In recent years, we have seen the power of video on the internet — Facebook alone gets eight billion average daily views, and YouTube’s video platform has enabled young teens to become national superstars.
You have probably already heard of a few options when it comes to publishing and promoting long-form video content — like YouTube or Facebook Live. Now, there is another option: IGTV.
Now Instagram itself has been one of our most used social media for a while. One of Instagram’s previous BIG updates introduced Instagram Stories to the world. With over 500 million users every day, it has changed the way people, brands & businesses use Instagram for good. It is not only changed Instagram, but it has captured a majority of Snapchat’s users in the process. Now IGTV is another huge step in Instagram’s attempts to cover just about every aspect of a social being today.
In this article we are going to get down to the nitty-gritty with the ultimate guide to IGTV, how to use this awesome new addition & the best practices & top tips for a successful IGTV channel!
What is IGTV?
IGTV is Instagram’s new standalone app that allows creators to make vertical or horizontal, long-form video content.
Before 2018, whenever you posted videos to your Instagram feed, they had to be between three and 60 seconds long. If you wanted to upload longer videos, there was no way to do that — not until Instagram TV came along. Instagram TV, or IGTV, allows you to post anything that’s at least 1 minute long and up to 10 minutes long for regular users (or up to 60 minutes long if you upload the video from a verified user).
These channels can be compared with YouTube videos or Instagram accounts with some video content. For better discoverability, Instagram also allowed creators to post one-minute previews of their IGTV videos on their feeds. That is perfect for getting your audience’s attention without them having to download the app.
Instagram more recently introduced the IGTV series feature. This promotes the creators to make a regular series of videos to be released on a consistent interval (weekly, monthly, etc).
If you do it right, IGTV can be a fantastic way to build engagement for your brand. Read on to find out how.
How to use IGTV?
To upload a video on IGTV, a user needs to create his channel. Instagram has made the working and creation of IGTV handle super simple and easy to use.
Step #1: Sign in to the IGTV app (available on iOS & Android) and log in with your usual Instagram username and password.
Step #2: Click on the Settings gear icon in the right-hand corner, and then click “Create Channel”
That is, it! Now you are ready to upload your videos!
With a recent update, all you need to create an IGTV account now is an Instagram account. A user can upload a video through his IGTV account or Instagram account too.
How to upload a video?
#1: Go to your new channel by clicking on your avatar from the main page
#2: Click the + icon in the right-hand corner to add a new video to IGTV
#3: Select the video you want to upload from your local files.
Note: IGTV allows only finished videos. It is not like Instagram’s other functions where you can trim the size, insert filters & emoticons, etc. IGTV videos are like YouTube videos in that sense.
Step #4: Write your title and add a description. Just like on YouTube, you will want to add in any relevant keywords to your description to make it easier for people to find your videos on IGTV. This also includes hashtags and tagging other Instagram accounts.
Step #5: Add a 1-minute preview of your IGTV video to your Instagram feed.
Step #6: To change the cover picture, tap ‘Edit cover’ & then select an image from your gallery or a frame from the video.
Once you are done with all this, hit the post button and your IGTV video will be uploaded.
Once you have published a video on IGTV, it is easy to find analytics on your video. IGTV provides you insights about your video including how many views, likes, and comments it has received, retention of the audience, and at which points of the video most people stopped watching.
- Views – How many people have watched more than 3 seconds of your video.
- Likes – Number of likes on your video.
- Comments – All the comments on your IGTV video.
- Average percentage watched – This gives you the average length of your video watched by all of your viewers.
- Percentage of plays at a particular time – Here you can see what percentage of viewers were still watching at a specific point in your video.
- Go to your IGTV channel.
- Tap on a video that you want to see the analytics for.
- Tap on the three dots icon and then select Insights.
The percentage of plays at a particular time is especially useful as you can see where you may have a big drop off. You can then work on this part by either trying to create curiosity at this point or making your videos shorter.
Create an IGTV series
As we mentioned before, IGTV’s series feature is a big opportunity for brands — if you regularly turn up for your audience and share quality content, you will soon start to see your engagement and follower count grow!
But quality content does not have to mean expensive content — in fact, some of the best series out there are filmed in what looks like relatively low-budget settings.
The process is similar for both the apps (IGTV and Instagram app).
Here is how to create an IGTV series:
1. Make sure you are at the window where you fill out your title and description. Tap Add to Series.
2. Tap Create Your First Series.
3. Fill out your series’ title and description. Then tap the blue checkmark in the top right.
4. Make sure to select the series you want your video to be a part of. Then tap Done in the top right.
If you are a creator, you will also want to make sure to encourage your fans to turn on notifications for your IGTV series, so they never miss out on new content!
To set up notifications, just click on the series title (or badge) and hit “Turn on IGTV Notifications” in the bottom right corner.
IGTV Tips and best practices
Cross-promote your video
Your followers love you because of the content you share. Hence informing across all platforms about your recent posting will be the best practice.
Especially for IGTV, some people might not be familiar with the use and would like to explore. IGTV offers a few different cross-promotion options:
- Instagram Stories for preview and linked to your IGTV video (verified or business users only)
- Share one-minute previews of your IGTV videos to your Instagram feed and profile (users will be prompted to Keep Watching on IGTV)
- Share the videos to a Facebook page connected to your profile.
Outside of Instagram, you can promote your IGTV channel from:
- An email newsletter
- Your Facebook Page
Quality beats quantity
It is better to create good quality and engaging content than to just upload subpar videos constantly. Quality content will help you increase your engagement with the viewers and keep them in contact with you. Ultimately, it will lead to the creation of a strong IGTV channel.
IGTV is not just a place to be cross-posting your Instagram Stories. If you want people to follow you on both channels, you need to make sure they have a good reason to do so.
Include the most important info upfront
People scroll through their feeds quickly. You only have a small window of time to grab their attention—up to a minute if you are lucky, but 15 seconds is probably a more realistic target.
Do not let their attention slip or give them a reason to swipe through to the next thing.
This is especially true if you are sharing a preview to your Instagram feed, where viewers will be prompted to “keep watching” on IGTV after one minute.
Think of the first minute of your video as an introduction to a blog post. No matter how flashy and engaging your video is, you will need to answer the following questions:
- What is this video about?
- Why should you keep watching?
- Optional: Who is this video for?
- Optional: How long will it be?
Answering these questions as soon as possible will guarantee longer and higher-quality views.
Use your brand colors, fonts, themes, etc.
Just because it is a different app that does not mean you are presenting a different brand. It can already be a jarring experience to leave one window to another for some content, so make the experience as smooth as possible for your followers. Let them know you are the same old you, just on a different channel.
That means sticking to the same visuals, video tone, and vibe as usual. Bonus: this will help your IGTV content fit into your feed too.
IGTV is an exciting new feature for content creators of all types. It is a great way for videographers, cinematographers, vloggers, tutorials, amateurs, experts, and more to create and distribute video content for the masses. And it is a great way to get discovered!
The type of content you share is up to you, depending on what kind of experience you want to offer new and existing fans. So, your videos can be highly edited and produced, or just a recording of behind-the-scenes or day-to-day things, feelings, and experiences.