IGTV For Churches: 15 Things Your Ministry Needs To Know | Ep. #150

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

July 10th, 2018

IGTV is the newest part of the Instagram platform. Brady and Alex discuss what IGTV is, the features it includes, and how to use it as part of your ministry’s communication strategy.

What’s In This Session?

  • What is IGTV? (0:32)
  • Stat #1: Teens are watching 40% less TV than 5 years ago (3:52)
  • Stat #2: Instagram users are watching 60% more videos than last year (4:08)
  • Video must be vertical (4:38)
  • IGTV has a stand alone app (6:51)
  • Comments (7:06)
  • Autoplay without audio (7:35)
  • How do I use it? (8:28)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’re going to get a daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while we try and navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. 

I’m your Host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. And today we’re talking IGTV for churches, 15 things that your ministry needs to know.

Brady Shearer: Been getting a lot of DMs, been getting a lot of emails, a lot of questions. “Brady, what about IGTV? What do we need to do with this, as churches?” Let’s first define what IGTV is. Maybe you know the name, you’ve heard it been said. What actually is it, Alex?

Alex Mills: Well, it kind of came out of nowhere. For a couple days, we were hearing rumors of, “Instagram’s about to introduce capability to upload up to an hour-long video.” But further than that, we didn’t hear anything. And then, that was for about two days, about 48 hours. And then Instagram held kind of like a keynote presentation, similar to like what you’d see Google or Apple do, and this guy got up on stage and he said, “Introducing IGTV.” 

And so it’s really, really interesting and I love the concept. And I’ve had a hard time like responding to these DMs that you and I are both getting because it’s like, I don’t really know the best way to use it yet because it just, it’s here and we’re all just trying to figure it out. And so a lot of people are trying to repurpose content and like previously shot content and throw it on IGTV, and so trying to figure out the best way to use it. 

But what it is, this is how it works. It kind of has two platforms, so you can find it natively within the Instagram app. And it’ll be right to the left of your direct message logo on the top right of your screen, and you’ll see a little orange logo, and it’s IGTV. And so you click on it, and a new screen comes up, and it’s a way to interact with video that’s very unique to Instagram now. And so we’re going to get into this later in the episode, but Instagram says you can upload up to an hour-long video here, and its vertical content, that’s how it’s designed. And there’s a tab for people you’re following.

You can browse and there’s also a search feature. But there’s also a totally separate IGTV app, which is the same interface as if you were getting to it natively through Instagram, but it’s got its own app. And so I’m not really sure about the application for the unique app, but it’s, I mean, it looks identical. It operates the same way. And I think the possibilities for churches, for businesses, for anyone who’s on social media, and especially on Instagram, are just like, the doors have just been blown wide open. I’m really excited bout this, but that’s kind of the Cole’s Notes version of what IGTV is. 

Brady Shearer: The question I get all the time when a new social platform drops is, “Brady, how are we, as churches, supposed to use this?”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And my default position is always like, “Hedge,” which is, “Well, I follow the attention, so let’s see what happens.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Even this episode, IGTV has been out for about a month now. We haven’t really publicly talked about it until now, and as of this recording, I haven’t even published, we haven’t published anything on IGTV just because we’re taking things slow. And I have a set strategy for social media.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: And just because a new platform pops up, it doesn’t mean that I immediately have like rubber neck syndrome.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: “Whoa, let’s go over there. New shiny object.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It’s like, “Well, wait a minute. Let me play with this platform a bit. I’ve downloaded it, I’ve played with it. Okay, here’s what it’s all about. Here’s what it seems like the trends are. How can this fit into our overall strategy?” 

