How to Use IGTV to Fuel Your Growth on Instagram

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When Instagram announced plans for IGTV, a new standalone app for long-form vertical video, the talk of IGTV taking out YouTube began. After Instagram video did away with Vine and Instagram Stories swiped a massive opportunity from Snapchat, Instagram looked poised for a hat-trick.

A year and a half later, YouTube is still going strong. So, what happened?

IGTV was slow to start, but its recent spike in engagement might offer some clues. With the recent feature releases, growth in viewership on the platform, and the current appetite brands have for experimenting with new forms of content, how IGTV will reshape Instagram marketing is becoming clear. 

Table of Contents

  1. What is IGTV?
  2. IGTV dimensions, specs, and requirements for uploading
  3. How to Use IGTV
  4. How to create your IGTV channel
  5. How to upload videos to IGTV
  6. IGTV for Business: What makes IGTV different?
  7. Content ideas for brands using IGTV
  8. Examples of brands using IGTV well
  9. Getting more views on IGTV
  10. Tracking your success with IGTV insights
  11. IGTV FAQ

What is IGTV?

IGTV is both a stand-alone video-sharing app and an extension of the existing features of Instagram. When it first launched, IGTV only allowed vertical videos on the platform. This was partly to differentiate it from YouTube and position it as a mobile-friendly video app, but it was also a move meant to inspire creativity. 

In an interview with TechCrunch, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom described how the initial limitations were meant to encourage creativity:

One of the things I like most about the new format is that it’s actually fairly difficult to just take videos that exist online and simply repost them. That’s not true in feed. That basically forces everyone to create new stuff.

Perhaps bloggers and tech journalists misunderstood IGTV. Though IGTV later dropped the restriction on landscape videos, the app itself is still designed with vertical video in mind. On top of this, several features unique to IGTV make it fundamentally different from YouTube. Understanding the differences is key to utilizing IGTV’s uniqueness for growth.   

 

IGTV dimensions, specs, and requirements for uploading

If you don’t already have an Instagram account, you’ll need to create one before posting videos to IGTV. Although IGTV has a stand-alone app, your followers and following lists are the same as your Instagram account. Since IGTV works best as a tool for growing your Instagram audience, you’ll want to have an active presence on Instagram-proper as well.

What are the video requirements and specs for uploading to IGTV?

    • Length: Minimum of 1 minute, maximum of 15 minutes (on mobile) or 60 minutes (on desktop)
    • File Type: Uploaded in MP4 File format
    • File Size: Maximum file size is 650MB (for videos under 10 minutes) or 3.6GB (for videos 10-60 minutes)
    • Dimensions: Video displays at a 9:16 aspect ratio (for vertical videos) or a 16:9 aspect ratio (for horizontal videos)
    • Resolution: Minimum resolution of 720 pixels
    • Frame Rate: Minimum frame rate of 30 FPS (frames per second) 
    • Content Guidelines: Your video is at risk of being reported and removed if it does not adhere to Instagram’s Content Guidelines.

How to use IGTV

IGTV acts as a separate content feed parallel to your existing Instagram account, however, your Followers and Following lists for both platforms are synced. The videos you post will appear on your IGTV channel, which can be accessed from your Instagram profile or directly from your IGTV posts. Anyone following you on Instagram will be able to see your IGTV posts. 

Uploading videos can be done from the Instagram app, the IGTV app, or in a browser. Note that you must have an active Instagram account to be able to use IGTV

How to create your IGTV channel

On mobile: 

  1. Download and open the IGTV app, or tap the IGTV icon in the top-right corner of the Instagram app. 
  2. Tap the “Settings” icon and then tap “Create Channel”.

On desktop:

  1. Open a web browser and go to Instagram.com.
  2. Click the “Profile” icon in the top-right. 
  3. Select the tab labeled “IGTV” under your profile description. 
  4. Click “Get Started” and follow the on-screen instructions. 

How to upload videos to IGTV

On mobile:

  1. Open the IGTV app or tap the IGTV icon in the top-right corner of the Instagram app. 
  2. Tap the “+” icon in the top-right corner, select a video, and tap “Next”. 
  3. Use the slider at the bottom of your screen to select a screen-shot to use as a cover photo or select a file from your camera roll and tap “Next”. 
  4. Add your title, description, make any edits to your cover photo, and select your preferred sharing options. 
  5. Tap “Post”. 

On desktop:

  1. Open a web browser and go to Instagram.com.
  2. Click the “Profile” icon in the top-right. 
  3. Select the tab labeled “IGTV” under your profile description. 
  4. Click “Upload”.
  5. Select the “+” icon and select a video from your files or drag and drop a video file
  6. A cover-photo will be auto-generated when uploading, but you can select “Edit” to add your own image. 
  7. Add your title, description and select your preferred sharing options. 
  8. Click “Post”. 
 

