Video content is an important part of any marketing strategy, and one of those options marketers should utilize is Instagram TV, more commonly referred to as IGTV. As the place to showcase longer videos on one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, IGTV plays a critical role in reaching and engaging with your audience through compelling content.
But how does IGTV work, and what type of videos should marketers create for IGTV? That’s what we’re here to discuss, so let’s jump in.
IGTV is a feature that allows creators to share long-form videos on Instagram. While videos on the Feed are limited to 60 seconds, that’s the minimum length for an IGTV video. In fact, they can be as long as 60 minutes.
Created in 2018 as a potential rival to YouTube, IGTV has changed over the years as user behavior has led to changes like removing the IGTV icon button. And while IGTV does exist as a standalone app, it’s not necessary for creators or users to have it, as IGTV videos can be found in many ways on Instagram, like previews on the Feed, the IGTV channel on Explore, and directly on creators’ profiles.
The option to post a video as an IGTV is available for all Instagram accounts for videos longer than a minute.
In the Instagram app, start adding the video as you would any normal Feed post. When you click Next, you’ll get the option to share the video as a short video – a one-minute snippet shared as a Feed post – or a long video, which is IGTV.
Then, choose a cover image either by selecting a frame from the video or by uploading your own art. The recommended cover image size is 420px by 654 px (1:1.55 ratio).
In the next step, you can add a title and description. These, combined with the cover image, can help your video get noticed or discovered, so make sure to include some hashtags in the description and make the title interesting.
Other options before posting:
These are the most important IGTV dimensions and requirements to know when creating or downloading your content:
You know how to make an IGTV video, but what kind of content will you create? And what are some Instagram content hacks or keys to helping your video perform as best as possible?
Here we’ve collected some ideas for the types of IGTV videos you could create, as well as some of the most important things to consider when doing so.
One thing to remember is that you can post Instagram Live videos as IGTVs so that they stay on your profile after you went live. Some formats, like Instagram Live shopping, work better just as live videos, while others make sense to be rewatched as an IGTV. Feel free to experiment and see what your audience responds to, then give them more of it.
A tutorial-style video can be a powerful way to bring in new audiences and engage the ones you already have. There are many different ways your brand can use how-to videos that your audience will find useful.
With such a huge demand for DIY content, you should find a way to integrate it into your strategy. If you’re an FMCG brand, think about how you can create new easy-to-follow recipes. If you’re a fashion brand, you could give tips on outfit combinations… the possibilities are endless.
Instagram is the place to discover and strike up collaborations with influencers. IGTV can be used as a space to host interviews with influencers or other experts that are relevant in your industry. It’s easy to utilize these resources and allows you to tap into the influencer’s audience.
Your organization or brand likely has some pretty cool stuff in the works – take advantage of this and show your fans and followers what’s happening behind the scenes. This could be anything from a tour of your office to the conferences your employees are attending. This is a simple step toward humanizing your brand that can pay big dividends.
Instead of a simple, promotional video where you showcase your new products, take a new perspective and have a charismatic team member show off often-overlooked features or services of your product.
A classic example of this genre on the user-generated content side is people realizing some of the features that their Apple laptop had without their knowledge. Now, go through your product or company and try to highlight something that’s underutilized.
It’s an easy way to show your current customers different content while, at the same time, impressing new audiences or potential customers.
This one works well live but can also have some value as an IGTV video. Game shows are a familiar format no matter the audience, and they offer a great way to be entertaining and engage with the audience. So why not try to replicate that format in a way that promotes your brand?
It may sound hard to do, but there are many different creative angles you could take.
For example, if you’re a perfume brand, you could have two people guess the most popular fragrance scents, write them down on whiteboards, then show them to the camera. If your product is your knowledge on a particular topic, then it’s a fun way to share some of the insights that your company can provide.
The game show format is a great way to keep viewers invested in your content. They’ll be more likely to stick around until the very end because they’ll want to see who wins!
IGTV is built for vertical video, so keep that in mind when shooting and uploading your footage. Don’t assume that your viewers will be willing to switch their screen orientation to view your content.
It’s better to either shoot vertically or, if you’re repurposing content that may appear in other places or formats, edit the horizontal footage for a vertical format with a social media video editing tool.
Although IGTV videos can be up to 15 minutes when uploaded on mobile and a whole hour when uploaded on the web, you still need to make sure that the length matches the content. In other words, don’t try to drag out a 5-minute behind-the-scenes video to 15 minutes just because you can.
Use social media analytics to get a deep understanding of who your audiences are. Identify where they’re from, their age group, as well as their social media affinities to help fuel your content creation. It’s especially important to keep diversity at the front of your mind when making content and include spokespeople from different genders, orientations, races, and backgrounds.
IGTV allows you to add subtitles to your video, which is essential for a few reasons. First, some of your viewers or followers might be deaf or hard-of-hearing. It’s important to ensure that you make your media as accessible as possible for everyone.
Secondly, multiple publishers reported that up to 85% of people watched videos on Facebook or Instagram with the sound off, and a US consumer survey found that 80% of people were more likely to watch an entire video if it had captions.
With the vast majority of people consuming content on mute, you’d be missing out on tons of views! More and more people are consuming content on-the-go, so always be sure to make your content user-friendly.
In addition to subtitles, pop-up text is a great way to get your message across while making your content more engaging. Unlike subtitles, you’re able to put animated text wherever you want.
This means you can really experiment and go against the traditional rule of thirds. A great way to use pop-up text is to reiterate your main points with on-screen text throughout the length of the video.
Hashtags aren’t just for traditional Instagram posts – you can also use them throughout in the caption and description text of your IGTV post. Stay away from oversaturated hashtags such as #food, #travel, #business, #follow, etc. You’ll need to strike a balance between using hashtags that are brand specific, but not so specific that no one can find them.
IGTV allows you to choose cover images for your video. The photo you select will appear in the Instagram Feed when you publish a video and can be the deciding factor that determines if a user will click or scroll past.
If you don’t take the time to choose an engaging photo, Instagram’s algorithm will choose one for you. And as you can imagine, what they choose at random may not be what your video is actually about.
You can build up audience expectations by creating a regular or semi-regular IGTV schedule, and tease what’s coming in the next episode in other places. For example, a day or a few hours before your IGTV segment goes live, you can create an Instagram Story teasing your new video, or a Story or Reel that recaps what you covered in the previous video with the schedule for the next one clearly displayed.
The Instagram algorithm can be tricky to predict, so it’s best to take it into your own hands and promote where possible.
IGTV is part of your larger overall content marketing strategy, and as such, it should look and feel like something the audience could identify as coming from your brand or company.
So, when choosing to brainstorm your IGTV segments, always make sure to include branded marketing items that promote your brand’s colors and logos. You can even take a more creative approach and encourage people that are featured in your videos to wear branded apparel.
Like all social media content, it’s crucial that you measure your results. Pick the best Instagram analytics tools for your brand, and measure the views and demographics of the people who watch your IGTV content.
Keep tabs on all of your videos and monitor if there are any drastic changes over time. Don’t be afraid to play around with posting times, promotion techniques, and topics to find a formula that works for your organization.
IGTV can be a fun and creative way to engage your Instagram audiences. With a bit of planning and a long-term strategy, IGTV can be one of the most useful tools in your growing social media arsenal.
Amy Lecza is the Director of Content Marketing at G2 Crowd. She’s passionate about learning, editing, copywriting, and has been known to keep a red pen on her person for copy editing emergencies.