How To Get Started on IGTV
Learn to use Instagram’s video platform today — and why you should
I do not need to tell you how important video content is in your marketing strategy — or at least I hope I don’t have to.
This is why I’m hoping I don’t need to sell you on why it’s important to take time to understand how IGTV works. IGTV is Instagram’s brand-new video platform, and it’s looking to take other video platforms by storm.
IGTV is a place for long-form videos on Instagram (between five minutes and one hour at the time of this article), and it’s available in both the native Instagram app and the standalone IGTV app.
IGTV is Instagram’s already pretty successful attempt to take over the video mobile scene, looking to target Snapchat and YouTube alike. A bold move from the Gram? Not really, as it’s accounted that, by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic.
Some speculate Stories were just a way to test the potential release of IGTV — either way, being on IGTV could prove to be incredibly efficient for you for so many reasons.
If you are looking to get started with IGTV, here’s a few things for you to remember:
- IGTV now features both vertical and landscape videos.
- You can watch IGTV videos in the Instagram app, in the IGTV app, or by clicking the IGTV button on someone’s Instagram profile.
- When someone you follow posts a new video to IGTV, you’ll get a notification on Instagram.
- You can share IGTV videos with your friends through Instagram Direct.
- If someone follows you on IGTV, they’ll be following your regular Instagram account, too.
- You can add links to your videos. That’s right, people will actually be able to click on links in your description and be taken outside of the Instagram or IGTV app.
About the IGTV App
Instagram curates videos for you based on your interests and who you follow, and you can also watch trending videos on the Popular channel, just like you can with Instagram Stories.
There are also no ads — yet. But it seems there will be, as Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said in a press conference after the launch: “Right now we’re focused on building engagement, but that’s obviously a very reasonable place to end up. There will be a way for creators to make a living.”
Even though you won’t be seeing your favourite TV shows on IGTV, Instagram is trying to make the experience a lot like your telly. In October 2019, Instagram has added a new IGTV Series option which will enable creators to segment their videos into dedicated collections.
The new Series option will help creators better brand their content and encourage return viewing by giving their series a dedicated label, along with an on-screen tab that viewers can tap to get notifications of new episodes.
On top of your Instagram account, you’ll now have an IGTV channel everyone can access. You can only have one IGTV channel per Instagram account. This is because “the creators are the channels,” according to Instagram’s announcement.
People can like or comment on IGTV videos while they’re watching them, as well as swiping right for the next video and swiping up to search videos or view by category.
You have three types of tabs you can use:
- For You — Just like the Explore page, this is a collection of videos that Instagram thinks you will like, based on its algorithm.
- Following — This is a collection of videos from all the people you’re following.
- Popular — This section features all of the trending videos on IGTV, most likely ranked by popularity.
Video Formats for IGTV
We all know mobiles are now making us as resourceful as videographers — and this is such a great thing about IGTV. IGTV started as a platform for vertical videos, and more recently opened up to landscape videos: “Ultimately, our vision is to make IGTV a destination for great content no matter how it’s shot so creators can express themselves how they want.” (Instagram Press Room)
Its original vertical video naturally encourages you to record on your phone, making for a better mobile experience, because you don’t have to rotate your phone or watch a smaller version.
This will require you to adapt the size of the videos to different platforms (such as Facebook), as well as be mindful of the time limit (currently between ten minutes for smaller accounts and one hour for bigger accounts). IGTV is meant more for following your favorite influencers or vloggers, instead of the Kardashians.
TechCrunch notes that: “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. 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.”
IGTV supports videos that are at least 15 seconds long and can run up to 60 minutes for some accounts. If you’re wondering what size IGTV videos are, they’re a 16:9 aspect ratio (the same as Instagram Stories).
Create an IGTV Channel and Upload Your First Video
Sign in to the IGTV app and click on the settings icon in the right-hand corner, and then click Create Channel. Well, that was easy. Now, it’s time to go to your new channel by clicking on your icon from the main page, and then finding the plus (+) icon on the right-hand corner. After that, you’ll have to select a vertical video from your camera roll. (That is very important; you can simply edit a horizontal video with an editing app if needed).
Time to make it official: Write your title and add a description.
Add in any relevant keywords to your description to make it easier for people to find your videos on IGTV. Oh, and don’t forget to add your links.
When it comes to your cover, you can upload your own custom cover or choose a thumbnail from your video. The cover photo is what will show up on your channel page and in the IGTV categories, so make it one that sticks out.
Previously, IGTV videos lived only in your IGTV channel, which made it a bit difficult to garner engagement and views. In an effort to fix this problem, Instagram has introduced the option to share a one-minute preview of your IGTV video to your Instagram feed — You can find a tutorial here.
Remember, you don’t have to share IGTV videos to the Instagram feed. This is totally optional.
But you only get one chance to share IGTV videos to the feed, so you have to decide while posting if you want to share it to the feed or not. Because once it’s posted, you can’t share it!