And so in this episode, we’re not going to tell you, “Your church needs to be on IGTV.” What we’re going to tell you is, “Here are the things you need to know about IGTV.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: It’s very important that you understand the basics of the platform. That doesn’t mean you need to use it. Doesn’t mean you need to take away resources from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, because those are established platforms.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Means you need to probably download IGTV, know what it’s about, and then react based on your unique strategy.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So let’s talk about all the things that you need to know. We’re going to give you that briefer right now. Firstly, let’s talk about some stats that Instagram shared in their keynote when they announced IGTV-

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Shearer: Firstly, teens are watching 40% less television than they did five years ago. And, even that, despite that, on Instagram, users are watching 60% more video than they did last year. This is a great illustration of the communication shift that we are going through right now.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and I watched that keynote live. And so they were using these stats to say like, “Teens aren’t watching less video. They’re just watching it differently.” And so they’re watching it less on cable TV, but they’re watching it much more on a portrait, like vertical orientation on their phone. And so enter IGTV.

Brady Shearer: Exactly. So Alex already mentioned a couple of these things. We’ll cover them again. Videos must be vertical when you upload them to IGTV. So we’re talking nine by 16 aspect ratio, 15 seconds to 10 minutes in length for smaller accounts, 15 seconds to 60 minutes in length for larger accounts. Or, is it? No one really knows. 

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: For instance, if I go to upload a video to IGTV on my mobile device, it will say there’s a 10 minute limit. If I go to desktop on Instagram.com, log into my @BradyShearer Instagram account, go to the IGTV tab on Instagram.com on desktop, and go to upload a video, it says I have a 60 minute limit. I thought maybe because I’m above that 10,000 followers threshold.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: I’m not a verified account. I’m not one of these partnered collaborators with IGTV. Why do I get the 60 minute limit? Or, at least, why do I get what says to be a 60 minute limit?

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: I haven’t tested that. That’s just what it says.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: But then I saw on a Facebook thread today someone who had just a couple of hundred followers and they had the same thing. So check for yourself because I’d like to know. It doesn’t seem like … I couldn’t find an answer to this definitively online. We may be able to upload up to 60 minutes if you go directly to desktop, which is something to consider.

Alex Mills: Sounds similar to like when Twitter introduced the 240 character limit. Like I remember when that happened, I got it before anyone else in the office, and for no reason. I was like brand new to Twitter at the time. I got 240 characters. I’m like, “I don’t know what to do with all these.” 

And then that feature disappeared for a couple days for me, and then it came back, and then people … It just, so when a new feature or a new app in this instance gets rolled out, sometimes these features are a little buggy.

Brady Shearer: That’s true.

Alex Mills: And they get rolled out in different ways, so we’re just trying to figure it out.

Brady Shearer: MP4 file format is what you want to upload, less than 3.6 gigabytes. You can also choose a cover photo.

Alex Mills: Which is really, really cool.

Brady Shearer: Like you would choose a thumbnail on YouTube.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Got to be jpeg. 4K video is supported. This is much better than Instagram Stories, where you’ll craft a beautiful video, upload it, and then Instagram will compress it all the way to hell basically.

Alex Mills: Yeah, yeah.

Brady Shearer: And say, “Well, this is what it looks like now.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So you’re going to get a nice looking image that’s not overly-compressed, which is nice. So if you’re shooting in 4K and you’ve worked really hard at it, it’s going to still look nice. It does give you analytics, views count when they are longer than three seconds in length.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: IGTV … Like, IGGTV, man … [inaudible 00:06:54]. IGTV comes with a standalone app, like Alex said, but it also integrates directly into Instagram, so you want to download it so that Instagram integration is native for you. Instagram TV, IGTV comes with comments. So if you post a video, there will be comments that people can add.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Which is similar to a post on Instagram, but it feels like an Instagram story with comments.

Alex Mills: Yeah, it’s like worlds colliding.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, so that’s new and fresh. I asked Brandon, who works in the office here, who’s posted a bunch to IGTV already, what’s his experience been? He’s like, “Yeah, the comments are really nice. You get to interact, where normally I would post that on stories, and I’d only get DMs.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: “Now I have public comments where everyone can interact, community collaboration-style.”

Alex Mills: Awesome.

