It’s hard to deny that Instagram has an addictive factor – especially since the introduction of the story function – and now with the release of a new feature last month, users are set to spend even more time in the colorful world of Instagram: In June Instagram launched IGTV, short for Instagram TV, a new video app that enables users of the platform to upload videos with a duration of up to 60 minutes and in vertical 9:16 format.
With these features, IGTV is positioned on the spectrum of mobile video applications between YouTube vlogs and spontaneous video clips of Snapchat. Still, it remains integrated into your personal Instagram account. Sounds like the best of both worlds? Here you can learn how the app actually works and how to create your own IGTV channel:
IGTV – the app at a glance
IGTV works both as a standalone app and as an integrated add-on to the standard Instagram app. With the latest update of the app, you should automatically see IGTV integrated on your Instagram account. This occurs in the form of a small TV icon in the upper right corner of your newsfeed, right next to the direct messages.
By clicking on the TV icon you get directly access to your personal IGTV and a random video from a subscribed Instagramer will start immediately in the autoplay. At the same time, in the lower third of the display, you will see some other videos suggestions divided into the categories “For You”, “Subscribed” and “Popular”. These are oriented to your individual interests and on your connections to other users of the Instagram app.
In doing so, IGTV recreates the functions of traditional television: Just as in TV, the program starts playing automatically when you switch it on. Afterwards you can zip through the channels as you like – or rather “swipe through” them like you would do on Tinder. For digital natives, the interface is therefore very simple and intuitive. Functions such as Likes, Comments and Sharing via Direct Messages add the social media character and have been adopted without any changes from the original Instagram app.
A special feature of IGTV is that the app is also available as a desktop version, that has the same functions as the mobile version. For Instagram, this is really an innovation, as the platform was previously only designed for mobile uploads and had only limited functions in the web version. This change is probably justified by Instagram’s desire to make it easier for IGTV users to upload high-quality videos with big volumes of data.
How to start your own IGTV channel
The basic requirement for your own channel on IGTV is an Instagram account. This will be automatically connected to the new video platform when you register at IGTV and ensures that all existing connections to users are transferred to the IGTV account. This way Instagram users who already follow your Instagram account will also get your uploads suggested in their video feed on IGTV. In addition, your IGTV channel will also appear on your Instagram feed, right next to the story highlights.
Once you have connected your two accounts, you can upload your first video. This is possible in both the mobile and the desktop version. The only difference is that the mobile version only supports the upload of 10-minute-long video clips. In the desktop version, videos with up to 60 minutes duration are planned to be available soon – at least for large and verified Instagram accounts. Considering that the duration of the majority of videos and vlogs on YouTube usually lies between 10 and 15 minutes, the time limit still seems to be sufficient for the moment.
How to upload your first video
No matter which version of the app you use, your video should be at least 15 seconds and at maximum 10 minutes long. On the one hand, this prevents the upload of single Insta stories to IGTV. On the other hand, this regulation also ensures that the “highlights” on Instagram retain their relevance. Another good thing to know is that Instagram doesn’t support the direct upload of live videos either. After the live session, the video must first be saved on the device and then uploaded again.
Besides the length of the video, the format of the clip is particularly important! IGTV only allows vertical MP4 videos in the format 9:16. These can be uploaded easily and with a few steps together with a keyword-including title, a detailed capture and an extra thumbnail. When uploading, it is also recommended to improve the visibility of the video by using hashtags. It is also useful to include URLs in the descriptions and to draw attention to these links with call-to-actions. When creating the thumbnail, you should keep the narrow “selfie-format” and the file type JPEG in mind.
With this information your first steps on IGTV are no longer a problem! To create the perfect video for IGTV, read our article on the top 5 IGTV production tips here.