The Food Brand’s Guide to Facebook Watch & IGTV

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Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has owned the video content niche on social media. That’s changing, if Facebook has any say in the matter. In the quest to expand their internet empire, Facebook has turned its attention to video content with two recent product launches in 2017 and 2018: Facebook Watch and Instagram’s IGTV.

Whether or not video is currently a part of your social media strategy, Facebook’s investment in these two new content platforms tells us that short and long-form video content is the newest frontier for digital brand marketers. And, with few businesses making the leap onto these platforms during their initial stages, your food brand has the chance to stand out and lead the charge.

Facebook Watch and IGTV Allow You to Create and Promote Video In One Space

With over one billion hours of video watched daily on YouTube and over 130 million subscribers streaming content on Netflix, it’s no wonder why Facebook and Instagram would want to divert some of that viewership over to their digital properties. Facebook, in particular, has its eye on Netflix and Hulu’s successes in the original content space, launching Facebook Watch-exclusive shows like Kim Kardashian-produced prank show Are You Kidding Me? And the Tom Brady docuseries Tom vs. Time.

It’s clear that both Facebook Watch and IGTV aim to be the new place that YouTube-style stars build a viewing audience. Instagram lays this out in their IGTV about section for businesses, “People continue to spend more time with entertainment on their mobile devices, and we’re making it easier for them to get closer to the creators and original content they love.” This synergistic logic checks out. There’s a clear benefit to being able to create and promote your video content all in one space, without having to drive traffic away to a different site, like YouTube. The biggest benefit of all: If someone is already following you on Facebook and Instagram, they will automatically be following you on Facebook Watch and IGTV without requiring any additional action.

78% of Total Mobile Data Traffic will be Mobile Video by 2021

This is all well and good for YouTube comedians or makeup tutorial stars, but you may be asking yourself, “How does this help me with my food brand?” The answer isn’t so much an argument for as it is an opportunity. There are not very many brands participating in the space yet, so it’s largely a blank canvas for businesses. This means your food brand can get in on the ground floor of serialized content on Facebook and Instagram, which, more importantly, are not yet saturated by your competitors.

Odds are, you’ve been directing the majority of your social media efforts toward building an audience and content strategy on Facebook and Instagram as it is, so you now have one more avenue to reach those eyes. Research from Cisco shows that by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic, making this an increasingly important medium to master.

Stepping into this new terrain on Facebook and/or Instagram will require a little planning and strategizing in the outset, but can be seamlessly integrated into your existing strategy once it’s up and running. For instance, you may want to prioritize one platform over another depending on what your current asset library looks like, what your capacity for generating new content is, and the type of video content you’re wanting to publish.

Some Major Differences Between the Platforms to Consider:

  • IGTV is exclusively presented as vertical video, similar to Instagram Stories, whereas Facebook Watch has a more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • IGTV has a 10-minute length limit for accounts with less than 10K followers while Facebook Watch videos can go up to 60 minutes.
  • Facebook Watch is more naturally integrated into the Facebook news feed, serving up videos alongside other content and offering notifications for when new episodes/videos are uploaded. IGTV is a separate interface users must navigate to within the Instagram app.
  • Both can be accessed via the main Facebook or Instagram app, but also have their own apps that can be downloaded.

Your video content strategy should ultimately ladder up to your overall KPIs on social media, whatever they may be (audience growth, engagement, trial, purchase, email subscriptions, etc.) If you’re already participating in Facebook or Instagram Stories, try using Watch and IGTV as an extension of that strategy. However, where Stories should feel spontaneous and timely, Watch and IGTV should be approached with an editorial point of view. If you have a production budget, consider installing a weekly cooking show on Facebook Watch featuring new ways to use your product. If you’re working with more modest resources, you can still produce meaningful content. Try to support your brand with behind-the-scenes features, interviews with industry professionals or your employees, informational videos and how-tos, new product spotlights, or even influencer takeovers.

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Explore Video Content for Your Food Brand

While engaging content is key, as a brand it’s only as effective as the CTA you can associate to it. Luckily, both Watch and IGTV have built-in linking abilities you can use to support your goals. While there’s no paid option on IGTV, it’s likely that’s where it’s headed. Instagram introduced shopping capabilities to Stories and posts earlier this year, so it’s only a matter of time until this technology makes its way to IGTV. This will create an even more enticing opportunity for food brands to link their social media efforts to tangible ROI.

The decision to invest time and resources into a Facebook Watch and/or IGTV video content strategy may not be right for every brand or business. But in the food space, where appetite appeal is king, it’s definitely something to consider. If video content is something you’ve wanted to explore, there has never been a better time to do so. Considering how difficult (and expensive) newsfeed reach is getting, you can’t underestimate the value of being an early adopter. This is a time where competition is low and your content is almost guaranteed to find a receptive audience.

Bre Rodriguez Social Media Content Manager EvansHardy+Young
Bre Rodriguez, Social Media Content Manager

As a published writer, personal stylist with Stitch Fix, and budding graphic designer, Bre manages the social media launch of Lamb Weston’s Grown In Idaho brand and continues to grow its social footprint via strategic content marketing, advertising, and influencer programs.