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What is IGTV?
Instagram is constantly coming out with new features to enhance the platform’s offerings and compete with other social networks available to users.
Everybody knows what YouTube is, Facebook, Snapchat, and all that, but what really is the purpose of IGTV?
With so many platforms that are based around video content, it’s definitely no shock that many of the new features Instagram is launching focuses on video.
Video gets better engagement and is more captivating for users than static photos.
Instagram is well aware of this, and for that reason are consistently fortifying their platform with video additions so that it can stay competitive and relevant in the current market.
They always adjust their algorithm and attempt to improve the user experience at all times.
Although Instagram stories and Instagram Live are now pretty old releases, Instagram wasn’t always a place to share videos. In fact, it started as a place where you could only share videos.
And even with expansions, there really wasn’t a place to post longer videos. That has changed, and Instagram TV, IGTV, is filling in a lot of those gaps.
IGTV has a completely standalone app apart from Instagram, clearly showing that Instagram is ready to take video to the next step and launch the platform to even more success through their visual platform.
If you haven’t really started to take advantage of IGTV, now is the time to start. What is IGTV? We’re bringing you all the details so that you can start to integrate IGTV into your content strategy on IG! Let’s do it.
What is IGTV?
Instagram launched IGTV in 2018 when Kevin Systrom was its then-sitting CEO, and as it launched, “What is IGTV?” appeared in searches almost 41,000 times around the globe.
The new app was definitely in the public eye and everyone was eager to understand just what Instagram had up its sleeve. Let’s take a look at what IGTV really is.
Instagram TV, IGTV, is an app that was made to share portrait or vertical mobile videos exclusively. The app is standalone, but it can also be accessed from within the Instagram app if you prefer.
Instagram video posts in the normal IG feed can only be up to one minute long.
Instagram TV broke that limit and now offers videos that can be up to 15 minutes long, or perhaps longer, which we’ll discuss later.
How is IGTV Different from Other IG Video Features?
Instagram first released Instagram stories, and then Instagram Live, which helped to gain more traction for the platform in terms of video sharing.
Instagram Live allows users to connect with their followers and other viewers through livestream video that is broadcasted in real time.
This is excellent for connecting with users on Instagram, but it’s limited in the sense that it’s raw, unfiltered, and unedited video.
Instagram stories, alternatively, gives users the opportunity to create edited and enhanced videos that end up being quite polished.
Here, unfortunately, is the length restriction. Videos can’t be very long and if they’re longer than 15 seconds, Instagram stories will break them up into a variety of pieces.
IGTV has taken both of these limitations and fused them for a very useful tool that is available to content creators.
Instagram TV videos can be created, saved, and edited for posting with a time limit of up to 15 minutes; if you have a large following and/or are verified, you may even get up to an hour.
Videos shared on IGTV will remain posted, which is also different from both stories and IG live posts; they both disappear after 24 hours in the feed.
How is IGTV Different from YouTube?
Considering that IGTV is a unique feature on Instagram, how does it size up to YouTube? YouTube is one of the biggest worldwide for sharing videos, and IGTV differs in four key ways.
1. Video Duration
YouTube won’t allow everyday users to upload videos that are longer than 15 minutes, which is the same as IGTV.
If you have the opportunity to create longer videos, however, there will be no time limit for the video.
IGTV videos cap out at 1 hour, so no content creator will be able to create videos longer than that.
IGTV is primarily sustained by Instagram users that upload content which somehow enhances their brand.
As YouTube has had over 10 years to expand their platform and video sharing, YouTube now offers movies, documentaries, and TV shows, making it more expansive than IGTV.
YouTube’s paid subscription, YouTube Premium, with 30 million subscribers, offers some of these special types of video content as plan-included content.
3. Video Orientation
Videos on YouTube are formatted and optimized to be viewed in a horizontal orientation; even when you maintain your cellphone in a vertical position, the video will stay in the horizontal format.
