guide to instagram’s new video streaming platform

IGTV, Instagram’s new video platform is here!

IGTV is a place for vertical, long-form videos on Instagram for those that want more streaming freedom than Instagram’s one-minute clips on your feed.

Here are three things you need to know about IGTV, plus how to use IGTV, how to upload videos to IGTV, and what this brand new platform means to you as a consumer or a business owner:


what is igtv?


IGTV is Instagram’s way of saying “Step aside YouTube. This is now our time to shine.”

YouTube has exploded in popularity in recent years, and now because you are able to watch YouTube on your iPhone or Samsung device, the amount of times teens spend watching television has gone down 40%!

By the year 2021, mobile videos will account for 78% of total mobile traffic, and it will increase by so much more with Instagram now stepping into the mobile video scene with the launch of IGTV. What does this mean for traditional television? Well… Let’s just say Best Buy will be joining Toys”R”Us very soon.

Anyone who has an Instagram account can create their very own IGTV channel. From here, you can share long-form videos with your followers. Unfortunately, Instagram will only be allowing videos up to 10 minutes for most accounts, and up to one hour for larger accounts. Fortunately, Instagram has commented that eventually there will be no time limit. If it reaches this point, we may expect to see a large amount of influencers migrating to IGTV.

Unlike YouTube, IGTV is made up of all vertical videos, which makes sense due to it being a mobile-only platform! You can watch IGTV videos in the Instagram app, the standalone IGTV app, or clicking the IGTV button on someone’s Instagram profile.


will you be able to make money from igtv?


At the present time, there are no ads – yet. “Right now we’re focused on building engagement,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said in a press conference after the launch of IGTV. “But that’s obviously a very reasonable place to end up. There will be a way for creators to make a living.” We can all safely assume that sooner or later, ads will come to IGTV just as you can see them on the native Instagram app while scrolling through your feed.

Instagram will curate videos for you based on your interests and who you follow. You can also watch trending videos on the “Popular” channel. This will allow for users to find new content creators with similar interests.


3 things to know about igtv, instagram’s new video platform


#1 igtv is for vertical videos only


Like we’ve said earlier, IGTV is all about vertical videos. Sure, you can upload a horizontal video to IGTV, but it won’t make for a very enjoyable viewing experience. Vertical videos will make it easy for anyone to feel like they can become content creators. Rather than investing thousands into a professional setup, now vertical video will naturally encourage you to record on your phone instead. This will be great for content creators who are just starting out. Whether you’re a foodie, vlogger, or YouTube Prankster!

Forcing you to create Vertical-Only Videos is an innovative and smart move from Instagram, but social media managers and creative agencies (Us!) may not love it. Now, when you’re creating video content, you will have to either shoot for two ratios, or make sure that you’re able to vertically crop the video. This means more tedious editing, and you won’t be able to share the same video to all your social media platforms.


#2 igtv is like youtube, not netflix


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, vloggers, rather than Hollywood’s elite actors and actresses.

Instagram is trying to push YouTube and Snapchat aside by getting young influencers like Lele Pons and Bryce Xavier 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,” says TechCrunch in a recent article on IGTV.

“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 small businesses and content creators. Think of it as a step up from your Instagram Stories, where it doesn’t have to be as perfect or curated like and Instagram post or video would be. Now you can add a more personal touch to your IGTV videos. This will allow you to still achieve an emotional connection with your viewers.


#3 igtv is a surprisingly addictive mobile experience


Despite not being able to stream your favorite TV shows from IGTV, Instagram is trying to make the overall experience a lot like traditional TV.

Everyone who has an Instagram account, can create their very own IGTV channel, which is where all your IGTV videos will be found. Similarly to when you turn on the TV 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 the channel you’re on? Just swipe to the side to move onto the next video.

Want more? Just swipe up to search for videos and view them by category.


For the time being, there’s 3 IGTV categories: For You, Following, and Popular.

  • “For You” is a fun collection of videos that Instagram’s algorithm thinks you will like. This was put together based on 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. Now if someone follows you on IGTV, they’ll be following your regular Instagram account too!
  • “Popular” is where all of the trending videos on IGTV will be featured, most likely ranked by popularity. You can come here to search for new channels to follow.

There’s also a well-placed almost hidden search bar that lets you search for videos. For now, Instagram is doing their best to curate the best videos for you within your social network without having to search for the next video to watch.

Now that you’re up to speed on how IGTV works, you’re ready to make your own channel and upload your first IGTV video! Here’s how to do it.


how to create an igtv channel:


Before you can start creating content, you must first create your channel. Fortunately, Instagram has made IGTV super easy and simple to use.

Step 1: Sign in to the IGTV App.


Step 2: Tap on the settings icon in the right hand corner, and then tap on “Create Channel”.


And you’re done! You’re on your way to becoming a content creator.


how to upload videos to igtv:


Step 1: Head to your channel by tapping on your avatar from the main screen.


Step 2: Tap on the + icon in the right hand corner to upload a new video to IGTV.


Step 3: Select a video from your camera roll.

Step 4: Create a title and description for your video. Just like YouTube, you’ll want to throw in some useful keywords to make it easier for people to find you while browsing for channels with specific interests. This will help attract more viewers to your channel.

You can also add your own links! Your viewers will be able to tap on links in your description and be taken out of the Instagram or IGTV app.

Step 5: Add a cover banner. You can upload your own custom banner, or video thumbnail. Your cover banner will be the first thing viewers will see, so make it a unique one!

Step 6: Hit the post button. You’ve just uploaded your first video to your IGTV Channel!

Step 7:  Monitor your IGTV Analytics. Tap on the “…” button beside the like, comment, and share buttons on your IGTV video. From here you can tap on “View Insights”. When you tap on “View Insights” you’ll be able to see your views, likes, and comments. This will come in handy for you to track how your channel is growing.

Step 8: Create more content! Now that you’ve got the ropes of IGTV, you can go out there and start creating amazing content. Be sure to tag us in your creations!

About the author

Luis Marrero

I have built and sold several eCom and B2C businesses over the past five years which was a stepping stone into creating a full-service SEO agency servicing medium to large sized companies, including multiple Fortune 500s and government agencies. In my spare time, you can find me rebuilding 6.2L V8 NA engines by Mercedes-AMG.

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