If you’re looking to share your preview, make sure that the first minute of your video is truly exciting. Ideally, you would start to create some intrigue or a cliffhanger around the one-minute mark, to get your viewers to tap over to IGTV to keep watching.
Lastly, when you choose to share a preview of your IGTV video to the Instagram feed, your IGTV title will appear as the caption to the video, both in the feed and on your profile. You cannot edit your caption after, so think extra-hard about what your IGTV title should be.
Taking Your Videos to the Next Level
More and more of us find ourselves totally immersed in some tearful jaw-dropping hair-raising video story of a cat saving a dog from a fire or a yogi stepping far beyond what is considered normal human-body-stretching capabilities.
The good news is that you too can use the enormous potential of IGTV videos to grow your own audience today, and here are some tips which we hope will be useful.
Top apps and tips for engaging videos
You don’t need a huge budget or professional video editing skills to create video content that you can post on Instagram. In fact, you might’ve noticed how many of the most popular videos you’ve watched are taken with shaking hands using a smartphone and in poor light conditions.
An iPhone and simple editing software are all you need, though of course that’s not to say that you shouldn’t start making beautiful short films of your own, should you wish to.
Quality videos are being created from smartphones not only because smartphone camera technology has advanced, but also because users enjoy the convenience they bring to their lives.
Before we get into that, a quick note about video specs:
- Video format: MP4
- Length: 15 seconds to ten minutes for smaller accounts; 15 seconds to 60 minutes for larger and verified accounts
- Size: 650MB for videos less than ten minutes; 3.6GB for videos up to 60 minutes
- Orientation: vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape)
- Aspect ratio: Instagram recommends that vertical IGTV videos should have an aspect ratio of 9:16, while horizontal videos should be 16:9.
Make your videos short
And simple, I’d like to add.
There are too many other things to watch out there, so make sure you grab attention and deliver your message in a very contained time.
Four to six minutes is the best length, despite having a maximum available length of ten minutes.
It is particularly important to include a Wow image in the first few seconds so your lovely fans stop and watch it, rather just scroll right through.
If you are looking for help, resort to an app. For example, Impresso was developed specifically to make social media promo videos optimized for Instagram. When you capture video content on your smartphone, you’re able to make and upload high-quality and engaging videos straight from your phone to your social media platform.
If you’re looking to repurpose your video footage to use across your Instagram Stories and posts, and add some filters to match your Instagram aesthetic, InShot Video Editor is a photo and video editing app specially designed to make your content fits in with both your feed and your Instagram Stories posts.
Make your videos useful
You know your followers better than anyone else. You what they like and what they need — make a video that responds to those needs so as to make it worth watching and sharing. Beach season approaching? Why not make a video on fresh summer recipes. Cold and rainy? Share some tips on some of the best warming and immune-boosting drinks.
A great app for this is Jumprope, which allows you to create engaging and beautiful how-tos for your channel.
Using JumpRope is incredibly straightforward:
- Shoot or import a step-by-step how-to
- Crop, trim, speed up, and filter videos
- Link out to featured products or brands
- Export videos to Instagram, Youtube, and more
Combine graphics, photos, text
Ok, everyone wants to see your pretty face — there is no doubt about it. But do try to incorporate texts, images, graphics, animation, etc., to make your video more informative and engaging. One important reason to do so is that they are a smaller format and easier to digest.
As a result, videos with only your pretty talking head might not do as well as those that deliver some information even when watched on silent.
I recommend you look at creating consistent branding for your videos — whether that be covers or a specific look and feel: Branding increases revenue by up to 23% and overall brand recognition by three to four times.
Use your existing content to inform your new marketing initiatives on IGTV so that your mission and message don’t confuse your audience: If you have always been focusing on low-key and behind-the-scenes content, you want to keep that consistent feeling.
VSCO, everyone’s favorite Instagram editing app, allows you to edit Instagram video content in the app as well. This lesser-known feature lets you add any of your favorite VSCO filters to your video content to help you maintain a cohesive aesthetic — no matter what you’re posting.
Another Instagram favorite, developed by the creators of A Beautiful Mess, is A Color Story. It’s packed with different sets of filters and editing tools to help you achieve a perfectly cohesive aesthetic.
Analytics and Scheduling Content
As you map out your social media editorial calendar, you’ll be able to better promote important events, products, or services around important dates. Sticking to a schedule will help your followers know when they can expect new content and better encourage them to engage with your brand.
In order to track performance, you can also check and reply to the comments on your post and track your IGTV analytics.
Click on the “…” button and select View Insights. When you click on View Insights, you’ll be able to see your views, likes, and comments, as well as audience retention rate (how many people watched your video all the way to the end).
According to Instagram, a view on IGTV is the number of times people watched at least three seconds of your video.
All in all, there is a lot to learn when it comes to IGTV — however, my best piece of advice is always the same: Just get started with it.
This is the best time to incorporate IGTV into your marketing and video strategy.