The Ultimate Guide to IGTV Ads

The popularity of video content on the internet is at an all-time high and shows no signs of slowing down. By 2022, the global mobile video traffic will reach 60,889 PB monthly, per Statista estimates. Faster Wi-Fi connection speeds, the number of broadband and 4G connections, and the rise of 5G are some drivers of this trend.

In a bid to capture the booming market for videos, Instagram launched IGTV in June 2018. While Instagram Stories allowed users to publish up to 30-second-long clips with a lifespan of 24 hours, IGTV offers more options. You can publish long-form videos from within Instagram or their new IGTV app. Another reason why IGTV has struck a chord with people is that most social media platforms allow horizontal videos but IGTV supports vertical videos. So, smartphone users don’t need to rotate their phones to view the videos. 

While IGTV usage was slow to pick up, views rose gradually. As a result, Instagram has decided to monetize the model by adding an IGTV ads feature. Now, content creators and influencers will be able to make money by inserting ads in their IGTV videos. 

In February 2020, Instagram announced that they have created an internal prototype for a partner program. And, they are exploring ways of making IGTV a sustainable source of income for influencers. If you’re interested in learning more about IGTV ads and how to make the most of these, you’re in luck. We have compiled all the necessary information about IGTV ads in this post.

The Ultimate Guide to IGTV Ads:

Why IGTV Ads?

When asked for the reason behind the update, Instagram’s CEO, Justin Osofsky stated that lack of revenue kept A-list creators away from the IGTV format. Ad revenue could be a strong incentive for top creators to dabble in IGTV. They will not only contribute superb content but also bring their large follower communities to the platform. 

Enhanced engagement will result in more advertising potential and revenue. The snowball effect is bound to kick in, hopes Osofsky.

Additionally, Instagram’s affiliate model is the same as YouTube. This means Instagram can also hope to win over some of YouTube’s loyal audiences by this move. In the long-standing rivalry between Facebook and Google, IGTV ads could be their trump card.

However, IGTV ads still have many battles to win. 

IGTV is not the first to go long-form or mobile-optimized. Snapchat’s “Snap Originals” also hosts condensed, episodic content in the form of vertical videos. The format has gained sufficient momentum to offer stiff competition to IGTV. 

The only difference between IGTV and Snap Originals is the video duration. While the former allows 15-30 minutes long videos, Snap Originals supports up to five-minute-long videos. This means more ad opportunities for Instagram. But, Snapchat has the first-mover advantage and a loyal fan base.

IGTV Ads - What Should Creators and Influencers Know?

18 months after introducing IGTV, Instagram has broken the news about selling IGTV ads. By offering a viable income stream to content creators, Instagram hopes to inspire more high-quality content. As mentioned above, videos are extremely popular and platforms with more video content will lead the race.

IGTV ad’s partner program for content creators is expected to work along the same lines as Facebook Watch

In Facebook Watch, the ads are shown mid-roll in videos of at least three-minute duration. As Facebook follows the same model on its platform, it’s possible that IGTV ads will have these specs.

As an initial test run, Instagram has invited a few of its top content creators to partner on IGTV ads. The ads will roll out this spring. 

Instagram is yet to release its partner program to the world. The platform will vet creators rigorously before qualifying them for IGTV ads. The eligibility terms and conditions are expected to be similar to Facebook’s content monetization policies

Here is the gist for you: 

  • Content should not be sexual or violent. Don’t use profanity or suggestive language.
  • Content should not be discriminatory or hateful towards a particular community. Avoid posting content about debatable topics such as social issues and politics.
  • Content should be authentic, and not clickbait. Don’t use sensationalism to gain audiences’ attention.
  • Content should be original or properly accredited.
  • Stay away from dispensing misinformation, especially medical advice.
  • Posting about objectionable activities is strictly prohibited.

If you fulfil the above conditions, Instagram may qualify you to post IGTV content. Once your content starts getting traction, you can hope to attract advertisers and make money off of IGTV ads.

