How architecture practices can exploit new Instagram video

The below article is a piece I wrote for Archiboo, you can see the original here.

Instagram recently launched a major new feature IGTV – the platform’s attempt to take on YouTube. Social media platforms seem to release new features almost every day, but IGTV is certainly a significant step. But, does IGTV actually have any relevance to architects?

What is IGTV?

While you can already post videos on Instagram, it’s limited to just 15 seconds for most users. Now with the launch of IGTV – available as a standalone app and within the regular Instagram app – you can upload videos of up to 10 minutes.

The major difference is that IGTV videos will be vertical, making it easier for mobile users to view and the app is easy to use – you can produce a video with no prior skills, and with minimal equipment, just an iphone.

How can you use IGTV for architecture?

One of the biggest insights from the entrants to the 2017 archiboo web awards was the significant growth in the use of Instagram. It was notable how it had become a priority for many practices but for most entrants the focus was mainly on imagery.

IGTV adds another type of content – long-form vertical video. While social media is often associated with short attention spans, many people are happy to watch long videos, provided they are engaging and interesting.

For those practices looking to stay one step ahead, IGTV is a good place to start. The biggest challenge to architects will be creating content that communicates their work while also resonating with their audience.

There will be many architects who have an array of videos already (we had some fantastic entrants last year) – the challenge with these will be seeing if they can work in a vertical format.

For most this means starting from scratch. As a practice, you need to consider if the investment in time and money is worth it. But many practices have a strong story to tell, and IGTV seems like a new and dynamic way of communicating.

What kind of video?

Vertical video lends itself well to ‘selfie’ type videos, that is speaking directly to the camera. This will be out of the comfort zone of many architects, but consider how you might be able to video

  • A tour of a recently completed project

  • An interview

  • A tour of the studio

  • A quick interview commenting on a hot topic

These are cheap and effective ways of producing content.

Alternatively, you can try using the vertical format in interesting ways, for example by showing each floor on one screen.

And there’s always the offbeat approach. Netflix used Instagram’s new 60-minute video feature to play a full hour of actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger. The video has brought in 676,000 views and nearly 5,000 comments. If practices can find a way to communicate their message in an unusual way, and also be more flexible with their brand, they could reap big rewards.

Finally, IGTV is particularly interesting for the archiboo web awards. It straddles both our video and social category, and shows how channels integrate with each other. So users of IGTV for architecture should consider whether they want to enter.

Instagram recently hit a mind-boggling 1bn users. Whether you utilise IGTV, Stories or just the basic platform, there are plenty of new options to consider how to optimise your brand.