, you can use IGTV to branch out beyond your niche. You don’t have to be stuck posting the same content that you do on YouTube or even in your standard Instagram feed.
Yeah, you might not make any money traveling directly. Very few do. The good thing is, you probably have other interests or business opportunities to present to your audience, which can be turned profitable. Maybe you also like fitness or fashion and you have products/services to offer in that niche. There are a ton of crossover possibilities.
What I like about the IGTV format is how easily you can scroll through a user’s videos and quickly watch exactly what interests you. If IGTV gets the search functionality improved, the ability to target specific audiences could be huge. Imagine someone getting lured to your channel by a travel clip and then easily being exposed to whatever business it is you’re running.
Can you make money directly from IGTV right now? Not really outside of sponsored videos. Though, the potential for the entrepreneurial types is right there for the taking.
All right, I’m going to keep experimenting and working on IGTV, to try to shake out a clear path forward with the platform. I’ll try to keep updating this website with any new info or techniques that I’ve gleaned from my testing.