IGTV, on the other hand, is made exclusively for vertical video content, which is actually better for mobile users, especially if they don’t want to turn their phones.
While there are billions of users across both platforms on a monthly basis, each person has their own preference in terms of social media networks, sharing content, and interacting with other users.
The audience, therefore, is a bit distinguished for each app. Neither will have exactly the same audience depending on the niche and types of content.
Some people prefer to use YouTube, whereas others may prefer IGTV. It all comes down to how they use each platform.
Will IGTV Kill YouTube?
Since IGTV was released and is most notably similar to YouTube’s premise, people are now wondering if IGTV will replace YouTube as the top video sharing platform.
YouTube is the #1 social media network worldwide, with over 2 billion monthly active users, and you don’t even need to have a profile to use the platform, so it may even be more.
If we were to guess, YouTube isn’t going to be overthrown by IGTV.
That said, IGTV is still a huge force on Instagram and what will likely happen is that YouTubers and IG influencers alike will be able to use cross-platform content sharing to have a larger following on both networks.
Both platforms have the capability to upload videos of 15 minutes, and if the average YouTube video is roughly 15 minutes, that content can now be shared on IGTV and vice versa.
This was impossible previously with the regular Instagram video posts.
The only challenge here is that IGTV has a portrait orientation and YouTube has a landscape one.
This can be overcome if you add borders to your horizontal videos at the top and bottom to accommodate the IGTV video dimensions.
After all, do you really have time to reshoot a video twice for two different dimensions?
In any case, Instagram TV is here to stay and so is YouTube, so it’s likely they will find a way to complement one another at the very least.
As Instagram continues to enhance the features of IGTV, more and more Instagrammers will be creating content for the standalone app, which may very well detract a bit from YouTube’s audience.
Currently, though, YouTube isn’t going anywhere— it’s got an unsurpassable amount of content and tons of users that have supported it for years, which are two main reasons why it isn’t likely to meet its demise anytime soon.
Instagram has been able to do it in the past as we saw with Snapchat, so who knows what the future holds— anything is possible.
IGTV vs. YouTube comes down to these factors: audience preference, content quality, and availability, and ease of access.
How to Grow Your Audience on IGTV
If you’re looking to expand your content creation on Instagram and are wondering about ways to grow your audience on IGTV, you’re in luck.
We’re bringing you the top 5 ways to build your IGTV following and have yet another strong type of content on Instagram.
1. Keywords are Key
When IGTV first launched, there was no general search option available. It was one of the biggest elements criticized by experts, and since then Instagram has implemented the feature to where you can search by either accounts, or tags.
That means that the use of keywords on IGTV is very important and it can help you to be found by users looking through IGTV content on the app.
You can use these keywords in your hashtags as well as in your username so that when users search for content, yours pops up.
Consider the most relevant keywords that your users may be using. This is a type of SEO that you can do for your IGTV.
2. Create IGTV Exclusives
A great way to nicely force people to view your IGTV content is to offer something unique that they can’t get anywhere else on your Instagram profile.
That makes users feel like they’re accessing something exclusive and VIP.
Make sure that the exclusive content you share on IGTV isn’t available on Instagram nor any other social platform that you share content on.
Your goal is to build up hype and anticipation for the content on your IGTV.
Use your other social channels to promote your IGTV-exclusive content and to direct people over to your profile.
That will generate interest and get them excited about all aspects of your Instagram content, not just in-feed posts.
3. Create Promotions
Promotions are always a viable way to hype up your social media endeavors, so you should definitely do this even on your external websites.
You can create contests or special promotions for people using a code word and then have them respond to you with the code word for a chance to enter the contest.
4. Use all Instagram Features
IGTV offers an integration with Instagram itself, which is one of the best features of the app.
You’re able to create posts and stories letting your followers know your IGTV is live; you can even link to it in your stories with the swipe up feature on Instagram.
