Instagram TV

Instagram just hit us hard with their new video platform – IGTV.  It’s available now, and people are already starting to use it.  I feel like I’m getting inundated with IGTV videos already.  In today’s post we want to explain what it is and give you all the information you need to understand the platform better.  To start, IGTV is available in your Instagram app, as well as in a standalone IGTV app.  To start:

Instagram TV

What is IGTV?

IGTV is Instagram’s way of bringing you longer form videos.  Many are saying that it’s Instagram’s way of disrupting the traditional TV experience, but I’m not convinced of that just yet.  I think it’s going to be incredible competition for YouTube, but I’m not convinced that it will replace the way we watch TV in general.  It’s estimated that by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic – and that’s a big reason why Instagram is cashing in on this one.  Unlike YouTube, IGTV is made up of all vertical videos, which kind of makes sense for the way that we use our mobile devices – doesn’t it?  Instagram curates videos for you based on your interests and who you follow. And just like you can with Instagram Stories, you can also share IGTV videos to your friends through Instagram Direct.

That said, I am not going to give up watching traditional TV (albeit, through the Internet) in order to watch Instagram content creators. Sorry – that’s just not my jam.  Why?  Because anyone on Instagram can create their own IGTV channel and while I think there’s a lot of talent out there, I would much rather see polished TV shows.  Whether that’s through Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon – those are the kinds of shows I want to watch.  For now, videos can be 10 minutes for most accounts, and up to one hour for larger accounts, but Instagram has said that eventually there will be no time limit.

The good news is that there are no ads.  The bad news?  They are coming.  According to Instagram, they are currently focused on building engagement, but that doesn’t limit their ability to change direction on this one later.  As I’ve said in other posts, I am not a fan of the advertisements, so that might deter me from wanting to watch a lot of IGTV, but we will see how this plays out.

Instagram TV

What Else Do You Need to Know?

  • As I said – IGTV is a platform for vertical videos only.  You can technically upload a horizontal video, but that’s not the best way to experience the video.  Why are they going with vertical?  Well, it’s an easy way for everyone to feel like they can create a video.  This takes the pressure off in terms of knowing how to use a professional camera and will encourage people to make videos on their phone.  Vertical videos also make a better mobile experience because you don’t have to rotate your phone!  Win, win.
  • IGTV is directly competing with YouTube, not Netflix.  I’ve heard some people suggesting that IGTV is going to directly compete with Netflix, but I honestly don’t understand how.  No offense to the folks on Instagram, but they’re not at the same level as paid actors. Not to mention, some of the videos I’ve seen on Instagram are hella-grainy, so no, I wouldn’t spend hours upon hours wanting to watch those kinds of things.  I’m not saying that these people aren’t talented, but it’s not my preferred method of entertainment. It’s where I go to get info, and see what the rest of the world is up to.

Instagram TV

How Can You Create an IGTV Channel?

Step 1: Sign into the IGTV App

Step 2: Click on the settings gear icon in the right-hand corner, and then click “create channel”. And, you’re done.  It’s really that simple.

There are a few more steps when it comes to uploading, but it’s equally as simple:

Step 1: Go to your new 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 to IGTV

Step 3: Select a vertical video from your camera roll

Step 4: Write your title and add a description. Just like on YouTube, you’ll want to add in any relevant keywords to your description to make it easier for people to find your videos on IGTV.

Step 5: Add a cover photo! You can upload your own custom cover, or choose a thumbnail from your video. The cover photo is what will show up on your channel page and in the IGTV categories, so make it catchy!

Step 6: Click the post button and celebrate! You’ve just uploaded your first video to your IGTV channel.

Step 7: View Your IGTV Analytics. Click on the “…” button beside the like, comment, and share buttons on your IGTV video. From here you can click “View Insights” or copy the link to your video (you can also delete your video here if you need to). When you click on “View Insights” you’ll be able to see your views, likes, and comments.

In general, this is a great move on Instagram’s part.  I think that it’s going to help content creators to be able to get their message out in a bigger way.  I do think it’s going to compete with YouTube a bit, but I think it’s only a matter of time before YouTube ups their game in order to combat that competition.  Let us know if you’ve tried IGTV and what your thoughts are on it.