The Ultimate Guide to IGTV
IGTV is taking Instagram video to the next level and brands are loving it!
With more opportunities to be discovered on the Explore page, long-form video content up to 10 minutes for all profiles, and the ability to make a running video series, IGTV is one surefire way to boost your Instagram strategy.
In this Ultimate Guide, we’re sharing everything you need to know from creating your channel to analyzing your video performance!
Table of Contents:
- What is IGTV?
- 5 Things to Know About IGTV
- How to Create an IGTV Channel
- How to Upload Videos to IGTV
- How to Share a Preview of Your IGTV Video on Your Instagram Feed
- How to Schedule an IGTV Video
- How to Create an IGTV Series (& Why Your Brand Needs One!)
- Understanding IGTV Insights
- FAQs: IGTV Video Length, Analytics, & More
What is IGTV?
IGTV is Instagram’s way of disrupting the traditional TV experience and updating it for a modern, mobile experience.
By 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic, and Instagram is betting big on mobile video with the launch of IGTV.
Anyone on Instagram can create their own IGTV channel, where they can share long-form videos with their followers.
For now, videos can be 10 minutes for most accounts, and up to one hour for larger accounts, but Instagram has said that eventually there will be no time limit.
IGTV is also no longer only for vertical video! According to a recent press release, Instagram now supports both vertical and horizontal videos on IGTV!
This is big news for creators and social media managers alike. Up until now, IGTV only supported vertical video, which was a big part of its launch in June 2018.
You can watch IGTV videos in the Instagram app, in the standalone IGTV app, or by clicking the IGTV button on someone’s Instagram profile. When someone you follow posts a new video to IGTV, you’ll get a notification in the native Instagram app.
Instagram curates videos for you based on your interests and who you follow, and you can also watch trending videos on the “popular” channel!
And just like you can with Instagram Stories, you can also share IGTV videos to your friends through Instagram Direct.
There are also no ads — yet. “Right now we’re focused on building engagement,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said in a press conference after the launch. “But that’s obviously a very reasonable place to end up. There will be a way for creators to make a living.”
To help you kick off your IGTV channel, we sat down with Jon Youshaei, Product Marketing Manager of IGTV from Instagram HQ to get his best tips on how to create a successful IGTV strategy! Here’s what we learned:
Hear more from Jon and get even more info about IGTV in our How to Build an Amazing IGTV Strategy blog post!
5 Things to Know About IGTV, Instagram’s Video Platform + App
#1: IGTV is Both Vertical & Horizontal
Like we’ve said, IGTV used to be all about vertical video. But thankfully, Instagram has decided to switch focus to both vertical and horizontal videos.
Instagram says the change comes because of creator feedback. “We realize this is an evolution from where IGTV started — we believe it’s the right change for viewers and creators.”
“Vertical videos work great for creators who want to be up-close and personal with their audience; but landscape also has its strengths, especially when it comes to formats like dance and sports which are high motion and often feature a handful of people in frame.”
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There’s also the fact that many creators were already sharing landscape videos on IGTV — but viewers couldn’t flip their phones to watch them in full screen, so it made for a less than ideal viewing experience.
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Here are two examples of what horizontal videos used to look like on IGTV: @beamiller‘s is quickly edited to include a blurred background, and @jeffmindell‘s is the full horizontal video that you would rotate your phone to watch.
This decision to open IGTV up to landscape video doesn’t really come as a surprise.
While creating a vertical video-only platform was an innovative move from Instagram, it was also a new format that many people weren’t used to creating. Basically, vertical video takes more time to create and edit, and it’s difficult to repurpose to other social platforms.
That’s not to say that vertical video is a bad thing! The format makes it easy for anyone to feel like they can start creating, and instead of the pressure to create professional videos on a camera, vertical video naturally encourages you to record on your phone instead.
Vertical video also makes for a better mobile experience, because you don’t have to rotate your phone or just watch a smaller version.
Video has become an increasingly important skill in social media marketing, and now with the launch of IGTV, it’s time to brush up or build your video shooting and editing skills!
Learn how to grow your business with video in our free Instagram Stories for Business course:
#2: IGTV is Like YouTube, Not Netflix
Even though you can upload videos up to 1 hour long on IGTV, don’t expect to be watching your favorite TV shows on it anytime soon.
The goal of IGTV is to be more like YouTube, and less like Netflix (after all, that’s what Facebook Watch is for). IGTV is meant more for following your favorite influencers or vloggers, instead of the Hollywood elite.
Instagram is trying to take a piece of YouTube and Snapchat’s pie by luring teen influencers like Bryce Xavier and Lele Pons over to IGTV, and many prominent social media + YouTube influencers were part of the IGTV launch.