The swipe up feature for external links is only available to professional accounts with 10k+ followers or verified/celeb accounts, but if you have a linked IGTV to your Instagram account, you can link in your story and use the feature that way, regardless of how many followers you have.
You could also share a preview of the IGTV video directly in your Instagram story.
5. Cross-Platform Presence
Last but not least, you should use all available platforms to promote your IGTV content if you really want it to take off.
Share about it on Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, in your blog, and whatever other outlets you may have so that people know you’re actively posting IGTV content that they may be interested in.
Content Ideas for IGTV
Now that we have a solid understanding of what IGTV is and how you can get people noticing you, we’re going to get into the meat and potatoes of it— what type of content you should create for IGTV.
Content creation is the recipe for success on any social media network, and IGTV is no exception.
If you’re just getting started on IGTV, an introduction video is a great way to break the ice and give people a taste of your brand identity and personality.
This will help people relate to you and start to build a connection.
Discuss things like your channel, yourself, what you do, and what type of content they can expect to see when they tune in.
If you work with others, you can invite them to create intro videos as well for even more content.
Let’s consider a hypothetical. Imagine that you’re a group fitness program that works with private sessions and training events.
You can create intro videos for all of the trainers and discuss their interests, specialties, and their passion for fitness.
Bonus tip: Keep these videos short (around 1 minute) and upload each of them to your IG stories so that you can later post them in an Instagram story highlight album.
How-To Videos and Tutorials
An ever-popular content type for IGTV, how-tos and tutorials are the most common content type available on IGTV.
If you’re shooting an IGTV tutorial video, ensure that you’re sharing valuable information that isn’t readily available in an accessible way somewhere else; you can also include your personal flavor so that people are stoked about watching your content and learning from you or your brand in particular.
For example, some common how-tos across different niches include makeup tutorials, cooking tutorials, crafts and DIY tutorials, and more.
You can also use this to do product demos or record examples of how your services work.
If you want some inspiration, check out @fentybeauty, @coast_to_coast_artist, or @buzzfeedtasty.
These are just a few examples, but there are plenty of users out there rocking how-tos and tutorials.
Behind the Scenes (BTS)
People love to get a look at how things run and what goes on behind the camera, so BTS stories are usually well received.
No matter what your niche, you can give people a look at how things work and what you or your business does on a regular basis.
Go BTS at an event, show your followers backstage of a fashion show or music show, reveal new products or the process during which some of your products are made or assembled.
Think about what people don’t normally see, and then show them.
While we think of these types of situations as something normal and even perhaps tedious, people don’t know what you really go through on a daily basis and this type of content will come as a welcome addition to your content.
Video Podcasts and Vlogs
With the nature of IGTV and its content, there’s no surprise that one of the most popular content formats is video podcasts and vlogs.
It allows users to talk about certain things and also share their perspectives with their viewers.
If you already have a podcast that you regularly record, consider taking a look at Folklore Creative to add animation that fits your audio.
This can help your IGTV gain exposure and your podcast as well.
With the longer video format available for IGTV, it’s possible that you bring on experts in your field or within your company and discuss topics related to your brand, business, or anything else that may be valuable for your followers and audience.
What’s more, when you work with experts and knowledgeable people to share insight, you gain a higher reputation and more authority in your field.
Another incredibly common and popular format for IGTV content is Q&A sessions.
When you include your audience through questions they’ve provided and inquiries they’ve made, you give them all the more reason to check out your content.
So how do you ask them directly?
You can use Instagram stories to get input for your IGTV content; use the questions sticker and your followers/viewers will submit the questions they’d most like answered.
Make sure that your prompt is clear; if you say “ask me anything!” it might be hard to create a cohesive IGTV about those questions.
Even better, do this on a weekly basis and create a weekly segment so that your followers are aware of this content and keep an eye out for it every week!
Transfer your LIVE Videos to IGTV
As we’ve mentioned, it’s important to use all the features on Instagram for a well-rounded platform that has optimal views, followers, and engagement.
