Updated: 22 January, 2020.
IGTV has now been around for about a year, and there's still so many questions surrounding it. So let's save you some time, and help you get creating your videos faster. Here's everything you wanted to know about IGTV and more.
Everything you wanted to know about IGTV and more
What the heck is IGTV?
IGTV (or Instagram TV), is Instagram's latest move into video. While we've had short videos on our regular Instagram feeds for a while, and even Instagram Stories, IGTV is a whole different ball game. While a lot of people describe IGTV as an alternative to YouTube, IGTV is very different in that it's not a search engine like YouTube. Having said that, IGTV's strengths lay in the fact that it's more a social platform. Of course being new, IGTV also doesn't have anywhere near the features YouTube has, but look out – Instagram is serious about cementing themselves in the world of video.
How Do I Access IGTV?
The best way to access IGTV is by downloading the IGTV app. From there you can watch browse and watch videos and you can upload them.
Having said that, you can also access IGTV from the Instagram app. You'll see a button for IGTV on your Explore Page, by tapping on the search icon at the bottom of your Instagram screen, as shown in the photo below.
You might also notice some IGTV videos as you're scrolling through Instagram. That's because Instagram allows you to put a preview of your IGTV video on your Instagram profile, in place of an image. This allows your followers to watch a little bit of your IGTV video on Instagram, and then Instagram will prompt them to tap on the video to watch the rest of it on IGTV.
Can I use IGTV on my computer or is it app only?
Yes and no. Here's where it gets a little tricky. You can upload from your computer. And people can watch one of your videos on the computer if you send them a link. But IGTV isn't browsable or searchable on desktops and laptops as yet. For the full experience, you'll want to download the IGTV app on your phone.
How do I start an IGTV Channel?
Starting an IGTV Channel cannot be easier if you are already on Instagram. Simply follow these instructions:
- Go to your app store and do a search for IGTV
- Download the IGTV app on your phone and open the app
- Once you're in the app, log in as you would on Instagram
- Tap on the little gear as shown in the photo below
- And click on “Create Channel”
- Click “Next” and that's it!
How can my Instagram followers find my IGTV Videos?
Apart from clicking the IGTV button on their Instagram app, there's other ways for your Instagram followers to find your videos.
First, it's on your Instagram Profile. When someone visits your profile, they'll see an “IGTV button” that sits between your profile and your photos (as shown in the photo below). Once someone clicks on that button, it takes them to your IGTV channel. Your first video starts playing, and your other videos are displayed below it for your audience to scroll through and see what other videos you have on offer.
Do IGTV videos disappear?
No! Unlike Instagram Stories and Snapchat, your IGTV videos don't disappear. You're uploading them to your IGTV Channel, and they stay there indefinitely. This is brilliant news for Instagrammers who want to make sure they get more value out of the time they spend creating their videos.
Can I organize my IGTV videos?
Yes! With IGTV you can organize put your videos into a “Series”. This way you can create categories for your videos for your audience to enjoy and binge-watch and entire series. When you go to upload your video to IGTV, you'll be prompted to add your video to a Series if you wish. You can add your video to a current Series you have started, or create a new Series.
Here's an example of what it looks like on an Instagram profile when you've uploaded IGTV Videos into a Series. The image on the left shows you where to find a Series. And the image on the right shows you what you see when you tap on ‘Series'. Note: if there's a long list of Series, then you will need to swipe your screen up a little to see them all.
Can I share my IGTV videos on my Facebook Page
Yes! And this is a huge bonus. Instagram not only takes the hard work out of sharing your video on Facebook, it actually does it in a cool way. Once you've uploaded your video and are ready to hit that ‘post' button, there's an option there for you to share your IGTV video to a Facebook page that you have connected with Instagram.
But wait. There's more. Your Facebook audience don't need to click a link to transfer over to Instagram to watch your video. Your shared IGTV video is playable straight from Facebook! Having your IGTV videos playable on Facebook, is a huge bonus for you. You're getting twice the bang for your buck from one piece of content. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg!
Here's what your IGTV video will look like when you share it to Facebook:
Quick note: Be aware that the “play within Facebook” function only works if you check the “share to Facebook” box at the time of uploading your IGTV video. If you don't share at the time of uploading, you can copy and paste the link to share afterwards, but it won't play on Facebook, it'll simply be a link that takes people to Instagram to watch.
Is There a Search Function in IGTV?
Since the app is so new, the answer to that is: “kind of”. There is a search function where you can search for Instagrammers who have an IGTV channel. And you can use the search function to type in a keyword, but it only brings up IGTV channels using that keyword.
Tip for you: since using keywords in the search function brings up channels, if your keywords are in your Instagram name, then you'll be searchable. For example, if your name on your Instagram profile is Cooking Queen – then your channel will come up if someone searches on IGTV for Cooking.
But Vertical Video, what?
While you'll notice most videos on IGTV are vertical, IGTV now also supports horizontal video. If you're not sure whether you should be creating vertical or horizontal videos, you'll want to head on over to my blog post “Vertical vs Horizontal Video, what you need to know for IGTV”. In that blog post I go over the pros and cons of both, and how to choose which video format is best for you.
How long are IGTV videos?
IGTV videos need to be a minimum of 1 minute long. You can upload videos up to 15 minutes long from your phone. For videos up to 60 minutes long, you'll need to upload from your desktop/laptop. Note also that IGTV videos need to be in MP4 format.
Are Hashtags Used on IGTV like Instagram
You can certainly add hashtags to your video descriptions on IGTV. Hashtags in your descriptions are clickable, and they take you to the hashtag search. However right now, if you search hashtags within Instagram, you can't see IGTV videos there, only Insta Stories. Having said that, there may be an update very soon where that changes.
Should I make videos for IGTV?
Ummmm… YES! If your audience is on Instagram (and I assume they are if you're reading this post) you should at the very least take a better look at IGTV. Why? Instagram is a major player in social media – you know they've done their research and aren't going into this blindly.
Bonus for you: if you already have an audience on Instagram, they'll start getting notifications that you've posted a video. Instagram is so dedicated to making this work, they're doing their best to get your videos shown to your audience. Unlike starting video on a completely new social platform, at least on IGTV you have a head start with your Instagram audience.
So now, you're ready to create your own IGTV videos? I've got you covered with a post on Getting Started on IGTV for Business. I'll take you right through the process of figuring out what sort of videos to create for your business.
Oh and if you have any other questions, please drop them in a comment below, and I'll be very happy to answer them for you.