“Instagram is focusing its efforts around web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed,” notes TechCrunch.
“The idea is to let these creators, who have a knack for this style of content and who already have sizeable Instagram audiences, set the norms for what IGTV is about.”
This is good news for your business, because you don’t have to create a super polished video in order to upload it to IGTV! As far as production quality goes, think of it like a step up from your Instagram Stories, but it doesn’t have to be as perfect or curated like an Instagram post or video would be.
In fact, Later’s first IGTV was written, shot, and edited in less than 5 hours! You can just film on your phone, edit it in iMovie, and then upload it to your channel — it’s a quick and budget-friendly way to dip your toes into IGTV!
#3: IGTV is an Addictive Mobile Experience
Even though you won’t be seeing your favorite TV shows on IGTV, Instagram is trying to make the overall experience a lot like traditional TV.
Just like when you turn the TV on and a show starts playing right away, when you open the IGTV app, a video will automatically start playing.
Viewers can like or comment on IGTV videos while they’re watching them, similar to how you can interact with Facebook videos.
Bored of watching the video? Just swipe to the side to move on to the next video.
Want more? Swipe up to search videos and view them by category, and it’s super easy to just scroll through videos from influencers and friends on Instagram.
Right now, there are 3 IGTV categories: For You, Following, and Popular.
- “For You” is a collection of videos that Instagram thinks you will like, made up from people you follow and Instagram’s own machine learning.
- “Following” is a collection of videos from all the people on Instagram that you’re already following. Which is a good time to mention that if someone follows you on IGTV, they’ll be following your regular Instagram account too!
- “Popular” features all of the trending videos on IGTV, most likely ranked by popularity
There’s also a small hidden search bar that lets you search for videos, but Instagram is trying to curate the best videos for you within your social network and without you having to constantly search for the next video to watch.
#4: Hosting an IGTV Series is a Big Opportunity for Brands
Instagram recently announced a brand new feature specifically to help creators start their own IGTV series! But brands and publishers like Lululemon, BBC News, and So Yummy were quick to get on board with series content:
The new tool gives creators a chance to produce ongoing, long-form video content on IGTV – separate from other videos on their channel.
Viewers can now binge-watch their favorite series and subscribe to notifications so they’ll never miss out on new episodes — which means your views, comments, and likes will get a boost!
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Each week, we recap everything you need to know from the social media world — from trends, tips, memes, announcements and more, every Wednesday, right here on our IGTV!
Tune in, subscribe to the series, and never miss out on the latest social trends with Screen Time with Later!
#5: IGTV Videos Appear x4 Larger than Photos on the Explore Page
Instagram is making video content a real asset for brands — by giving IGTV videos a much larger spot on the Explore page than photos, your videos will get prime real estate in front of new audiences!
So it’s worth investing in video for your profile, especially if you can share regular, series content. As both new and existing followers discover you on the Explore Page, you might start to see a real return on your engagement levels!
Now that you understand more about how IGTV works, you’re ready to make your own channel and upload your first IGTV video. Or even set up your first IGTV series!
How to Create an IGTV Channel:
Before you can upload a video to IGTV, you need to create your channel! The good news is that Instagram has made IGTV super simple and easy to use.
Step #2: Click on the Settings gear icon in the right-hand corner, and then click “Create Channel”
That’s it! Now you’re ready to upload your videos!
If you don’t want to download the IGTV app, you can upload your first video (and create your channel!) from the Instagram Explore page!
Just tap the IGTV button the top of the Explore page and then the “+” symbol on the top right corner. This will open up your camera roll and you can select your first IGTV video!
When you post your first video, you’ll notice a new section on your Instagram profile — a tab dedicated to just your IGTV videos.
How to Create Videos for IGTV:
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of actually shooting and sharing vertical video for IGTV, let’s take a quick look at the technical specs:
- Video format: MP4
- Length: Videos must be at least one minute long. The maximum length your video can be is 15 minutes when uploading from a mobile device and 60 minutes when uploading from the web
- Size: 650MB for videos less than 10 minutes; 3.6GB for videos up to 60 minutes
- Orientation: vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape)
- Aspect ratio: Instagram recommends that vertical IGTV videos should have an aspect ratio of 9:16, while horizontal videos should be 16:9
Like Instagram Stories, there’s really no limit to what you can post on IGTV.
So far we’ve seen businesses use it to share how-to’s and tutorials, to promote their products, to share company news and so much more.
The goal of IGTV is to be more like YouTube than Netflix. And that’s why so many influencers and vloggers have already taken to the channel.
