Instagram TV: A New Way to Share Long Form Videos In 2021

Instagram TV, or IGTV as it’s known, has taken the platform by storm since 2018 and grown as vertical, mobile-friendly video continues to become the social media standard. It’s no secret that Facebook has been doing several things in the video space to try and compete with YouTube. So it comes as no surprise that Facebook would also use Instagram to do the same against its video feed rivals such as Tik Tok.

When Instagram TV first launched, it was accessible after an update or through an IGTV standalone app. Since then, IGTV has integrated fully into Instagram’s video content options, providing content creators an outlet to build long format videos across multiple series for their audiences to follow.

IGTV Video Series Example

In this article we briefly cover how to use IGTV, how to upload videos to IGTV, as well as give you some ideas on content specific to IGTV.

Getting Started with IGTV

Step 1. Sign into the IGTV app using your current Instagram account.

How to use IGTV

Step 2. When you’ve signed in, you can view what other accounts you follow have shared, as well as other recommendations you’ve received.

Swipe up to browse through different categories of videos, including popular videos.

You can also continue watching videos you’ve already started watching on Instagram TV. If you don’t like what you’re watching, simply swipe left. IGTV gives you the option to like, comment, or share videos as well.

How to use IGTV

Step 3. To create your channel, swipe up and then click your profile picture. A button on IGTV will show up where you can click Create Channel.

When you do this, it will take you through some pages which briefly explain Instagram TV. Following this, it will take you to your new IGTV channel.

How to use IGTV How to use IGTV

How to use IGTV

Here you can simply click the plus sign on the right and add any vertical videos in your camera roll that are between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long.

How to add a video to instagram tv Instagram TV How to add videos

Step 4. After you’ve selected the video to upload, choose your title and write a brief description.

Instagram tv how to add a cover photo How to select a video for IGTV How to add a title and video description IGTV

Step 5. Next, add a cover photo by either selecting one from the video or uploading one from your camera roll.

Step 6. Click post! Congratulations, you’ve uploaded your first video to Instagram TV!

What Instagram TV or IGTV means for Content Creators and Videographers

Currently, distribution of IGTV content is somewhat limited. You’re unable to hashtag it or geo-tag it, which limits your distribution. However, it will be easier to direct people on Instagram from your content to your IGTV channel than directing them to YouTube or your website.

Now that you’re an expert on IGTV you might be asking yourself, “what makes IGTV different from Instagram’s Reels feature?”

What is the Difference Between IGTV and Instagram Reels?

IGTV really carved out a new lane for their content creators, allowing them to build episodic content for their followers. Much like you would find following your favourite tv series, this allowed people to build a routine around going back to a creator’s profile regularly to find new episodes of their favourite series. 

But what if instead of a long series of videos, you just wanted to catch a short clip of dogs or something to kill time? Cue Instagram Reels.

 

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Instagram Reels can most easily be described as Facebook’s reaction to Tik Tok. This feature now allows you to record short video bites, add music, and upload them to an endless sea of easily digestible feed of trendy videos. While Reels still bare some resemblance to IGTV Videos, there are some hard and fast rules in how they operate.

1. Video Customization

Instagram Reels Video Customization

Similar to Instagram’s Stories feature, Reels comes with it’s own toolbar nested on the left allowing you to add music, effects, and adjust the video speed or timer setting. IGTV however could be likened to how you would upload videos to your newsfeed, where you add a title, description, cover photo, and upload the footage as is.

2. Video Length

IGTV vs Reels

Probably the most noticeable difference between IGTV and Instagram Reels are their set restrictions on length. IGTV videos must be a minimum 1-minute in length, up to a maximum of 15-minutes (60-minutes if you’re verified). Instagram Reels on the other hand allow you to use any video, zoom in regardless of the format, and cut segments up for multiple videos in one. However, much like with Stories, you are limited to a maximum of 30-seconds for any full length Reel.

For all the quick maths out there, you will notice there is a limbo between 31-59 second videos that you cannot post to either IGTV or Reels. Have no fear, these lovely video lengths still have a home available to them as a regular instagram Post (remember those?).

Instagram Post Icon

3. Video Feed

IGTV Video Feed vs. Reel Video Feed

With Instagram’s push to dominate the Reel market, they have also made Reels accessible independently on your news feed. If you are missing the tab on your profile, this just means you have yet to make a Reel yet. Once you get cooking and post your first Reel, the tab should magically appear and you’ll be well on your way to influencer-ville!

One common bond that IGTV and Reels do share are their presence on your main Instagram feed. If you’re interested in making sure you have a nice and clean looking feed, or want to keep each video in its own lane, simply click on the ellipsis (…) at the top right of the video in your Posts feed and select “Remove From Profile Grid”. Fair warning though, this cannot be undone.

Now you no the differences, where do you go from here?

Should I Make IGTV Videos Or Instagram Reels?

Like every social media update and new added feature, the hardest part is learning what the heck these new features do. Now that you’re an expert in what’s what though you’re faced with a new dilemma, do I post IGTV content or Reel content?

The short answer is go with your gut and have fun with it. The long answer really comes down to the “Why”.

Why are you creating content? If it’s short and fun clips that show off your business or personality, then you’re likely going to want to focus on creating Reels that focus on bite sized stories. If you’re looking to tell a story, naturally IGTV would be the perfect outlet to channel your story over several episodes.

As you work through the trial and errors of being a content creator, try testing out content with your Stories. This will allow you to have a non-permanent avenue to gather feedback on your videos and refine your content to be its best. If you’re interested in more ways to get started, here are some content creator tips we found to set you in the right direction:

Steps to developing a meaningful IGTV Series by Later.com

Steps for creating more engaging videos on Tik Tok by Flexclip.com – We recommend stealing ideas like these to use in creating new and engaging Instagram Reel content

For us and our video production clients, we’re going to focus on taking content we’ve already shot in typical landscape and reformat it to fit nicely in the vertical format.

 

If you’re looking to take advantage of Instagram TV, reach out to us today.

Send us your ideas and let’s be creative together.