IGTV: What It Is and How to Get Started

By Dana Thomas | Digital and Social Media Strategist

In late June, Instagram rolled out their new product called IGTV.  IGTV is a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from Instagram creators. While there is a standalone app for IGTV, you can also view the content from the standard Instagram app as well.

According to Instagram, IGTV is different in a few ways:

  • It’s built for phone use, and videos are full-screen and vertical
  • Videos can be up to an hour long—that’s a great feature considering Instagram limits video content to 60 seconds. There are some caveats to that… read on.

And there are already some fun videos being shared on IGTV.

IGTV has channels, so if you already are managing a business account on Instagram, roll on over to IGTV to set up your own channel.

  • You can set up your channel on mobile or desktop
  • For mobile, download the free IGTV app and install like you would any app
  • For desktop, log into your account, click on the IGTV tab under the main heading and follow the prompts to get started
  • After installing, open the IGTV app and connect your Instagram account

Given that IGTV is focused on video content, it seems a little odd that you cannot record video directly from the app, but that’s the way it is.  You have to upload your videos to IGTV.

  • Videos must be in vertical or portrait mode
  • Ideal size ratio is 9:16 but a ratio more square like 4:5 is also supported
  • There are no limits to how many videos you can upload
  • Once you upload a video, anyone who follows your Instagram account will be able to see it

Once you upload your video to your channel, edit the title, description and cover image. You can choose a still from your video for cover image or even upload its own photo.  Keep your video titles short but descriptive.  NOTE: you cannot edit the title or description after posting via mobile.

For desktop uploads, you can drag and drop any video file into the upload field on the desktop app.

Most accounts are limited to videos from 15 seconds – 10 minutes. Larger accounts and verified accounts have the ability to upload videos up to 60 minutes long through the desktop app. (And before you ask, Instagram will be making it clear soon on how to get your account verified, which hasn’t been the user-friendliest to do in the past.)  Desktop uploads allow you to edit your titles and descriptions after the fact, unlike mobile.

IGTV videos do autoplay and most mobile users have their sound on. With that said, make sure that your videos don’t have loud intros or distracting noises.  Bonus: unlike Instagram, IGTV allows any URLs you put in the description to be clickable.  Hashtags work just like they do in Instagram, so use them so non-followers can discover your awesome content.  Limited analytics is available to your IGTV videos so you can see how many people viewed your video and if it was engaging.  And just like Instagram, people can comment on your videos and you can respond to those comments.

So bring on IGTV, and let’s have some fun!