As a business, it’s important to think about it from the perspective of what value your videos can provide. As in, how can you create value for your audience and how are you create value for your brand?
If you’re already a pro with Instagram Stories, the transition to IGTV shouldn’t be too difficult. You can even think of IGTV as an extension of your Instagram Stories. What voice, tone, and style of content do you share on your stories? Your IGTV video content should follow a similar arc.
Just remember: Since IGTV videos can be *very* long-form, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to prepare, shoot, and edit your videos before jumping right in!
Learn more about creating vertical video in this blog post!
How to Upload Videos to IGTV:
Step #1: Go to your new channel by clicking on your avatar from the main page
Step #2: Click the + icon in the right-hand corner to add a new video to IGTV
Step #3: Select a video from your camera roll
Step #4: Write your title and add a description. Just like on YouTube, you’ll want to add in any relevant keywords to your description to make it easier for people to find your videos on IGTV. This also includes hashtags and tagging other Instagram accounts (thanks to a recent update, IGTV now offers autofill suggestions for both).
You can also add in links! That’s right, people will actually be able to click on links in your description and be taken outside of the Instagram or IGTV app.
Step #5: Add a 1-minute preview of your IGTV video your Instagram feed.
We go into more detail below on how to set up your preview, but just turn on the “Post a Preview” button to get started!
Step #6: Add a cover photo!
You can upload your own custom cover, or choose a thumbnail from your video. The cover photo is what will show up on your channel page and in the IGTV categories, so make it catchy!
For your cover photo, Instagram recommends an aspect ratio of 1:1.55 (or 420px by 654px).
Step #7: Click the post button and celebrate!
You’ve just uploaded your first video to your IGTV channel.
But you’re not done yet: you’ll also want to monitor and reply to the comments on your post and track your IGTV analytics.
Step #8: View Your IGTV Analytics
Click on the “…” button beside the like, comment, and share buttons on your IGTV video.
From here you can click “View Insights” or copy the link to your video (you can also delete your video here if you need to).
When you click on “View Insights” you’ll be able to see your views, likes, and comments.
You can also see your audience retention rate, which is how many people watched your video all the way to the end, and you can even see a drop-off graph which shows you at what point people are swiping away from your video.
How to Share a Preview of Your IGTV Video on Your Instagram Feed
Instagram recently introduced the option to share a 1-minute preview of your IGTV video to your Instagram feed.
If you select to do this, your IGTV videos will live in the grid on your Instagram profile, with a little IGTV icon in the right-hand corner:
You don’t have to share IGTV videos to the Instagram feed, it’s totally optional. But it could help you get more views on your videos!
All you need to do is move the slider button to green to opt-in to IGTV Preview. Once you’ve selected that option, a preview of your IGTV video will appear in your follower’s feed, and the cover image will appear in your profile’s grid.
When you post a preview of your IGTV video, the title and description will copy over to the caption. Just keep in mind that any links you included in your description won’t be “clickable.”
If you’ve chosen to post a preview, you can tap Edit Profile Cover to adjust how your IGTV cover photo shows up on your profile grid.
You can also tap Edit Preview to adjust how your IGTV video will be previewed in feed (you’ll only have this option if your video is 9:16. If 16:9, your video will show in full).
This new process for editing your IGTV preview also makes adding subtitles much easier now. Previously, you had to add them quite high up in order to include them in the preview.
As we’ve reported before, Instagram is really investing in growing IGTV, and IGTV views have increased up to 300% since they started implementing design changes like sharing previews to the feed in-app.
How to Schedule an IGTV Video
Getting on board with IGTV is easier than ever — you can now schedule IGTV videos to automatically post to your feed!
YouTube has a very robust “YouTube Studio” for its creators, and now Instagram is moving more away from their mobile-first, vertical video strategy for IGTV by building out a similar platform for Instagram creators.
Note: IGTV videos are not included in the Instagram API, so no third-party platforms are currently able to schedule or publish IGTV videos. When this becomes available, Later will 100% implement it! For now though, we recommend scheduling your IGTV content through Creator Studio.
If you don’t have a Creator Studio account, you can follow these steps to connect your Facebook account and the Facebook Business Page connected to your Instagram account.
From your Instagram dashboard, tap the “Create” button on the top, left-hand corner of your screen and select “IGTV”.
From here, you can select your video, add a caption and choose your cover image, and when you’d like your post to go live on your channel!
Scheduling your IGTV content is a really great way to ensure you’re always publishing new content and sticking to an achievable content calendar!
How to Create an IGTV Series (& Why Your Brand Needs One!)