When you hold an Instagram live broadcast, you can save the live video and then upload it to IGTV.
You can edit it to your liking, keep only the most valuable sections, add filters, graphics, or video-enhancing icons, and even text layovers to help the video be understood even better.
Even popular brands like Nike, the Food Network, and Louis Vuitton have converted their IG lives into thriving IGTV content, so why not do the same?
Let’s take a look at some other brands and influencers that stan IGTV these days.
How Big Brands Use IGTV
IGTV has become very popular among many famous brands as well.
While these aren’t the only ones using it (of course), we’ve highlighted three brands and three influencers that have taken IGTV and used it as a force in their content strategy.
L’oréal Paris is one brand that has done a lot of great work on IGTV and can be used as inspiration if you’re looking for effective content to post.
They also have a very effective Instagram bio, so take note.
They use a branded hashtag called #LOrealParisFamily to encourage users to post their content featuring the product.
Excellent way to get user-generated content!
In the way of IGTV, @lorealparis has used it to show what initiatives they’re taking to protect the planet, discussing their products with celebs like Eva Longoria, amping up their “Because You’re Worth It” celebration, and much more!
What we can learn here is that the key to a good IGTV content strategy is to provide a wide range of content formats and develop them in a way that provides value to your followers and shows what your brand/business stands for.
With 9.3 million Instagram followers, we’d say L’oréal Paris is doing pretty well!
@AMCtheatres is also using IGTV to their advantage. While both of these brands are quite different, we included them on purpose— no matter what your niche, you can make IGTV work for you.
AMC Theatres focuses on sharing exclusive interviews with stars as well as trailer promos to showcase films that are soon to be released. They are only using two primary formats, but this works perfectly for their brand.
The world of film and movie stars is somewhat exclusive, so placing exclusive interviews with stars who have movies releasing or soon to be released is a perfect way to generate interest in their content and get people coming back to see what new stuff they’ve got available on IGTV.
Another great example of a big brand using IGTV is @sephora. Sephora has great brand-centered content on Instagram that provides a cohesive and visually pleasing aesthetic for their followers, and their IGTV is no different.
They use a mixture of different types of content; for instance, they did a feature on fragrance to help explain the difference between eau de toilette, Eau de parfum, and eau de cologne.
This is valuable to their audience— people want to know which type of fragrance they prefer to buy and can even lead to more sales based on the featured fragrances.
They also tell stories of people in the community as a part of their We Belong to Something Beautiful series, and do plenty of interviews and tutorials with experts and everyday users alike.
With such varied content, it’s hard not to find something to love on Sephora’s IGTV!
How Influencers Use IGTV
Big brands and businesses aren’t the only ones using IGTV; in fact, since Instagram influencers are all about content production, it could be argued that they’re using it even more.
Here are 3 influencers that have wasted no time in expanding their IGTV for all to see.
Emily Skye is a huge fitness influencer that has been around for ages. She’s always creating content that is engaging and very authentic, so she’s a great example if you’re looking for inspiration.
She’s also been a good example of how to evolve with the platform; she’s been doing fitness content for a long time but has left no stone unturned in creating well-rounded content for her Instagram.
On her IGTV, she provides in-depth fitness videos including challenges, tips, tutorials, and inspiring content.
Take a look and see what you could learn and apply to your own IGTV content.
Matt Kepnes is a travel influencer that has written books and guides on how to travel within your budget and see the world even if you’re not a millionaire.
He uses not only Instagram but also has a blog, weekly newsletters, writing classes, and more.
On IGTV, Matt has given us the perfect example of how to take your IG Live content and put it onto your IGTV for later viewing.
All of his IGTV content is taken from his Instagram live, so take a page from his playbook and get showing your live content on IGTV.
It’s a good idea to include other types of content as well, but if you’re wondering how to create valuable IG lives that can be then put up on IGTV, check out @nomadicmatt.
A very popular influencer with all sorts of content and business endeavors, Liane V is a pro when it comes to content creation.
