Instagram TV

All you need to know about Instagram TV

A look at Instagram's video feature, it's pro's and con's and typical usage scenarios.

Times are changing, and so are we. When was the last time you sat at home and watched a show or programme on your TV? We somehow switched to digital videos within the past years, and, according to Cisco, by 2021, mobile video will even account for 78% of all mobile data traffic. Instagram observed this development and saw an opportunity: In June, they created IGTV. There is an icon (button) on the regular Instagram app as well as a separate IGTV app. It is linked to your regular Instagram account so you keep all your followers between the two while publishing vertical longer-form videos on that new channel.

We have had a look at the feature for you:

The Concept

IGTV allows users to upload vertical videos, in full screen mode, that can be up to one hour long and the videos won’t disappear after 24 hours. According to Instagram, by 2020, 50% of all video viewing will be done on a mobile screen.

Unlike, where the user is required to search for something, IGTV starts playing the second the app is open (much like the action of turning on an actual television). That’s not to say you’re unable to search within IGTV. It also takes on a “on demand” feature as a video that you stopped watching will resume from where you left it.

Instagram curates videos for you based on your interests and who you follow, and you can also watch trending videos on the “popular” channel! And just like you can with Instagram Stories, you can also share IGTV videos to your friends through Instagram Direct.

The goal of IGTV is to be more like YouTube, and less like Netflix. IGTV is meant more for following your favourite influencers or vloggers, instead of the Hollywood elite. 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.

It is not possible to use advertisement yet on IGTV. However, Instagram says it has future plans for advertising options.

TV Channels that have gone viral

Netflix put up a whole hour of Cole Sprouse seductively eating a cheeseburger:

Cole Sprouse eating a burger

National Geographic put a whole show on IGTV, runtime 45 minutes, called “One Strange Rock,” about the many wonders of planet earth. The same show is available on television show, but the network reedited it so it could be viewed in vertical form on Instagram. It had 360,000 views in the first 24 hours, and now tops 1.3 million views since being posted last month.


  • 1 hour length of each video (only larger, verified Instagram accounts can post more than 10 minutes).
  • Full screen on smart-phones and vertical. Instagram has noted that the reason videos are vertical is with the intention that videos are recorded using mobile. This is to encourage videos that are not heavily edited but rather taken on a more “raw” look and feel.
  • IGTV enables users to add a title and description (including @-mentions and #-tags) to each upload.
  • Create a thumbnail for said video so your profile always looks organized and professional.
  • Because it integrates with Instagram, your followers can be notified about your new videos, and your video content will show up in their IGTV feed.


  • Social media managers may not love it. Now, when you’re shooting video content, you will have to either shoot for two ratios, or make sure that you’re able to vertically crop the video. It means more editing, and you won’t be able to share the same video to all your social platforms.


  • Vlogging
  • A product launch
  • A behind the scenes look
  • A product demo
  • An ad of latest sale campaign.

There are three IGTV categories

  • “For You” is a collection of videos that Instagram thinks you will like, made up from people you follow and Instagram’s own machine learning.
  • “Following” is a collection of videos from all the people on Instagram that you’re already following. Which is a good time to mention that if someone follows you on IGTV, they’ll be following your regular Instagram account, too!
  • “Popular” features all of the trending videos on IGTV, most likely ranked by popularity

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

Tips & Tricks

  • Subtitles: Because IGTV is made for smartphones, a lot of the viewers might not have the sound turned on. So it’s a good idea to add subtitles to your video.
  • Ideal length: Just because you can post a 10-minute video, doesn’t mean you should. Unless you have 10 minutes worth of interesting content, We’d advice you to keep your videos around 2–3 minute videos.
  • Vertical videos only: We see a lot of YouTubers reposting their landscape videos to IGTV. If you want to share a landscape video you already filmed for Youtube, you can scale the video to 9:16 and edit it for IGTV. While it won’t be perfect it might be watchable.

Promote your IGTV video

After you have uploaded your video, you can promote it with an Instagram Story. You can show a teaser of the video and add a direct link from your Instagram Story to your IGTV video like this:

  1. Click the link-symbol
  2. Choose the IGTV channel
  3. Pick the IGTV video you uploaded (before promoting it of course)

How to link from a story to a video on Instagram

IGTV insights and statistics

Instagram TV stats explained

Screenshot Instagram Video Insighs

  • Views: Amount of views your video got
  • Likes: Self-explanatory
  • Comments: Same
  • Audience retention: IGTV will show you what percentage of people watch your video in its entirety and gives you an overview of how many percent view how much of your video. This will give you a good idea of what part of the video makes people drop off.


How to promote content?

Use Instagram Influencers!

Is it possible to link from insta-story to IGTV?

Yes, just click the link symbol in the insta-story and choose the channel to link to it

How can influencers promote the video?

  • Create a link from an Instastory to IGTV
  • Share the video using the „send“ button within IGTV
  • Share it by copying the url

Can u put # and @ in videos?

Yes. Put the info in the description of the video and then the video comes up in Instagram’s #-flow

How to get an account that can upload 1 hour clips?

Get verified on Instagram (displayed as a blue check-symbol next to the Instagram account-name)

IGTV = the new YouTube?

The most common question that might pop up in our head is pretty clear: Is IGTV a direct attack on YouTube? Does it aim to be the new main platform for digital video content?

We are convinced that YouTube is the “all-purpose platform” for creators. It is the stage for polished, finished videos, whereas IGTV rather captures personal, “behind the scenes”-like content from professional as well as amateur producers. It is not directly competing with YouTube as a whole, but it is attacking one part of how the platform functions. It’s bringing the rawness and the imperfection of on-the-go social content into the game. People already started to take videos in vertical for Instagram Stories and Snapchat content — therefore it is of no surprise that Instagram is trying to think further.

We think that creators will not turn away from YouTube — because it is simply too big to fail and IGTV is still in the beginning of its development. IGTV currently appears to be rather a good addition, being the connection to the social part of video production. However, it has the power to become an interesting new player in the video content game.