As we mentioned before, IGTV’s series feature is a big opportunity for brands — if you regularly turn up for you audience and share quality content, you’ll soon start to see your engagement and follower count grow!
But quality content doesn’t have to mean expensive content — in fact, some of the best series out there are filmed in what looks like relatively low-budget settings.
Take a look at Lululemon’s Boob Truths series:
The video series features weekly segments on a single topic (how to find the perfect sports bra fit) and is cohesive in terms of set and format. Just a couple of chairs and a simple backdrop in an easy-to-replicate studio setting.
Plus, with the use of the Countdown sticker in Instagram Stories to promote the launch of each new episode, the execution was nothing short of “IGTV genius,” says Later’s social media strategist, Mel Brittner.
So if you’re thinking about launching your first IGTV series in 2020, now’s the time to start strategically planning so you can grow your following.
Here’s how to create an IGTV series:
To get started, add a video to your series by tapping “Add to Series”. If it’s your first video in the series, you’ll need to set up a series name and description.
It’s also easy to add existing IGTV content to a series! Just select the IGTV tab from your profile, tap on the video you’d like to add, and click ‘Edit’.
You’ll see a new option labeled “Add to Series”. From here, you can create a new series or select an existing one. To finish, just tap “Post” in the top right corner.
If you’re a creator, you’ll also want to make sure to encourage your fans to turn on notifications for your IGTV series so they never miss out on new content!
To set up notifications, just click on the series title (or badge) and hit “Turn on IGTV Notifications” in the bottom right corner.
Creating different IGTV series is a great way to let viewers know exactly what they can expect from your IGTV. And to take full advantage of this trend, Jon recommends having a “repeatable theme and style that your audience can expect in every episode.”
When a visitor knows what they can expect from your channel each time you post, they are much more likely to hit that “follow” button and keep tuning in for more.
Understanding IGTV Insights
While IGTV’s insights isn’t as detailed as Instagram’s usual analytics offerings, there’s still lots to learn from your video’s performance.
First up, to access your IGTV Insights, tap the 3 dots at the bottom of your screen while your video is playing, then tap “View Insights”.
This will open a pop up that will outline your video’s Engagement, including Likes, Comments and Views.
Your Audience Retention stats is where you should focus your attention. A “view” on IGTV is counted for every time a person watched at least three seconds of your video. So while your views may be high, that doesn’t necessarily mean your viewers watched the whole video.
But the Audience Retention stats are unique to IGTV and they let you see how long you’ve kept your audience’s attention for. It’s a great tool for pinpointing the perfect video length for your audience.
Pay special attention to your Average Percentage Viewed rate. It’s calculated as the percentage of your video watched as an average of all plays. So it shows you a clearer picture of how much of your video was watched by all viewers, even if they skipped forward and only watched certain parts.
By tracking and measuring your IGTV video stats, you’ll be able to strategize and plan your videos better in the future. It could be a simple as finding that video length sweet spot or including an intro to your video to draw in your audience.
As IGTV is still relatively new on the scene, it’s a great time to be brave and experiment with your content to see what works and what doesn’t for your audience! If you need some inspiration, check out our blog post on brands that are killing it with the IGTV videos.
Frequently Asked Questions about IGTV, Instagram New Video App
Since IGTV is so new, you’re bound to have more questions! Here are some answers to the questions we could think of, but if you have more, just let us know in the comments!
What Video Types are Supported on IGTV?
IGTV supports 4k vertical and landscape videos that are at least 15 seconds long, and can run up to 60 minutes. If you’re wondering what size IGTV videos are, they’re a 16:9 aspect ratio (the same as Instagram Stories).
What constitutes a “view” on IGTV?
According to Instagram, a “view” on IGTV is the number of times people watched at least 3 seconds of your video.
How long can IGTV videos be?
Right now, IGTV videos can be up to 10 minutes long, and larger accounts can upload videos up to 1 hour long. In the future, Instagram has said that eventually there will be no time limits.
How do I watch videos on IGTV?
You can watch IGTV videos by clicking on the IGTV icon at the top of your feed in the Instagram app, or you can download the standalone IGTV app for iOS or Android.
You will also be able to watch videos from the “IGTV” icon on Instagram profiles.
Note: Instagram is slowly rolling out the update, so if you don’t have IGTV in your native app yet, try searching for the standalone app instead.
Can you have more than one IGTV Channel?
No, you can only have one IGTV channel per Instagram account. This is because, according to Instagram, “the creators are the channels.” If you follow a creator on IGTV, you will also be following them on Instagram, and vice versa!
We’ll be updating this post with more info about IGTV as the platform evolves and people start using the app more! But in the meantime – what do YOU want to know? Let us know in the comments!
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