IGTV can be a great launchpad for new influencers as Stories are already brimming with influencers. Newbies can make their presence felt by creating great IGTV videos. If they attract advertisers, they can start getting returns early on in their careers.

IGTV Ads - What Should Brands and Marketers Know?

You must be wondering why IGTV ads matter when there are other long-form video channels like YouTube. 

Here are some reasons why Instagram advertising should be your priority:

  • The number of monthly active Instagram users is expected to cross 989 million by 2022.
  • 90% of Instagrammers follow businesses on the platform.
  • 16% of B2C and 9% of B2B marketers consider Instagram their most important social network for advertising.
  • Since YouTube is saturated with video content, it’s easier to make a mark in the online video space by advertising on IGTV.

By advertising on IGTV, you can reach a different type of audience. IGTV's videos are more well-groomed than off-the-cuff Stories and therefore, they may appeal to audiences with sophisticated tastes.

Plus, Instagram’s influencer base is huge and growing at an unparalleled rate. Many Instagrammers use the platform to view influencer content and that content often affects their purchase decisions. That’s why the number of sponsored posts on the platform is projected to cross six billion in 2020. 

If you select the right influencers to host your IGTV ads, you can boost your visibility, sales, and engagement in a single masterstroke.

How to Make the Most of IGTV Ads

Brands and content creators need to work out a mutually-beneficial working relationship to make IGTV ads work in their favor. Creators will have to put in extra effort to create engaging vertical videos. Brands will have to overcome their fear of low viewership of IGTV. 

Despite these odds, you can unlock the potential of IGTV ads by following some best practices. 

Instagram hasn’t revealed the exact specifications for IGTV ads yet, but since these ads will play along with IGTV videos, they should follow the same specs.

IGTV's videos specs are:

  • Video length should be between 15 minutes (for mobile uploads) and 60 minutes (for web uploads).
  • MP4 is the recommended format for videos.
  • For vertical videos, the aspect ratio should be 9:16, and for horizontal videos, it should be 16:9.
  • The minimum frame rate is supposed to be 30 frames per second.
  • The minimum resolution is 720px.
  • Files should not exceed 650 MB for videos less than 10 minutes long and 3.6 GB for videos less than 60 minutes long.
  • The dimensions of the cover photo should ideally be 420 pixels by 654 pixels. As of now, you can edit the cover photo after uploading it.

Since IGTV ads are in their infancy, we don’t have any illustrations to support this info yet. But this can be a blessing in disguise. You have more room to experiment and try fresh ideas. 

Use interesting ad copy and high-quality visuals to make your ads more engaging. Add a compelling CTA that prompts viewers to interact with the ad.

Content creators should share IGTV previews to their feeds which can spike the engagement rates of vertical videos. One-minute previews in your feed are like a highway to your videos. You don’t need to write posts to get people to click on your vertical video, neither do you have to link to your Stories to your video. 


IGTV Ads - Are They Worth It?

In plain terms, it’s too early to answer this question. Although it’s been nearly two years, IGTV is still finding its footing and IGTV ads are even newer. To make IGTV ads popular, Instagram first has to convince content creators to divert their time and attention from posts and Stories to vertical videos. 

If you remember, the pivot-to-video approach didn’t work too well for Facebook. In 2018, Facebook suddenly changed its algorithm, after which content creators who had published videos on the platform found their earnings shrinking swiftly. So, content creators and influencers are taking their sweet time to adopt IGTV. 

Also, unlike YouTube, there is a lack of data and insights about IGTV right now. Without concrete numbers, influencers have no real reason to diversify into long-form videos on Instagram when short-form Stories are still immensely popular.

It’s only after IGTV gains sufficient ground that we can expect brands to invest in IGTV ads. If they gain traction, IGTV ads can be a bankable opportunity for brands that are trying to make it big through Instagram marketing.

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.