Brady Shearer: All the videos when you enter the app auto play without audio. And this is important to know because if you do something at the very first three to five seconds that’s important, it’s likely if it’s audio-based, word, spoken-based, no one will hear it. So that’s just something to consider. It’s kind of an annoying part of the interface because you’ll see a video you like, and then you’ll click back into it, and you’ll like scrub back to the beginning to hear it.

Alex Mills: Right, yeah.

Brady Shearer: So that’s not really like super user intuitive. Maybe you want to leave those first five seconds of you like waving, or like a quick little intro.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: And then jump into the actual speaking part, might be something to consider.

Alex Mills: Makes sense.

Brady Shearer: IGTV has its own guide released by Instagram. We’ll have it linked in the show notes. It’s about a 40-page PDF, where they talk about all the ins and outs, the specs, how to create, everything that you need to know. So if you’re looking for an actual written guide, Instagram came out with one. How to use it? Well, the one church that I’ve seen use it so far is surprisingly Elevation.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: And what they did was, they took a clip from one of Steven Furtick’s messages. Normally, they do this a minute or less on Instagram. But they did a full three minutes.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: A couple things to note about this clip that I saw. One, Elevation is already working in 4K, filming their services with like four different cameras.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So they’ve got three minutes of footage and they’ve got multiple cameras. The nice thing about a church is that, even if you’re shooting widescreen, there’s a single subject in the frame preaching. So you can repurpose that. You can crop that to nine by 16.

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Shearer: Because it’s just a person standing on stage.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: The Pro Church Vlog cannot be repurposed for IGTV.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: We can’t just crop it because we’d cut out most of the frame. But when you are recording your pastor speaking, it’s just one person standing up. That’s perfect for that aspect ratio so you can crop it, even within this three minute video clip though. There was another video clip embedded within it.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: From the message, so even this native usage of IGTV, or not so native usage, repurpose usage, had multiple camera angles, and not just a person talking, talking head, but another video clip embedded within. So a lot of work went into this. I wouldn’t say, and Brandon said this, and I’ll read it right here and pass it along.

“IGTV, if nothing less than because of the vertical video format, it’s not really a platform where you’re going to run a repurpose footage, repurpose content. Because for most use cases, you won’t be able to.”

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Interestingly, the one use case where you might be able to repurpose it-

Alex Mills: Is the pastor preaching.

Brady Shearer: Which is what you likely may only already be filming, as is.

Alex Mills: Yeah, yeah.

Brady Shearer: So that’s actually probably a little bit advantageous for churches.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and that’s the problem we saw. Like a lot of small businesses running into, or other services when IGTV was first released, they just kind of took content that they already had, repurposed it, and threw it up. And most of it was 16 by nine, horizontal, landscape video, and it wasn’t really working. And so for the first like couple days there, it’s like my IGTV feed was just like a mess.

Brady Shearer: Yeah.

Alex Mills: It’s like, “I can’t watch any of this because this is just old content that other people are just throwing up just to give it a shot.” But yeah, for churches, we have an advantage because a lot of the content that we’re probably going to be wanting to put on IGTV is a pastor teaching, and we can crop that nine by 16, and probably make it look pretty good. So we’re poised in a pretty good position here, as churches, to leverage this new platform.

Brady Shearer: Bottom line. Don’t feel the need or the necessity, rubber neck syndrome, shiny object syndrome, to depart from the social platforms that are established, and already have attention, and already have been around for a while, and then use those resources to invest in IGTV.

Play around with it, look through that Instagram guide that they released that we mentioned. Listen, watch an episode of Pro Church Daily like this, and then as we see IGTV continue to gain momentum, because I do think that it’s here to stay.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: If nothing else, it is going to be spring boarded by all the attention and the billion plus users on Instagram. See what it’s about and then invest as needed or as necessary, based on your existing social strategy. But don’t just jump from one thing to another because that is not helpful, too sustainable, success on social for your church. That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.