She’s used IGTV to show off many different things, from hair tutorials to the launch of her new music video, to a spotlight on her favorite dancer and more.
She’s also used IGTV to share some of her artwork as well as a video that describes systemic racism.
If you’re wondering how you can truly share your personality and your image with IGTV, Liane V is a great example.
How to Post Your IGTV Content on Instagram
You’re able to watch IGTV videos directly from the Instagram app, but if you want to upload your own videos, you must download the standalone IGTV app from your mobile app store or from the Instagram Web App.
How to Format Videos for IGTV
Here are some tips about video formats for IGTV:
- Video duration can be 1 min to an hour; not all users have an hour though. If you are an everyday user without verification or a large fan base, you’re likely to cap out at 15 minutes max.
- Video size should be 650MB if it’s under ten minutes. If the video is up to an hour, it can be 3.6GB.
- The aspect ratio for your IGTV videos needs to be 4:5 (minimum) and 9:16 (maximum). For best results, use 9:16.
How to Upload Videos Onto IGTV
Here are some instructions on how to upload videos to IGTV:
- Open the IGTV app and you’ll land on the home page. In the top right corner, there is a + button. Tap that.
- You’ll be able to record and post directly from within the app using the IGTV Hands-free feature; it will tell you that the video must be over 1 minute. If you want to select a pre-recorded video, tap the photo icon in the bottom left corner.
- Give IGTV access to your videos and then choose the one that you want to upload. You’ll see all of your videos, but any videos under 1 minute will be grayed out because they cannot be uploaded. Your video must be at least 1 minute.
- Choose your video and it will appear on the next screen; click the arrow button in the bottom right corner to proceed.
- Choose your cover image on the next screen or add one from your camera roll.
- You’ll then be asked to put in a video title and description; you can also add it to a series. If you’ve never created a series before, you can do it right from within that screen.
- Other things you should choose is whether or not you want to post a preview in your feed and profile; you can then edit that preview and profile cover. You can share to other social networks as well, such as Facebook.
- When you feel ready, you can then hit Post to IGTV, and if you’re not ready, you can hit Save as Draft instead to come back to it later.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but don’t worry if your first video isn’t perfect. Just start getting used to how IGTV works and what you can do with the feature. After that, you can start honing in on top-quality content that’s more creative.
Why You Should be on IGTV
With 6 solid examples of how to create your IGTV content and how to combine a variety of content formats, we’re sure you’re probably convinced that IGTV should play a role in your content creation on Instagram.
If you still have doubts, we’ve got a couple more things to share about why you shouldn’t miss out on IGTV.
It can be daunting to get started and create video content for something new, especially if you don’t have much experience, but if you’re serious about your Instagram performance, it’s time to get your feet wet!
Video is becoming more and more popular due to the fact that video content gets more engagement. It’s the best-performing digital content type and it’s increasingly in demand.
Instagram has stated that 78% of mobile data traffic will be mobile videos by the year 2021.
Well here we are, and video is more popular than ever. Regardless of your niche, regardless of your video format, and regardless of what information is being shared, there is someone out there who wants to view it and videos will capture their attention.
With IGTV, you now have so many more possibilities for including high-quality video content on your Instagram account, something that simply wasn’t possible before it was launched.
IGTV is a win-win for both consumers and marketers alike. Consider the fact that you can record videos for IGTV directly from your device, the fact that you have a solid amount of time for video length, and the seamless integration with your Instagram account.
YouTube certainly has more users currently, but since IGTV is just getting started, it will be interesting to see how Instagram continues to expand its features and give YouTube a run for its money.
IGTV is without a doubt the easiest way for brands, businesses, influencers, creators, and consumers to connect through video content.
There is a seamless integration between IGTV and Instagram, making it easier than ever to see the videos you want directly from your favorite platform.
YouTube was the only option for these creators to share video content and then promote it on Instagram.
