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

Written by Nancy Rothman

On November 2, 2020

Editor’s Note November 2020:  Instagram has made several changes to IGTV since we originally published this blog post in September 2018. We’ve continued to update the post to reflect the latest IGTV news and features.

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 Find IGTV Videos

There are a few differents you can find IGTV videos. Originally, Instagram had an IGTV button that users could access from the home screen. However, Instagram determined that few people were actually clicking that button so they removed it in early 2020. A Facebook representative told TechCrunch, “As we’ve continued to work on making it easier for people to create and discover IGTV content, we’ve learned that most people are finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators’ profiles and the standalone app. Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app”

Now, you can now different options for finding IGTV videos. You can browse IGTV videos from the Explore Page.

After clicking on the IGTV button on the explore page, Instagram will curate a page of videos for you. You can also search for a video by searching for the creator or Instagram user name.

You can also find IGTV videos by the in-feed previews. In 2019, Instagram also added 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. 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.

And in 2020, Instagram updated IGTV so users can share videos in their stories. When users share their IGTV video to their story, the first 15 seconds will play automatically and users can add a swipe-up link to see the rest of the video. You don’t even need 10,000 followers to get that swipe-up option for IGTV videos either!

igtv story preview example

The IGTV App

And of course, if you a huge IGTV fan or creator, you can download the IGTV app.

igtv

After signing onto the app, you’ll be taken to your IGTV Home Page. This page lists Creators You Follow at the top in a story-like design. You can click any of those users to be taken to their IGTV Home Page or you can scroll down to see recent IGTV videos from creators you follow.

No matter how you get, once you’re watching a full IGTV video, you can engage with it, just as you would with a regular Instagram post, by liking, commenting, saving, and sharing it.

igtv

 

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 the trustworthiness of 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 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.

via GIPHY

It’s time to create your own channel! If you haven’t created your channels, it’s just as easy to 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!

igtv create a channel

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.

How to Upload IGTV Videos

Before you upload your IGTV video, you want to doublecheck Instagram’s IGTV video requirements.

  • Videos must be at least one minute long and IGTV videos can be up to 15 minutes when uploading from a mobile phone or 60 minutes when uploading from a desktop.
  • No matter the length of the video, videos must be in MP4 file format.
  • You can upload either vertical videos (with an aspect ratio of 9:16) or a horizontal video (with an aspect ratio of 16:9).

You can upload IGTV videos through mobile or web.

How to Upload an IGTV Video from Mobile

From the Instagram app, you can click the “+” button in the upper left corner of your account.

Then, choose “IGTV Video” in the pop up at the bottom of your screen.

From there, Instagram will pull up the videos from your phone. If any of the videos don’t meet the requirements, you won’t be able to click on them to upload them. Remember, videos upload from a mobile phone must be between 1 minutes and 15 minutes in order to be able to upload.

After you click the video you want to upload, you’ll be able to preview the video and then you’ll click “Next.” After that, you’ll be able to choose the Cover Photo for your video. You can either choose a still from the video or upload a custom cover photo. The cover photo is what will show on your Instagram feed and your IGTV profile.

After you choose your cover photo and click “Next,” you’ll enter your Title and Description, choose if you’d like to add the video to a series, and choose your sharing options. Instagram allows you to Post a Preview to your feed and, if your Instagram account is connected to your Facebook page, you’ll have the option to make your video visible on Facebook. From there, you can post!

How to Upload an IGTV Video from Desktop

To upload an IGTV video from your desktop, head to Instagram.com in your browser and sign in to your Instagram profile. Then head to your Instagram profile and select the IGTV tab. Then you can click the “Upload” button.

Then you’ll be able to upload your video (up to 60 minutes long), enter your title and description, choose your cover photo, choose where your video will show and post your video.

upload igtv video desktop

What to Post on IGTV

Creating quality video content isn’t that difficult. 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. Or you can use our favorite trick and repurpose content from other channels.

Originally, 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. Since Instagram tends to evolve to meet the needs of its creators, they changed the requirements to include horizontal videos. This is just another sign that Instagram wants users to use this feature, no matter what format they film videos.

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:

Tutorials

Tutorials are perfect for long-form video content. You don’t need to feel rushed when sharing a technique or a how-to. Don’t be afraid to share your personality too! Video is prime for showing off who you are. This is how you stand out from the crowd and separate yourself from those who teach similar topics or content.

igtv series example

Educational Videos

Use these videos to answer frequently asked questions or address more in-depth questions about your product or services. In the example below, this realtor shares a very popular homebuying question.

Behind-the-scenes

Show your audience how the magic happens! Disney took this quite literally but you can show how you create a certain product, the workflow on your team or what’s happening at the office or with your team.

Product demos or sneak peeks

Product demos or sneak peeks are the perfect opportunities to generate buzz before a big launch or upcoming sale. You can address FAQs, show your audience how to use your product or share some tips and hacks that will make their lives easier or help them use your products better.

Team introductions or Q&As

Get personal with your audience and show the people and personalities who keep your business running! People connect with people so don’t be afraid to share yours!

Create a Series

Series are one of the most popular trends on Instagram TV. Create a series of videos on a specific category or theme. It’s a perfect way to stay consistent and grow your audience with every new video. (Check out this post on 4 IGTV series ideas that are so easy to start!)

igtv series

Interviews

If you’re a podcaster or YouTuber, you can use Instagram TV to share and promote your interviews. To increase your reach, tag the interviewee in your post and your story.

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 Instagram TV

Instagram TV is still evolving but the last few years have shown us that Instagram is committed to making the changes they need to get users to use this feature.

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 it 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?

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