What Is IGTV And Why Should You Care About It?
July 30, 2019 by Alexz Miller
Last Updated: June 26, 2020
You know YouTube, you’ve seen Snapchats, but, what is IGTV?
It’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the ever-growing demand for videos in the digital era.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 1.8 million words” –Forrester Research ‘How Video Will Take Over the World.’
This video trend is not lost on Instagram who is constantly adding new features and adjusting their algorithm to improve the user experience.
Despite the addition of IG Stories and LIVE, at its core, Instagram has always primarily been a platform to share photos with your followers.
With the introduction of their stand-alone app, IGTV, Instagram hopes to fully incorporate video into their evolving visual platform.
So here it is – you everything you want to, need to, and should know about IGTV to make the most of it!
- What is IGTV?
- How is IGTV different from other IG video features?
- How is IGTV different from YouTube?
- Will IGTV kill YouTube?
- How to grow audience on IGTV
- Content ideas for IGTV
- How Big Brands are using IGTV
- How influencers are using IGTV
- How to post content
- Why you should be on IGTV
- Can you make money using IGTV?
- The future of IGTV
What is IGTV?
When Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s now-former CEO, launched the IGTV app in June 2018, the term “What is IGTV” was searched about 40,500 times worldwide.
It’s safe to say the new app caught the attention of it users and left everyone wanting to know how it works.
So, let’s break it down!
IGTV is Instagram TV; an app from Instagram exclusively for portrait or vertical mobile videos.
The app is a stand-alone app. However, you can access it from the Instagram app as well.
“There are a multitude of ways to take already created content and turn it into IGTV. And with the notification on the top of your Instagram along with limited competition, it’s a solid place to start testing out content and finding new viewers.“ – Kate Talbot, Forbes
Unlike Instagram video posts that last just one minute, IGTV videos can be up to an hour long.
So, How Is IGTV Different From Other IG Video Features?
More recently, Instagram has launched two features for sharing your videos – Live and Stories
With Instagram LIVE you can connect with your followers by broadcasting a video in real time. The downside, however, is that these videos are raw and unedited.
On the other hand, Instagram Stories are great for sharing edited, more polished videos. But, similar to IG video posts, they come with a length restriction of 60 seconds.
IGTV solves both of these issues.
With IGTV, users can create, save, and edit longer videos to be shared later.
Also, unlike Stories and Live videos, which are inaccessible by your followers after 24-hours, videos shared on IGTV remain for as long you wish.
“As marketers or even business owners, it’s so important to implement a video-first strategy throughout your marketing efforts. IGTV is a great way to be creative and still use the videos you are producing for Facebook. Try to think of IGTV more as YouTube rather than an Instagram Story.” – Ashley Godfrey, ROI Online
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Well, How Is It Different From YouTube Then?
Though both IGTV and YouTube are video-sharing applications, they differ from each other in four aspects.
1. The Video Duration:
YouTube does not have time restrictions for their videos. As mentioned, the maximum time duration for IGTV videos is one hour long.
2. The Content:
As of now, IGTV has content that it is mainly created by users. Being the more senior platform, YouTube has expanded to movies, documentaries, and TV shows, in addition to user-generated videos.
3. The Video Orientation:
YouTube videos are formatted for the more conventional, horizontal orientation. IGTV is exclusively for vertical videos, thus making the app more ideal for mobile phone viewers.
4. The Audience:
Everyone has their own preferred social media platform for content consumption, sharing, and interacting with others. So, the audience will be different for both the apps.
Will IGTV Kill YouTube?
As of now, the question that is on everyone’s mind is whether IGTV will replace YouTube as the Number #1 video sharing platform.
While this debate may be too early to start, IGTV does seem to have the potential.
In fact, many YouTubers have already shown an interest in curating their content for IGTV.
“Influencers and creators are starting to flock towards IGTV now that it has passed those first months of test. I still believe that YouTube will be king for at least 2 years more if compared to IGTV but if Instagram finds a way to innovate then it could be the next big thing!” – Orlando González, MarkGrowth Blog
What seems to be in IGTV’s favor is the fact that the most popular YouTube videos last about 15 to 30 minutes. This means that YouTubers can now share their content directly on the IGTV app as well.
The only obstacle they may face is that these videos would have to be in portrait orientation and not the traditional landscape as seen on YouTube.
TIP: If you want to post your Youtube content on IGTV, but do not have the time or resources to shoot a video twice, use this loophole like @jasminestar. Give your horizontal videos borders on the top and bottom to fit the dimensions of IGTV.
