Good news: Instagram recently introduced IGTV ads.
Even better news: We’re going to tell you all about what that means—and how you can leverage it for your IGTV series.
Though it was launched in 2018, creators haven’t had a way to monetize their IGTV channels outside of marketing a product directly to their viewers. But in May 2020, Instagram announced that they would begin to offer an ads program to select creators.
And if you’re a brand looking for another stream of social advertising revenue, this gives you an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot—and take advantage of IGTV ads.
To help, we’re going to dive into what we know about IGTV ads right now and what you can do about it.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.
Everything you need to know about IGTV ads
While Instagram has yet to formally unveil a comprehensive IGTV ads plan for creators and businesses, we’ve scoured every resource we could to find the answers to your most pressing questions.
When will IGTV ads be available?
Beginning in the first week of June 2020, Instagram began offering a monetization program to a select number of video creators. That program is still in early testing phases so it’s not widely available to brands and companies yet.
If you’re a brand looking to corner the market for IGTV ads early, you’re going to have to wait a while yet. According to Facebook (Instagram’s parent company), they do not anticipate IGTV ads to be widely available until 2021.
“IGTV ads will be testing for the remainder of 2020,” said a spokesperson from Instagram. “We believe that emerging creators will see the most benefit from monetization in IGTV but will test with a variety of accounts as we roll this out slowly to ensure we get the experience right. No specific plans to share on expansion at this time.”
Instagram has been prototyping IGTV ads to specific influencers so far via their Instagram Partner Program as early as February 2020.
Source: Jane Manchun Wong
If these are any indication, it looks like you’ll be offered a set of monetization tools which includes IGTV ads.
Of course, they could start making it more widely available throughout 2020 until then. But don’t hold your breath that they’ll drop all the IGTV ad features before 2021.
How much can creators earn from IGTV ads?
Instagram plans to share 55% of their IGTV ad revenue with their creators. That’s the “industry standard” according to Justin Ososky, Instagram’s COO.
For some context, both YouTube and Facebook Watch give 55% of ad revenue to their creators, while they keep the other 45%. So this is in line with industry standards.
Which creators will be eligible for IGTV ads?
Like many other things regarding this topic, we’ll have to look towards the way Facebook Watch treats its ads for cues.
Currently Facebook pages are eligible for ads as part of their partnership program if they meet the following criteria:
- They have been creating 3 minute video
- The videos generate more than 30,000 1-minute views over the past two months
- They have 10,000 Facebook followers
- They are located countries where in-stream ads are made available
- They meet Facebook’s Monetization Eligibility Standards
In this post-YouTube Ad-pocalypse world, the Monetization Eligibility Standards are likely going to be the thing that Facebook adheres to the most. After all, ads are how Facebook makes their money—and they don’t want anyone’s videos impacting their bottom line.
What are the standards? In summary:
- Follow their Community Standards. No hate speech, no inciting violence, and no sexual content.
- Share original content. That means no infringing on trademarks or copyrights. Use music, videos, and images with permission.
- No #FakeNews. Content that appears to be pushing misinformation will be flagged and taken down. This is likely going to be a lot more strict as time moves on due to *waves arms around*.
- Create authentic engagement. Don’t try to game the system by artificially boosting your views and engagement via things like bots or purchasing followers.
- Be established. Facebook wants creators to have “an authentic, established presence on Facebook.” That means you have to have been on Facebook for at least 90 days.
- Follow their political and government ethics rules. Facebook says that current and appointed government figures cannot monetize their videos. Many apologies to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who was surely looking to monetize her upcoming “Supreme Court Justice reacts” series.
For a comprehensive breakdown, read Facebook’s full Partner Monetization Policies.
Why are they introducing IGTV ads now?
Instagram decided to launch IGTV ads with their creators in mind.
“Creators are such an important part of Instagram, so we continue to look at ways of allowing creators to turn their passions into livings on the platform,” said Jim Squires, Instagram’s VP of Business and Media.
Digging a little deeper, it’s safe to assume that Instagram also introduced ads in order to attract new creators to their platform. There have been a few indications that they’ve been struggling to get people to both watch videos on IGTV and create videos there.
Think about it. If you’re a creator choosing between investing more of your time into YouTube (pays its top creators $5 per 1000 views) and IGTV (currently pays its creators nothing), which one would you choose? You’re going to want to go where the money is of course.
What will IGTV ads look like?
Though there’s likely to be new features that come with IGTV ads, we can expect them to look a lot like—if not exactly like—Instagram Story ads.
These will be midroll ads that likely will play somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds. You’ll also likely have an option to skip the ad after a certain amount of time like on YouTube.
The only difference is that the ads will likely be all videos. Remember, this is going to be IGTV—Instagram’s video exclusive platform. That means you’re going to want to make sure that your IGTV ads meet the exact specifications for Instagram videos.
Oh, boy. If only we had a comprehensive list of social media platform video specifications…
Hey, look. Here are the Instagram Story video specs below:
Recommended size: Upload the highest-resolution video available that meets file size and ratio limits.
Minimum size: 500 by 889 pixels
Supported aspect ratios: 16:9 to 4:5 and 9:16
Recommended specs: .MP4 or .MOV format, maximum length 120 seconds, maximum file size 30MB
Instagram has the same recommendations for video as Facebook. Upload the highest resolution video possible that fits file size and ratio limits, H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+.
Pro tip: Want to really get a leg up? Make sure you know exactly how to advertise on Instagram in the meantime.
How can you create an IGTV ad?
Like we said, there’s no way to create an IGTV ad just yet. That said, if we look towards the advertising process for Instagram (not IGTV), we get a good indicator of what they’re going to do.
To do that, you’ll need to set up a Facebook page and create ads through Facebook’s ad manager. If you’ve ever used that or YouTube’s ad manager before, the process is pretty familiar then. Choose a budget, the type of ad you want to run, and furnish the ad with video clips, pictures, captions, and a headline. Voila! You just created an ad.
We’ll have to wait until the full program is unveiled to know for sure, but it seems like this is the direction they’re going.
For a full breakdown on how to do exactly that, check out our article on how to advertise on Instagram today.
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