IGTV for Business: What makes IGTV different?

How a platform lets users interact with content determines what content works best. This crucial detail explains why IGTV was able to grow its user base without clashing with YouTube.

Whereas Instagram Stories and Video features were largely similar to Snapchat and Vine⁠, IGTV is fundamentally different from YouTube and other video sharing platforms in a number of significant ways.

 
 

IGTV videos autoplay

On IGTV’s stand-alone app, videos in your feed start automatically with a loading screen resembling television static. The experience is designed to emulate the experience of flicking through TV channels. 

IGTV is designed for vertical video

IGTV’s biggest selling point when it first launched was its exclusivity for vertical video. While this changed not long after, the app’s functions are still designed with vertical video in mind⁠, meaning vertical videos appear larger and more assertive in their design, making them more eye-catching than horizontal videos.

 

IGTV has less competing content

More content means it’s harder to be seen and harder to show up in searches. Starting an IGTV channel now puts you in the unique position of being able to corner a content market. Although this might mean fewer users initially, there’s a far higher prospect of long-term growth if you’re able to establish yourself as an early adopter of IGTV. With Instagram pushing users to IGTV, posting consistent content now, means more exposure later.

IGTV is inseparable from Instagram feeds and stories

The continuity between Instagram and IGTV makes it easier to move users from your Stories to your Instagram profile to your IGTV account, which lets you publish many forms of content to grow a single, larger audience.

 
 

IGTV offers more creative possibilities

With the platform being relatively new, the “norms” of IGTV have yet to be established. Without being certain of what IGTV content is supposed to look like, users tend to be open to more offbeat content. 

IGTV offers a more direct way to drive traffic with clickable links

Say goodbye to “link in bio” and hello to IGTV’s clickable links, which can now be added to your video descriptions. With this feature, IGTV has finally created a seamless flow from stories.

IGTV’s peculiarities may not seem significant on their own, but taken as a whole they provide clues to understanding how brands can utilize the platform. 

 

Content ideas for brands using IGTV

IGTV functions best as a growth tool along-side Instagram and Instagram Stories, so there must be a continuity with your Instagram account. And while great content is often versatile, limiting yourself to cross-posting your existing content means missing out on leveraging the platform's most unique features to capture your follower’s attention.

Knowing this, we’ve put together a list of content ideas that can serve as a lifting-off point for your IGTV channel. 

Go behind-the-scenes 

Giving an “inside look” at your brand helps build trust with your audience, but if it’s not something your followers are accustomed too, it can make your profile look sloppy⁠—not a quality you want to be associated with your brand. Stories can be a decent spot for behind-the-scenes content, but only IGTV offers the chance to create long-form, evergreen companion content that can exist parallel to your regular content without distracting from it.

Teach your followers something new

Teaching is the most appreciated form of marketing—customers like unlocking more value out of their products. If you’re selling food, teach us your favorite recipes. If you’re in the makeup biz, let us know how to get that perfect smokey eye. Step-by-step tutorials are a fun way to show potential customers how to use your product.

Do a Q&A with your followers 

A simple Q&A session helps you answer the most important questions your customers have: Who are you? What is your brand about? Why should I pay attention to you, or buy your products? It’s a truism, but customers find it easier to trust and support your business after they know and like you.

Try having your followers submit interview questions and answer them on video. This type of user-generated content is a great chance to build a relationship with your followers.

Vlog to your audience

Vlogging allows you to build a personal connection with your audience. Like behind-the-scenes content, vlogging on IGTV offers a separate channel for more intimate videos, but vlogging goes a step further by making your success more personal for your fans. When you vlog, you invite your audience to not just watch your brand grow, but become a part of that growth.

Bloopers and deleted scenes

If you’re creating videos where you’ve taken a lot of footage, why let it go to waste? Viewers are often interested in what gets cut from the content they enjoy. It provides an inside look at the process of creating a piece of content and gives the user a more personal connection to your content.

IGTV for Business: Examples of brands using it well

IGTV use has increased steadily over the past year, largely due to its increased popularity among young people. A 2019 report by Deloitte found that people aged 15-24 consume an average of 20% more video content online than people older than 45.

Assuming this trend continues, we’ve only seen the beginning of how IGTV may change the way we consume media. For brands, there’s an opportunity to get a foot in the door now and build a following that is primed for long-term growth. 

Brands of all sizes have already made great strides on the platform. Below, we put together a list of a few noteworthy examples.

1. Makeup artist Neetu Josh (@neetujosh_artco)

Neetu Josh is a Northern California-based makeup and hair artist who freelances, teaches, and uses her IGTV to promote her services to potential clients. Quite a few hair and makeup artists have had success on IGTV, but Neetu Josh’s channel stands out.