Blog Post

What is IGTV? Our guide to Instagram's new video platform

July 6, 2018

Instagram recently introduced its new video platform, IGTV. With video already being a core feature of Instagram, we’re going to dive in and explain what is IGTV, how to watch and share videos using IGTV, and what IGTV means for video marketing.

What is IGTV

IGTV is a brand new video platform by Instagram. It’s a stand alone app available for iOS and Android, but it has also been fully integrated directly into the Instagram app itself.

IGTV enables content creators to run a channel (linked to their existing Instagram account) where they can post videos with durations from 15 seconds to 10 minutes and upwards to 60 minutes for select accounts. A standout feature of these videos is that they are vertical. Instagram knows that more and more people are consuming video on their phones, and vertical video has quickly becoming an acceptable and engaging format for video content.

How to watch IGTV

With the IGTV app, video will start playing as soon as you open it. Don’t worry, sound is muted until you press your phone’s volume buttons. From Instagram, you’ll find the IGTV icon at the top beside the direct messages button.

Access IGTV by tapping the icon in the top right, beside the direct message button.

Once you’re watching IGTV, you can simply swipe to the left to navigate from video to video or swipe up to reveal the Browse menu, which features cards for each video, different feeds and the option to search. You can choose from a number of different feeds including For You, Following and Popular. While watching a video, you can tap to reveal options to like, comment or share the video. The whole experience is very fluid and somewhat reminiscent of changing channels on traditional TV.

The Browse menu shows you different video feeds and allows you to search.

How to share content on IGTV

Once you’re within IGTV (either the app itself or from Instagram), you’ll see your profile picture within the Browse menu. Tapping on your profile picture reveals your channel. Here you can upload a video and browse your previous videos. If you want to upload a video longer than 10 minutes, you’ll need to visit Instagram’s webpage from your computer browser.

What does IGTV mean for video marketing

Competitor to YouTube

IGTV is a very interesting addition to Instagram and one that seems likely to compete directly with YouTube. With that in mind, IGTV is likely going to focus on attracting independent content creators as opposed to traditional content like Netflix. This means a new platform to identify potential influencers for your brand.

No advertising, yet

Advertising is not part of IGTV, yet. The CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, said ads on IGTV “would be a reasonable place to end up.” This is likely going to set the stage for revenue sharing with content creators, similar to YouTube. And, for marketers, it will provide a whole new platform for targeting viewers with video content.

New format, challenges and opportunities

Vertical video introduces new challenges and opportunities to video creators. The challenge is adapting content for both horizontal and vertical platforms. IGTV automatically crops horizontal video, which means any shots framed off centre, or titles that span the width of the screen, are going to be cut off. This isn’t ideal and certainly not very professional. This can be avoided by creating separate edits of the same video, with framing and titles adjusted to work for each aspect ratio. Not impossible, just time consuming.

With that said, we think IGTV presents an exciting new opportunity for video marketing. We suggest you spend some time exploring the new platform and then write out some ideas of how you could use IGTV to reach your audience in a new way. We look forward to seeing what you create!

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