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IGTV - A Complete Guide Of Instagram's Video Platform

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IGTV - A Complete Guide Of Instagram's Video Platform

Back in 2010, when Instagram launched, 25,000 people signed up the first day.

Since then, Instagram has grown annually, and in 2018 the community reached one billion monthly active users.

Through the years there were a lot of functional changes, and one of the updates was IGTV- Instagram's video platform.

In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about this feature, like what is IGTV, how it works, how you can use it for your business, and how brands are using IGTV to promote themselves.

Everything you need to know about IGTV


  1. How to use IGTV in 2021
  2. What's IGTV
  3. IGTV for your business
  4. IGTV categories
  5. IGTV vs. Instagram Stories
  6. IGTV vs. Video
  7. Recommended size and ratio for the IGTV
  8. How to upload an IGTV video

1. How to use IGTV in 2021

Several experts predict that Instagram will invest heavily in IGTV this year, adding new features and functionalities to make it more popular.

IGTV users are encouraged to create content lasting up to 1 hour, which remains in their channel forever – a bonus compared to Stories’ 15 seconds limit and 24-hour disappearing act.

Brands that are using IGTV

National Geographic became one of the first media companies to air a full, vertical-optimized 48-minute show traditionally made for TV. The video was called "Experience the world through the eyes of National Geographic photographers".

You can create more series with IGTVs, and that’s exactly what National Geographic did. For example, one of them is called Wild_Life, and here you can find a few episodes focusing on various animals from the Arctic. Cool, right?

With an account of 158 million followers, National Geographic is using this social media channel to promote their projects and the life of many species across the globe.

How National Geographic uses IGTV to make an entire video series on Instagram

IGTV can be used as a behind the scene video for your clients. You can have a flower shop, a clothes shop, a startup, or you can run a big company.

For example, fashion house Louis Vuitton gave fans a glimpse into the lives of some celebrities: Chloë Grace Moretz, Sophie Turner, Léa Seydoux, Cody Fern, and many more.

This series is called LV TV, and it says in the description: “See another side of Louis Vuitton through the eyes of inspiring personalities and friends.”

Louis Vuitton posting an IGTV series with celebrities

H&M, Zara, Nike, Puma and a lot of other brands are also using this feature to promote their ideas.

H&M, Zara, Nike are using IGTV to promote their brands

2. What's an IGTV


IGTV is Instagram's way of disrupting the traditional TV experience and updating it for a new mobile experience and a game-changer for Youtube.

Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. Unlike on Instagram, here videos aren't limited to one minute.

The videos can be between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long.

Note: Larger accounts and verified accounts can upload long-form video content up to 60 minutes long, but they must be uploaded from a computer.

For now, Instagram presents videos for you based on your interests and its algorithm update. You can always discover more by swiping up. You can also like, comment, and send videos to friends through Instagram Direct.

To find new IGTV accounts to follow, users can swipe up and switch between the accounts they follow or accounts they don’t follow that are popular.

They can resume watching videos they’d started previously or select from content that IGTV’s algorithm thinks they’ll like, based on past viewing habits. Users will also be able to access another user’s IGTV content from a designated spot underneath their Instagram bio.

Some IGTV basics:

  • Videos are full screen and vertical
  • Videos can be anywhere from 15 seconds long, to 60 minutes - the full 60 minutes is currently only available to verified accounts, all other users have a limit of 10 minutes.
  • Users can watch IGTV content from within the Instagram app, or they can download the dedicated IGTV app
  • Videos start to play automatically upon opening the IGTV app
  • Users can like or comment on videos, or send videos to friends via DM

3. IGTV for your business

IGTV is all about vertical videos and, for a mobile experience, this is a way better idea because when you want to record or watch a video, you don't have to rotate your phone or watch a small version.

If you have a business, you can take advantage, and you can upload videos with how people can use your tool, as some business tutorial.

Also, you can answer a few questions your clients have or post some insights white the team while they are working.

This is an excellent opportunity for businesses to create personal connections with the community they have built around the product.

You don't have to create a super polished video to upload it on IGTV; you have to be natural and put value in that channel.

4. IGTV categories

Right now, IGTV has three main categories:

  • For you - a collection of videos that Instagram thinks you will like, made up from people you follow.
  • Following - a collection of videos from all the people on Instagram that you already follow.
  • Popular - features all the trending videos on IGTV, most likely ranked by popularity.

If someone follows you on IGTV, they'll be following your regular Instagram account too.

There’s also a small hidden search bar that lets you search for videos. Still, Instagram is trying to curate the best videos for you within your social network and without you having to search for the next video to watch regularly.

5. IGTV vs. Instagram Stories

Instagram offers four marketing channels to promote your brand and business:

Instagram ads are just an instrument, not a dedicated channel.

