What is IGTV (Instagram TV) and How Do I Use It?

Written by Nancy Rothman

On September 5, 2018

Editor’s Note August 2019:  Instagram has made several changes to IGTV since we originally published this blog post in September 2018. We’ve added the most recent IGTV updates to the end of the post.

You’ve probably seen it. You are logged into your Instagram account and you have a small little TV notification in their corner. You click it and suddenly there is a video playing and you feel like you’ve somehow left the Instagram app completely.

Before you say, “Wait, this is a photo app! This isn’t right.” and exit out of Instagram, we’re here to tell you that your favorite photo app has an exciting new feature that’s become the talk of the social media world.


Welcome to IGTV, Instagram’s newest feature!

Instagram TV, which we all know as IGTV, allows creators to upload high quality, long-form, vertical videos. IGTV allows Instagram users to create channels where they can upload videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long. Large accounts can upload videos that are up to 60 minutes long. IGTV exists so users can create more compelling content to engage their audience. Since engaging content is what social media is all about, IGTV is worth investigating.

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How To Use IGTV

Instagram TV just launched in June but social media users are already loving the feature because it’s extremely easy to use.

Users can access IGTV with either a personal or business Instagram account, through the Instagram app itself or through the IGTV standalone app.

In the Instagram app, click the IGTV icon in the upper right corner.

igtv in app

If you download the IGTV app, you’ll see a welcome screen and you can click to continue.


Once you do either of those things, you’ll be taken to the main IGTV screen. From there, you will see that just like regular TV, IGTV has different channels. Channels are associated with Instagram profiles and anyone can create one. Yes, we can all get our TV star moment on IGTV. But we’ll talk about how to create an IGTV channel in just a bit.

But before you step into the spotlight, let’s see what the IGTV landscape is like.

On the main Instagram TV screen, you can choose different categories of channels such as “For You,” “Popular,” and “Continue Watching.” A video will start playing once you open the main screen but you’ll still be able to explore IGTV’s main menu as the video plays. You can always access this main menu by clicking the Browse button when a video is playing.

You can browse different channels in the popular or following sections or you can use the search function if you’re interested in a specific topic. We searched for marketing and found a long list of channels we could follow.


While browsing, you can click on a specific channel and view their profile and their past videos. You can click on their profile photo on the left to see their Instagram feed or you can click the follow button on the right to follow their feed.

It really does feel a little bit like flipping through TV channels, just on Instagram. Of course, one big difference between regular TV shows and Instagram videos is that you can engage on IGTV.

You can like, comment and share IGTV videos just like you would do with an Instagram post.


It may take a little bit of time playing around inside the app but once you get the hang of it, you can find a whole world of content that’s already on IGTV!

How To Create An IGTV Channel

Now, let’s say you’ve taken some time to explore IGTV and you are hooked because you know you can create fun and engaging Instagram videos for your followers.


It’s time to create your own channel! If you haven’t created your channels, it’s just as easy do so as it is to watch IGTV.

If you click the “Browse” button, IGTV pulls up the menu and there’s a small gear button next to the search bar. Once you click that button, you’ll be brought to a page to create your channel. With just a few quick clicks, your channel will be set up and ready for videos. We told you it was easy!

Your current Instagram followers will automatically have access to your IGTV videos so you already have your existing video audience so you don’t need to worry about building up followers. Instead, you can focus on creating quality Instagram videos.

Why Should You Use IGTV?

At this point, you might be thinking that IGTV is cool but what are you supposed to even use it for?

Video is becoming more and more important to marketers and small businesses. The average person watches more than an hour and a half of online video content per day and 78% of marketers say video content gives them a good ROI.

Video is effective at establishing a connection and telling a story. Since humans are visual creatures, visual cues can boost trustworthiness for your brand. Video is easy for your followers to consume and it’s becoming a preferred method of content with 85% of people saying they’d like to see more video content from brands.

The stats clearly show that video content should be a big part of your content marketing and social media strategy! Instagram TV makes it easy to start using video in your social media marketing.

How To Get Started With IGTV

Creating quality video content isn’t that difficult with IGTV either. You don’t even need to turn your phone sideways to get a good shot. You can film straight from your iPhone or Android. Then, you can use free video editing apps like Inshot or Cute CUT to edit clips, add filters, text or stickers to your video.

But before you start creating videos, you should consider what types of content you want to share. Just like every social media feature, you should consider how IGTV videos will help you achieve your business goals.

  • Here are some ideas you may want to consider on how to use IGTV:
  • Tutorials
  • Educational videos
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Product demos or sneak peaks
  • Team introductions or Q&As
  • Office tours

Whatever the content you create, make sure it actually associates with your social media and business goals. Funny cat videos are awesome and all but they probably won’t bring you sales or customers.

What’s Next For IGTV

IGTV is still a new feature and on one knows what the future holds for it. All we know for sure is that IGTV has opened up a new way for businesses to connect to their customers on Instagram.

If IGTV isn’t a part of the strategy just yet, it might be time to step into the spotlight and become a video star. Or at least consider how you can add IGTV to your content strategy and improve your social media presence with video.

We’d love to hear from you! Are you using IGTV yet? Do you have a favorite IGTV channel?


Updated 2019:

IGTV launched less than a year ago and Instagram has continued to make updates throughout the year to encourage people to hop on board and try out their newest feature.

One major update that Instagram introduced was the ability to post 1-minute previews of IGTV videos in the feed.

When you promote IGTV videos in the feed, your followers will see a one minute preview, then at the end of that minute, the video will pause and followers will need to click the Keep Watching button to continue watching the full video in IGTV.

The preview for the video will stay on your Instagram page. You can see the difference by the IGTV icon in the top corner.

So if you do choose to promote your IGTV videos in the feed, be sure to pay attention to the video cover photo and your posting time.

This change made it easier for creators to promote their IGTV videos and many creators began to see more video views after this change.

According to Instagram, “With IGTV previews in feed, we’re making it even easier to discover and watch the latest video content from your favorite follows.” Instagram also noted that since making that change in February 2019, they’ve seen “viewers spending more time with IGTV and a surge of new original content from creators of all sizes.

IGTV also began supporting landscape videos. This is quite a change from the original launch of IGTV. IGTV was meant to be only for portrait videos. But most creators struggled to create videos in a format that wasn’t easily repurposed for other platforms. The change isn’t too surprising as Instagram tends to evolve to meet the needs of its creators. Remember that Instagram only offered the ability to post square photos for the first few years of its existence! This is just another sign that Instagram wants users to use IGTV, no matter what format they film videos.

The one change that IGTV creators are waiting for is the ability to monetize their content. Instagram CEO Kevin Systro has said that they are currently focused on engagement on IGTV but doesn’t dismiss the idea that ads on IGTV are in the future. He noted, “There will be a way for creators to make a living.”

One year in and already many changes in IGTV! It will be interesting to see how the platform evolves during year two. Team Edgar will be watching closely to keep you updated!

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