While it is difficult to predict the future, one thing is for sure.
As IGTV adds more features, more users will definitely align with the app. It could mean some repercussions for YouTube.
At the moment, YouTube has an upper-hand with the variety and sheer volume of content it has. IGTV still has a long way to go in that respect.
However, we know Instagram has the potential to overthrow preexisting social platforms as we saw in the battle of IG Stories vs. Snapchat.
In terms of IGTV vs. YouTube, it will eventually all boil down to audience preference, ease of access, and most importantly the quality of content.
Many of the social media marketers we spoke to such as Jennifer Wilson of L.A. Social Karma see the potential in what IGTV has to offer but also acknowledge it has a long way to go to catch up to Youtube:
“YouTube has a strong hold on video content at the moment. The few times I have switched over to watch videos on IGTV usually businesses are promoting their brand almost like commercials which is very boring and I find the search features less than stellar making it harder to find and consume the content you are looking for.”
Here’s an infographic showing the key differences of both apps, along with some tips to grow your audience on IGTV:
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How To Grow Your Audience On IGTV?
1. Keywords Are The Key!
As of now, there is no general search option on IGTV, which experts agree is one of it’s biggest drawbacks.
“Without being able to search by keyword (like you would on YouTube) or hashtags, your content is not likely to be found by new audiences. If your goal is to use Instagram to build an audience then your focus should be on reaching new people and unfortunately IGTV isn’t really helping in that sense, yet.“ – Alex Tooby, alextooby.com
However, you can place keywords in the channel name (aka your Handle).
For instance, if you type ‘photography’, it will show up all channels with the word ‘‘photography’ in the titles.
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So, try to name your channel with the specific keyword you want your videos to show up when a user searches for a topic. Remember these are keywords your audience would actually search, so avoid technical phrases or industry jargon.
2. Create IGTV Exclusives!
Exclusivity is always a great draw. Why not use it to give your followers a VIP experience?
In order to make the exclusive, make sure your users cannot find this video on any of your other channels. Instead, use your other social profiles to spread the word and build excitement.
3. Utilize Instagram Features!
One of the main benefits of IGTV is that it has a native integration with Instagram. Create stories and posts to let your followers know when a new video is live!
Tip: You can now share a preview of your IGTV video directly on Instagram Stories! Just tap the paper airplane at the bottom of the video you want to share.
4. Use Other Social Platforms!
You can also share your IGTV channel on other social media platforms. Create a teaser clip of the actual video and share it on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Ask your followers to visit your IGTV channel for more!
5. Create Promotions!
Just because it is a new app doesn’t mean the traditional means of spreading the word won’t still work!
“Right now, if your brand is posting IGTV videos regularly, you likely need to cross-promote a lot in the more traditional ways on Insta, like making posts that promote your IGTV videos. A good way of doing that right now is through the functionality that allows accounts regardless of follower count to create swipe up links to IGTV videos in their stories.” – Paul Hickey, Data Driven Design
Write about your channel and what it is all about in a blog post. If you have an email list, share it via a newsletter. Place a banner at the bottom of your website. You get the idea, right?
Content Ideas For IGTV
Alright, so now you understand exactly what IGTV is! Let’s get to the important stuff: What type of content you should be promoting on IGTV.
An introduction video is a great place to start for your first IGTV post. They build a sense of brand identity and get your audience to connect with you on a more personal level.
You could talk about yourself, your channel, and what to expect for future posts. You can also invite other members of your teams to create their own introduction videos as well!
For example, if you’re a fashion brand, you could invite each of your models to do a short segment introducing themselves, discussing their interests, and their fashion inspiration.
TIP: Cut these types of videos down to 1-minute segments to add as a meet-the-team Instagram stories highlight in your Bio.
Tutorials & “How To’s”
Regardless of the platform, these types of “how to” videos are fast becoming the go-to sessions for most internet users.
The key to a good IGTV tutorial video is to make sure you are sharing useful information that people can’t easily find somewhere else.
You also need to make sure it is extremely relevant and in some way connected to your brands.
If you’re a health food blogger this may include recipes or cooking tips. However, if you’re a B2B software company your videos might be more focused around product demos.
Take @thedrybar for example! They utilize IGTV to show their products in actions while teaching their audience useful tips with this video on how to accomplish certain hairstyles.
Video Podcasts & Vlogs
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular formats for IGTV videos is podcasts style videos. These videos are generally centered around a specific topic and can be effective to get your point across to your viewers.
TIP: If you already have podcasts recorded and want to get them IGTV ready, team up with Folklore Creative to add animation to fit your audio!
