Instagram TV – What Marketers Need to Know

Instagram TV is Here

If you’ve installed the latest update for your Instagram app, you may have noticed a new icon up in the top right corner. If you haven’t guessed it yet, that little TV represents Instagram’s latest development – Instagram TV (IGTV). IGTV is the brand new long-form video space of Instagram. How is IGTV different from Instagram Stories or Instagram Live? Glad you asked. Read along for everything you need to know to keep your brand in the loop of what’s sure to become one of the leading spaces for mobile video content.

What is Instagram TV?

Instagram TV is essentially a mobile space dedicated solely to longer-form, full-screen, vertical video content. Users can access IGTV via their normal Instagram feeds or through the new standalone IGTV app. Videos can range anywhere from 15 seconds to 60 minutes, however, right now the full 60 minutes is only available to larger, verified accounts. For all other users, the limit is currently 10 minutes. Just like a good old fashioned cable TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open it and users have the option to find videos they want to watch by searching for specific creators (or “channels”), or by browsing the “For You”, “Following”, “Popular”, and “Continue Watching” tabs. In IGTV, creators have their own channels, and once uploaded, the videos live on the channel permanently unlike the 24-hour time limit on Instagram Stories or Instagram Live videos.

Created with a mobile-first audience in mind, IGTV has exciting potential to combine the quality long-form content typically found in places like YouTube or Twitch with a full-screen, immersive mobile experience that’s seamlessly integrated with one of the most used apps in the world. This move by Instagram makes a lot of sense as mobile video consumption on social media platforms is rapidly increasing every year.

How Can Your Brand Use IGTV Now?

As of now, there are no paid advertising options available on IGTV (although I would bet money that this won’t be the case for long), but there are still great possibilities for brands and business to engage with their target audience and ultimately increase their ROI. Plus, integrating IGTV into your marketing plan now will ultimately put you in a much better position for when the inevitable paid advertising features become available.

1. Create Your Channel
This is an obvious one! Take the first step to adding IGTV into your social media strategy by becoming a “creator” and making your own channel. Don’t worry – it’s super easy! Simply open IGTV, tap the gear wheel icon on the right-hand side of the screen, and then tap “Create Channel”. It’s as simple as that! Your channel name will be the same as your Instagram username so if you have multiple accounts make sure you’re signed into the correct one before creating your channel.

2. Start Small
While it may be tempting to dive right into an extensive, hour-long video (because hey, you can!) starting out a bit smaller is probably your best bet. While it has become increasingly more common for brands and influencers to post a continuous stream of 15 sec Instagram Stories, essentially creating a longer multi-minute video when watched in succession, most users are still not quite accustomed to watching true long-form content on Instagram so creating the demand for the full 60 minutes will most likely be a somewhat gradual process. So instead of immediately hiring a production crew & jumping into the deep end, ease into the IGTV waters with a few shorter 2-3 minute videos to get your feet wet and go from there.

3. Experiment
Now is the time to really play around with the possibilities of IGTV before any marketing dollars are at stake. Think outside of the box and try new things to see what your audience responds to and what they don’t. Keep your brand identity in mind and try to find ways to present it in a fresh, exciting way. For example, Urban Outfitters is using IGTV to launch a series called “Open Up” where celeb guests answer fun, personal questions from one of those just-about-vintage paper fortune tellers. Of course, the episodes are set in an aesthetically pleasing room decked out in trendy decor, books, & accessories that can all be found at – you guessed it – Urban Outfitters. Clever, huh? Airbnb, on the other hand, is launching a series of “Not Yet Trending” videos where they highlight newly popular locations for Airbnb guests and show users all of the reasons they should consider these places when planning their vacations. These are just a few examples of the many ways IGTV content can go. Think behind the scenes sneak peeks, interviews with the creators of your products, special announcements, in-depth product reviews, or anything else that makes sense for your business. Becoming active organically on IGTV now will ensure that by the time paid marketing is available, you’ll have an idea of what works and what your audience likes to engage with.

Things to Keep in Mind

While the fast-paced and ever-changing environment of the social media landscape can feel overwhelming sometimes from a marketing perspective, it’s important to stay on top of what is happening there as you can be sure your customers (& competitors) are.

A few things to keep in mind when planning out your new content for IGTV:

  • An obvious but important one – use only vertical videos with a 9:16 ratio to ensure the immersive experience is kept intact and nothing important is being cut out of your video.
  • Plan your IGTV posts like you would any other social media content – the algorithm is friendlier to accounts who post consistently and often.
  • Get creative with your CTAs. Not every video needs to necessarily be about driving a sale, but growing & nurturing your customer base should always be at the heart of your marketing moves. Since IGTV videos are not clickable (yet), consider adding an image to the end of your video with the URL of your business’ website or calling out within the video where customers can most easily find your products or services.
  • Video is important to your bottom line – a recent survey from Animoto found that 96% of consumers found videos helpful for making decisions about their online purchases and 73% of all consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching videos about the product or service they are purchasing.

So there you have it, folks. IGTV is here and with a built-in 1 billion user customer base, I think it’s safe to say it is important. There are so many possibilities for connecting with and engaging your audience with this brand new and unique video space, the only question is when will you start?


About the Author: Kaylah Rodriguez is a Social Media Marketing Specialist at Musictoday. She manages both organic and paid social campaigns, as well as sweepstakes and giveaways.