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What is IGTV? A marketer’s guide to Instagram TV

Social media and video are like the king and queen of modern marketing. And, like any power couple, they’re stronger together. 

Posting videos on your social channels can increase engagement and generate a buzz around your brand – because people love video! According to our recent survey, people are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other type of content. 

When it comes to top social media sites, Instagram is one of the first names to spring to mind. Instagram is currently ranked as the 6th most visited site in the world! And it’s one of the most visual social media platforms out there – making it a great partner for video content. 

There are a couple of different ways you can share videos on Instagram. One of the latest features, and one that is snowballing in popularity, is IGTV. 

In this article we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know about IGTV, to see what it can offer you as a marketer and how you can use it to boost your social media engagement. 

What is IGTV? (A brief history)

IGTV was released in June 2018 as a way for users to share longer videos. The mobile version of the app allows users to upload videos of up to 15 minutes in length, and desktop users can upload videos up to an hour long! 

This was a substantial change for the platform as, at the time, it only supported in-feed videos that could be a maximum of 60 seconds. 

However, IGTV struggled to get off the ground; so Instagram made some further changes.

In October 2018, Instagram started suggesting IGTV videos in the Explore tab, which has an incredible 200 million visitors every day:

In February 2019, the platform started suggesting IGTV videos in the main-feed, giving people the opportunity to watch short previews of videos before heading over to IGTV to watch the full thing:

Source: instagram.com/taytay_xx

Then, in May 2019, a big change arrived. For the first time ever, Instagram started supporting horizontal videos in addition to vertical. This gave creators on the platform more freedom and really boosted IGTV’s popularity: 

Source: instagram.com/kaleycuoco

So where are we now?

According to our 2020 State of Video Marketing survey, video marketers are aware of IGTV, and 28% plan on using IGTV in their 2020 video marketing strategy

How to post an IGTV video

There are three different ways to upload a video to IGTV. 

Regular upload

If you try to upload a video to Instagram that is longer than one minute, you will automatically be asked whether you want to upload it to IGTV:

Select ‘Long Video’ and then press the continue button to be taken to the next step where you will be asked to select a thumbnail for your video. You’ll be able to do this by selecting a frame from the video or by uploading a pre-prepared thumbnail image from your gallery: 

Then you’ll be asked to give your video a title, and an optional description. You can also select whether to post a preview to your main feed (we would recommend doing this as it will give your video more exposure):

Then all you need to do is hit post! 

Posting through IGTV

You can also post a video to IGTV by clicking on the plus button in the top right-hand corner whenever you are browsing IGTV: 

The steps are then the same as we’ve shown above.

Posting with the IGTV app

Lastly, you can post videos through the IGTV app. Just download the app to your device and open it (you will be logged in with the Instagram account that is linked to your device): 

The layout is slightly different to your regular Instagram feed. To upload a video, click on the profile icon in the bottom right-hand corner. Then click ‘Share your first IGTV video’. You can record a video directly from your device or upload from your saved files: 

Then just follow the steps outlined above! 

When you post your IGTV video, you’ll find a new tab on your profile. This is where all of your IGTV videos will be saved: 

IGTV video specifications

When uploading a video to IGTV, you’ll need to make sure that the specifications are correct. Here are the specifications required by Instagram for an IGTV video: 

  • File type – MP4
  • Video length – a minimum of 60 seconds, maximum of 60 minutes
  • Aspect ratio – 9:16 (vertical video), 16:9 (horizontal video)
  • Minimum frame rate – 30 FPS
  • Minimum resolution – 720px
  • Maximum file size – 650MB (for up to 10 minutes) and 3.6GB (for up to 60 minutes)
  • Video thumbnail image size – 420px by 654px (or 1:1.55 ratio)

How to use IGTV for your business

Now that you’ve mastered the basics of IGTV, let’s get into how it can be used to effectively market your business. 

Here are 5 different ideas for marketing your brand on Instagram TV.

1. Post product tutorials

Tutorials, product demos, and how-to videos are a great way to showcase your product or service. They help you to persuade potential customers to make a purchase and can also assist current customers in getting the most out of their purchase – meaning they’ll be happier and more loyal to your brand in the future! 

IGTV is a great format for product tutorials because the longer format allows you to cover more ground. No matter what you’re selling – makeup, recipe books, software – you can use Instagram TV to teach people how your product or service works and get them excited about using it. 

Here’s an example from Glossier

This video gives a detailed demonstration of how to use Glossier products to give yourself an at-home facial. Videos like this one can really give people the push they need to make a purchase. According to our recent survey, 84% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand’s video.

2. Create a series to build your online community

IGTV gives users the option to create an online video series. All you need to do is click the ‘Add to series’ button when you upload a video: 

In case you didn’t already know, TV is out and online video is very much in. People now watch an average of 16 hours of online video per week – that’s a 52% increase from two years ago. 

By posting a regular series, and being consistent with the time and day that you post, you can use IGTV to build up an online community for your brand. Here’s an example from Fabletics

The Take Care series by Fabletics features different influencers showing followers how to take care of themselves in different ways, from exercise to skincare. 