People are always curious about the “how” behind the “what.”
Show what goes on at a photo shoot. Reveal new product designs that are in the works. Bring them along with you through a day in the office.
These may be ordinary occurrences, but with IGTV, you can create great videos that reveal the method behind the madness.
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@Ultabeauty gets real with a behind the scenes blooper reel while filming their commercials.
Including your audience in the ideation process is the key to creating content that they will actually be interested in.
So, why not ask them directly?
Use the Instagram stories “questions sticker” to generate ideas directly from your followers. Ask them for specific questions or topics they want to know more about.
Then you can create an IGTV video answering some of the questions they posed. You can even turn this into a weekly segment to keep your fans coming back for more!
Interviews with experts in your field or the people you work with can be highly engaging and informative IGTV content.
It can also give your brand a higher perceived credibility when you partner with industry leaders or well-known influencers.
Transfer Your LIVE Videos To IGTV As Well
If you host an Instagram LIVE that turns into a value-packed session, save the LIVE video and turn it into an IGTV episode as well.
You can even enhance the video by cutting out transitional segments, adding graphics, or including more video to further explain a topic.
How Big Brands Are Using IGTV
In the short time since it was launched, it has proven to be popular not just with regular users, but also companies across the world.
Popular brands such as Louis Vuitton, Nike, and the Food Network have started regularly posting IGTV videos that are attracting likes as well as followers.
Here are some brands who have taken to IGTV…
They re-released a hilarious, hour-long video of Cole Sprouse, the Series star, eating a burger on IGTV.
The video was well received and viewed by fans and was an instant hit!
The restaurant chain, Chipotle, creates exclusive IGTV videos to promote their brand.
One of their popular videos titled, “What’s for lunch,” shows a man taking out different items such as chips, burritos, etc., from the iconic the ‘Chipotle paper bag’.
With a nod to ‘Mary Poppins,’ the 1-minute long video creatively informs the viewer about the numerous food combinations at Chipotle.
Want to make a greater influence with IGTV? Increase your followers today!
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How Influencers Are Using It
Though a bit controversial, it’s most likely that IGTV was created with influencers and creators in mind specifically.
Influencer marketing is a huge draw in the digital medium.
A study by MuseFind, an influencer marketing platform, found that 92% millennials trust an influencer more than even the most renowned celebrity or traditional advertisements.
With IG takeovers, sponsored review posts, and direct collaborations, Instagram already had a strong hand in the influencer marketing space.
Now, by adding long-form videos, Instagram has added an entirely new medium for creators to connect with their audience.
More and more influencers are creating diverse content on IGTV by either producing exclusive videos or by repurposing their earlier videos to suit the platform.
“When it comes to branded video content, IGTV will likely surpass YouTube’s popularity. We’re already seeing this happen with celebrity and influencer content. The feature is easy to use and embedded in what is already the most popular social platform.” -Tallie Gabriel, Contently
Here is how two popular Instagram influencers are using IGTV to theirs as well as their users’ advantage:
1. Zolee Griggs:
A Gen Z influencer, Zolee Griggs runs an empowering and motivating initiative called Grl2women. Her vlog style videos address issues that young girls face on a daily basis.
Her first IGTV video titled ‘My Journey’ was an instant hit.
The vertical orientation of IGTV is perfect for influencers like Zolee who can create informative and inspiring content that resonate with her predominately mobile viewers.
2. Lele Pons:
A popular Instagram creator with over 28 million followers, Lele Pons, uses IGTV for her video series, “What’s Cooking.”
Lele puts a fun spin of the traditional cooking show by inviting fellow amateur cooks and friends to face off in a cooking battle.
With the added comedy, music, and skits, these videos seem to be a huge success, reaching more than one million views per video.
How To Post Your Content On The Platform
You can watch videos on IGTV from your Instagram account, but to post your IGTV videos, you will have to download the standalone IGTV app either from the Instagram Web App or from your mobile app store.
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How To Format Videos For IGTV:
- The duration of your video can be from 15 seconds to an hour long.
- The size of the video should be 650 MB if it’s less than 10 minutes long. For the hour-long videos, the size can be 3.6 GB.
- Ensure that the aspect ratio of your video is 4:5 (minimum) and 9:16 (maximum).
How To Upload Videos Onto IGTV:
- Go to your Instagram account. Tap on the settings icon in the top-right corner and select ‘Create Channel’.
- Click on your avatar on the main screen.
- Tap the ‘+’ icon located on the top-right corner of your screen.
- Upload your vertical video from your camera roll. The video has to be in MP4 format.