Now that IGTV exists, it’s much easier for creators to get their videos on their Instagram and not have to exit to a completely separate platform.
You can promote your videos via IG stories, post your IGTV videos to your feed, upload your lives to your IGTV— everything flows and connects.
It is a great opportunity for creators and consumers to do everything in one place.
There are plenty of studies about the validity of IGTV and what trends are surfacing. TV itself has been the top media for marketing since it was invented, basically, but it’s begun to slowly drop.
TV ads were still the #1 type of advertisement in 2015 on a global scale, but since then, digital advertising such as social media and content marketing have surpassed it, accounting for 44.5% of all global advertising, which is huge.
While TV still comes in second, it’s clear that for marketing, digital media is the place to be.
With billions of people on social media, it’s almost impossible to deny that there is a huge impact to be made on digital platforms and so many people in your target audience to reach.
Even further, based on statistics from Marketing Dive, 60% of video views worldwide happened on mobile devices, and that was in 2017.
It’s likely only gone up from there with it increasing year over year.
Since IGTV is only used on mobile and has a mobile-friendly format offering vertical video views, IGTV has a lot of power in the coming years to become something spectacular for marketing.
Can You Make Money on IGTV?
IGTV doesn’t have a built-in monetization segment on its platform that’s available for all users yet, but they’re currently in the process of rolling out IGTV ads, which will help their users generate income from their content creation.
Via the Instagram blog, these IGTV ads are based on a revenue share model and it’s slowly been expanding to more users since 2020.
The video ads are made for mobile and can be up to 15 seconds long.
Instagram hasn’t released too much information about it yet, but it’s likely to roll out soon.
In the meantime, you can still use IGTV to further your profit from Instagram in general, and if you’re an influencer, you can work with IGTV content in your brand partnerships.
Use IGTV stories to expand your content and get more eyes on your Instagram profile; if you can hook regular viewers onto your IGTV, it’s likely you can also increase lead generation and conversion as well.
The Future of IGTV
As with all features of Instagram, they’re constantly evolving, and IGTV will continue to do the same.
Big name brands and influencers have begun to use IGTV for their content creation, generating thousands of views and engagements, and mobile phones are the preferred method for viewing videos globally.
Let’s see where IGTV has improved in recent years and what’s happening with it these days.
IGTV Feature Updates in 2019
- IGTV preview viewing— in February of 2019, the first minute of IGTV video was posted to the feed as a regular IG post. They offered the keep watching button and IGTV views increased in a big way.
- IGTV landscape video— uses could publish IGTV video previews with landscape video options expanded the possibility for bringing in more views.
- Creation of branded content ads— the paid partnership with tag was launched, allowing marketers to access the IGTV channel and disclose their ads transparently.
IGTV Feature Updates in 2020
- Live to IGTV— it became possible to take your IG Live videos and share them to IGTV after the broadcast.
- IGTV button— the IGTV button is no longer on the homepage. You can now view IGTV content from directly within a user’s profile, coming across it in your feed, or via the standalone app.
- IGTV ads— Instagram began testing for IGTV monetization with select users in the US.
IGTV Feature Updates in 2021
- Instagram continues to roll out their IGTV ads monetization program with more info hopefully coming soon
- IGTV videos can be shown with a 60 second preview in your newsfeed and a 15 second preview via IG stories
We’re interested to see what else Instagram has in store for IGTV and how they continue to make it a key part of the platform! It’s not going anywhere anytime soon, that’s for sure.
Final Thoughts: What Is IGTV?
Ready to get your longer videos out to the Instagram world?
We hope so! Check out all of the content types and go through IGTV and just look for them.
Get some inspiration, create some mood boards to help you get a vision, and get experimenting with your IGTV video content creation.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have a full, well-rounded Instagram content strategy that brings in more Instagram followers and boosts your engagement.
Give your followers something of value, something to come back for, and they’ll surely be hooked on your IGTV.
Do you use IGTV? What is your favorite type of content format? Let us know in the comments!