3. Customer spotlights

We should never lose sight of the fact that social media is all about being social. By posting customer spotlight videos you can not only delight your customers by giving them exposure on your platform but you can also send a positive message to the rest of your audience. 

The RSPCA did an amazing job of this by calling out a few of their supporters in a recent video: 

Customers like hearing from other customers. According to our 2020 survey on testimonials, 9 out of 10 people say they trust what a customer says about a business more than what the business says about itself. 

What’s more, 2 out of 3 people say they’d be more likely to make a purchase after watching a testimonial video demonstrating how a business, product, or service had helped another person like them.

4. Q&A sessions 

Social media is also a lot about engagement. It’s not a one way street. When you post videos, you want people to interact and engage with them. You can encourage this engagement by posting Q&A sessions.

Here’s an example from Keith Tullock wine: 

To create a Q&A session like this – and generate hype for it – all you need to do is create an Instagram story using the poll or questions features to gather information: 

Then you can gather the most popular questions and answer them in your IGTV video. 

5. Invite people behind-the-scenes

Video is a great way to invite your audience ‘behind-the-scenes’ to show them what goes on in your business. This kind of content has an air of exclusivity to it that will encourage people to follow, watch, and share. 

Here’s an example from AA Living

If you don’t have a factory or office to showcase, like this video does, then there are plenty of other ways to invite people behind-the-scenes. You could share a video from an event you attended or a talk you gave.

Anything that extends the relationship you already have with your social followers and makes them feel more connected to your brand.

Benefits of IGTV

1. Opportunity to create and share long-form content

The ability to share long-form content was a long time coming on Instagram. With IGTV, the platform is now a great place to share videos that are more in-depth with your followers. 

2. Boost engagement and grow your Instagram following

Instagram is such a visual platform already. By adding IGTV videos to your regular Instagram posts you can boost engagement and grow your following even more! 

3. Drive traffic to your site

The ultimate goal of any marketing is to generate revenue. With IGTV you can drive more traffic to your site and hopefully convert more leads into customers. 

4. It’s another place to share your existing video content

If you’ve already created video content then why not share it on IGTV?! The content is there, it’s already been paid for, and you have another place to share it and reap the benefits. 

7 Top tips for using IGTV

1. Use hashtags

Just like with any other social media platform or post, hashtags will help users to find your IGTV videos. 

All of the videos featured in today’s article were found by searching for hashtags through the explore tab.

You can add tags to your IGTV videos within the post description (like with all Instagram posts) or by adding a comment. Here’s an example: 

Source: /www.instagram.com/andrehellmundt

2. Consider shooting vertically

After all, IGTV was made for vertical videos. And, seeing as it is a mobile app, it makes sense for videos to be shot this way. 

We discovered in a recent survey that 87% of people say they typically hold their phone vertically for general use, and 82% find it frustrating to see black bars around the video when it hasn’t been correctly optimised for the platform. 

3. Share to your main feed/stories

We touched on this above, but it’s important enough to reiterate. Sharing your IGTV video to your main feed and your stories will push it out to your followers and give it more exposure.

If you don’t share your video in this way then you’re relying on people finding it through the explore page alone, which already gets tons of traffic.

4. Share on other platforms

Like with any piece of content, you should also share your IGTV videos on other platforms. The more exposure, the better! 

As you’ve seen from the many IGTV videos shared here, it’s easy to grab the link and embed anywhere – your blog, your emails, other social media channels. 

There is also the option to post your IGTV videos directly to Facebook when you upload them in the first instance:

5. Optimise for soundless viewing

More and more videos, particularly those posted on social media, are viewed without sound. According to a study by Verizon Media, 69% of people view videos without sound in public places, but 25% also view videos without sound even in private places. 

With users taking this ‘sound optional’ approach to viewing, you need to consider it when creating your IGTV videos. 

Including subtitles and/or closed captions can help to optimise your videos for soundless viewing. Here’s an example from Cece and Me London

6. Use insights to improve

To really ensure you get the most value out of IGTV, you need to keep an eye on your video insights so you can find out what your viewers like and also what they don’t! 

It’s easy to take a look at your IGTV insights. Just click on the three dots next to your post and then on ‘View Insights’:

Here you’ll be able to see how many views, likes, and comments your video has. You’ll also be able to check the audience engagement – this is great for pinpointing a section of your video that may cause viewers to drop off. 

7. Create an eye-catching thumbnail and title

All videos need an eye-catching thumbnail and title, or no one will ever click on them. With IGTV, you can easily upload your own thumbnail from your gallery, so take advantage of this by creating something engaging. 

Including text and eye-catching graphics can help to catch the attention of viewers, like these thumbnails for an IGTV series called SunTay Brunch: 

Source: instagram.com/taytay_xx

These recipe videos show the finished product and also include a text description of what will be made in the video, helping to draw users in. 

Final Thoughts

IGTV has blown up this year, and it’s only going to get bigger. The sooner you start posting videos on the platform, the sooner you will build a strong following – and hopefully this will lead to increased awareness for your brand. 

Need help creating a social media video? Check out this page