- Add a title and description of your video. Use the right keywords to capture the essence of your content.
- You can also add links to your video. It could be to your other social media pages or your website or any other sites outside Instagram.
- Add a cover photo which could be a thumbnail image from your video or a vertical image. The format of the image has to be in .JPG. This cover photo will show up on your page to make it interesting and attention-worthy.
- Tap ‘Post’ and your video is published.
Don’t worry about perfecting your first video, get comfortable with the format and uploading process first.
“If you’re just starting out, shoot with your phone and then use a video editor to cut together a quick edit. It doesn’t have to be perfect - think of a simple concept for your content and then make a quick script. Your first IGTV video could be filmed and edited in under 2 hours, which is pretty sweet!” – Trevor Holmes, Wistia
Why You Should Be On IGTV
Whether you are a new or established company, artist or blogger, dancer or designer, if you are a video creator, you should be on IGTV.
If you still need a little convincing, here are some reasons you should look at:
As several studies have pointed out, TV is fast losing its numero uno position as the most preferred marketing channel.
On the other hand, the same study found that digital ad spending has increased to 18.7% and has reached $107.30 billion.
This means, TV is losing its charm for advertisers and online medium stands to gain.
“Social platforms continue to push in the mobile TV space with vertical, long-form (for social media, anyway) original content. Since IGTV launched, Snapchat recently released Snap Originals, partnering with Viacom and other media companies to house scripted shows on its platform. You’ll continue to see this as social looks to steal more share of ad dollars from TV.” – Stephen Mariani, SOCIALDEVIANT
Now, consider the statistics from Ooyala, an online platform providing video hosting and analytics services. Ooyala’s Q1 2018 Global Video Index Report finds that 58% of video views globally happen on mobile devices. It has also found that there is a growing interest in long-form videos.
IGTV is exclusively targeting mobile users with its vertical videos. Connect the two dots and you will realize why IGTV is where you should be.
There is a huge rise in the amount of user-generated content being shared with a specific emphasis on video.
According to Instagram, 78% of mobile data traffic will be mobile videos by the year 2021.
Whether it be a marketing expert sharing advice on branding or a craft enthusiast sharing her knowledge of DIY sewing projects – relatable, quality videos are in high demand.
IGTV has opened a new avenue for these content creators to share their videos and find a community with similar interest.
With a native integration to Instagram, IGTV is the easiest way for brands, influencers, and consumers to connect with each other through video content.
Before the launch of IGTV, these creators would share their videos on YouTube and use Instagram to promote the content among their followers. This caused the issue of trying to convince your traffic to switch to an entirely different app.
Now IGTV allows for a more streamlined approach for creators.
“While Instagram users have been slow to start using IGTV, I think it’s only a matter of time before it takes off and becomes an influencer-heavy platform. What makes it so powerful is that it draws from the billions of users already on Instagram, so it’s advantageous for brands to begin fitting IGTV into their marketing strategies now.
We all saw how quickly platforms like YouTube took off with Creators. Early adopters will reap the benefits as more Instagrammers mix the video platform into their usual social media circle.” -Kyna Garrett, Strike Social
Users can now post their IGTV video and promote the content via stories and posts on the same platform.
Consider the length of the videos paired with the option of recording videos on your mobile.
Currently, YouTube may have more users, but now that the duration of the video for IGTV is increased, they can focus on giving in-depth, more informative content to their followers who watch it on their on mobile phones.
Thus, IGTV is a win-win situation for both marketers and consumers.
Can You Make Money Using IGTV?
As of now, IGTV does not provide a provision to make money using the IGTV platform, however in 2020 this is sure to change.
Instagram has made it clear that they are committed to helping the IGTV creators make a living through their IGTV videos.
“It has a lot of potential for extra reach for your brand as well. IGTV videos are now getting featured in the explore feed!” – Dhariana Lozano, DhariLo
So, what should you be doing in the meantime?
Jump on the IGTV bandwagon! Whether you’re a brand or influencer you should start working your own channel and build a strong audience base specifically around IGTV.
That way, when Instagram starts promoting ways to monetize IGTV, you’ll be ready to reap the benefits.
Consider some of the features Instagram has already implemented into their platform, like shoppable posts and stories, as well as the swipe-up feature to link to your website.
These additions make it clear that Instagram is committed to helping e-commerce brands and online businesses monetize their marketing efforts on Instagram.
Those who have a strong presence and large following will see a rapid increase in their revenue when these types of features are added to the IGTV platform.