The differences between IGTV and Instagram Stories are:

  • The Instagram stories go away after 24h, while the IGTV stays as long as you want. Yes, you have the option to delete it by clicking those three dots.
  • IGTV has to have the same brand consistency, and it has to match with your business purpose.
  • IGTV requires the use of video in vertical format. Traditional videos are landscape, but IGTV requires entirely vertical videos.
  • You can upload videos for up to one hour.
  • IGTV attracts vloggers and video content creators, and Instagram tries to compete with Youtube here.
  • Instagram is looking for non-edited videos, but you need to make sure what your audience wants.
  • IGTV has the option to add a link, and it doesn’t matter the followers count.
  • Once you launch your IGTV channel, you can cross-promote it on other channels: Facebook, Twitter, email, Instagram Stories, etc.
  • Instagram is looking for evergreen content, specific content created only for this channel.

Do I need to use both Instagram Stories and IGTV?

Yes, definitely yes. Within the Instagram Stories, you have the option to promote your IGTV by adding the link when designing the story.

Instagram Stories is the feature that continues the campaign message and redirects your audience to your IGTV.

Discover what 102,700,573 posts show us about Instagram Engagement!

6. IGTV vs. Video

As we already know, Instagram has a lot of features you can choose from. And with so many options out there, the first question that pops in our minds is: what type of video content is best to choose.

That’s why we decided to make a comparison between the performance of regular video posts and IGTVs, to show you what are the chances of getting certain benefits from using each of these options.

This IGTV study is based on the analysis of 10,563,463 Instagram posts and, according to it, we have discovered the following insights:

  • IGTV brings higher view rates only for middle-sized accounts


It looks like the middle-sized accounts (between 10 - 100 K followers) are doing a great job at keeping their followers hooked in viewing something that is longer than one minute.

In this chart you'll find an analysis of how IGTV performs in terms of video views compared to regular videos in feed.

  • Across all kinds of accounts, regular videos bring higher engagement than IGTVs


Even though IGTVs win in the views chapters for accounts under 100K, the situation does not look the same when we talk about engagement.

Because even if there’s the intention of watching, people may not have the patience to view an IGTV until the very end, especially in the case of very long ones. So, in this situation, the abandonment rate is higher compared to videos.

Take a look at the graphic below.

Through this graphic,it is shown which types of posts bring the highest engagement on Instagram.

  • IGTV is the least used feature on Instagram


With IGTV initially being created as an alternative to Youtube videos, the feature did not enjoy this much of a success, users being somehow reluctant to use it, as obvious.

So, the low levels of engagement registered by IGTVs can also be caused by the fact there are not so many posts of this type on the platform.

This is a chart that presents the posts distribution on Instagram.

7. Recommended size and ratio for the IGTV

Instagram published a guide on how to create content for the IGTV which includes: what format you should have, helpful tools and how to upload videos. Some important aspects:

  • File size: Up to 3.6GB
  • File type: MP4
  • Video size: 9:16
  • Video thumbnail/cover image: .JPG

Recommended size to create content

8. How to upload an IGTV video

If you want to upload a video to your IGTV you have to follow seven simply steps.

  • Step 1: Go to your channel by clicking on your avatar from the main page.
  • Step 2: Click the + icon in the right-hand corner to add a new video on IGTV.
  • Step 3: Select a vertical video from your camera roll
  • Step 4: Write a title and add a short description. You should add here any relevant keywords for your brand to make it easier for people to find your videos on IGTV.

Socialinsider using the IGTV feature to create great content on Instagram

  • Step 5: Add a cover photo. You can upload your custom cover or choose it from your video. The cover photo is what you will show up on your channel page in the IGTV categories, so make it pretty.
  • Step 6: Click the post button.
  • Step 7: Don’t forget about the IGTV Analytics. You will want to monitor your post so you’ll be able to reply to the comments you will receive.

Click on “View Insights” and you’ll be able to see your views, likes, and comments.

✌️ Congratulations, your first IGTV video is on!

What the IGTV metrics mean:

  • Views - the number of times that people watched at least three seconds of your video.
  • Avg. Percentage watched - the percentage of your video that people watched. This is calculated as the percentage of your video watched as an average of all plays.

Final thought

Instagram is booming, and if you think that IGTV is matching with your business objectives in general, then this new feature is a great way to share your ideas uniquely.

So don't waste time! Create your own IGTV channel and make it spectacular.


Related articles:

  1. [Instagram Study] 102,700,573 Posts Show How Instagram Engagement Rate Decreases Back to Its Initial Values From 2019
  2. [IGTV Study]: 10,563,463 Posts Show Why IGTV Brings Higher View Rates Only for Middle Sized Accounts
  3. Create a Successful Instagram Marketing Strategy in 2021
Diana Gogolan

Diana Gogolan

Digital Marketing Specialist @ Socialinsider

Art lover, writer, reader, traveler of time and space. I consider myself a visual storyteller and I love the creative side of marketing.