Facebook Has Some Serious Plans To Monetize IGTV
While there are no advertisements on IGTV yet, Instagram started testing stages and it’s just a matter of time before they follow the same technique as its sister company, Facebook. In fact, we wrote a whole blog on the future of IGTV monetization and how it can help your marketing strategy, check it out!
No social media platform can function without ads and that’s why experts predict ads to be a big part of IGTV pretty soon.
Influencers stand to benefit the most as businesses will be keen to advertise on channels with pre-established audiences and high engagement rates.
As ads become a part of IGTV, both content creators and businesses can find a sharp rise in their income.
“With all of Facebook’s money, it [IGTV] could pay expert video production talent to mentor social media stars on how to create polished multi-minute clips. And once it has solid content to show off, it could start injecting it into the feed and Stories queue to get more users hooked.”– Josh Constine, Tech Crunch
That day is yet to come, you just need to be ready is to jump at the opportunity when it pops up.
So keep creating informative and engaging videos for IGTV.
You don’t want to still be asking what it is once this platform takes off!
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The Future of IGTV
It has been only a few years since its launch and its’ already creating excitement.
- Popular brands have started creating exclusive videos on IGTV that are garnering thousands of likes and comments.
- Influencers are beginning to use IGTV as another outlet for collaborations.
- Mobile phones are becoming the preferred device for entertainment and work, making the video platform highly desirable.
IGTV feature updates in 2019
- IGTV’s preview viewing- In February of 2019, Instagram allowed the first minute of an IGTV video to be posted on the feed as a regular Instagram post, which then prompted the viewers to “keep watching” and increased IGTV views exponentially.
- IGTV’s launch of landscape video- while this may not seem like a big deal, allowing creators to publish IGTV video previews to the News Feed with landscape video options means one very big thing: more video views!
- Creation of branded content ads- the ‘paid partnership with’ tags allowed for a seamless and transparent way for marketers to access the IGTV channel.
IGTV feature updates in 2020
- With the new year came the ability to share live videos to IGTV after they’re done recording,
- You also may have noticed that the IGTV button is no longer on the top of the homepage, this is because Instagram moved it and it can now be discovered either in the explore page or on the IGTV standalone app.
- The last feature upgrade we have already touched upon but can’t emphasize enough its importance to marketing on Instagram- IGTV monetization!
All of it points to one thing – the future of IGTV is going to be exciting.
“We have seen huge success with short-form video content also known as stories. I believe IGTV is a logical next step to create long-form content but will take some time for people to get used to it.” – Alex Khan, AlexKhan.tv, #1 European social media coach
Most social media experts agree that IGTV is a game-changer.
But don’t take our word for it!
Hear What Some Of The Experts Are Saying About It:
“Savvy social media marketers should take the opportunity now to learn the ins and outs of IGTV, because there’s a good chance that moving forward, brands will be showcasing their products, services and company culture through newer, more creative means such as IGTV.” –Amy Lecza, G2 Crowd
“With a built-in audience nearly as large as YouTube, IGTV will certainly be hard to ignore.” –Shannon Tien, Hootsuite
“The data shows that the entire world’s attention is on Instagram all the time, and if Insta wants IGTV to work, it will work. So your business needs to be creating content for IGTV starting yesterday.” – Paul Hickey, Data Driven Design
“If you’ve already found that Instagram is where the majority of your target market spends their time, then IGTV bridges a gap that’s been there for years.”–Nick Brucker, Founder, Sparq Designs
“For Brands which are catered to millennials, riding early waves [on IGTV] will help them a ton, if done right”. –Harsh Agrawal, ShoutMeLoud
“IGTV is a great way for influencers to create content for their audience that is engaging and interactive, and their followers are really loving it. We are seeing IGTV as a popular choice for brands and influencers and it’s fast becoming a go-to deliverable in the influencer marketing campaigns we run.” – Teagan West, Marketing Manager at Scrunch
“IGTV is the first real potential competitor to Youtube that we’ve seen in a long time. The possibilities of discovery for a brand on Instagram are endless.” –Elizabeth Coffman, Riotly Social
“With the growing usage of mobile and social platforms like Instagram, I expect we’ll see services such as IGTV gaining more and more momentum. Smart brands should start making content that’s entertaining and educational for potential viewers and customers.”– Jonathan Hafichuk, Symbolsyn
“I see a bright future for IGTV, the vertical view of the content makes making videos super easy, and the professional compression plays the videos at a high quality. I believe IGTV is the future playground of storytellers to engage their audience.” – Pj Taei, Uscreen
Are you on IGTV yet? What are your waiting for?
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