Video runs the world, and so does Instagram. The popular social media network proved it’s betting big on videos by launching IGTV for long-form videos. Creators flock to IGTV to share everything from Q&As to their morning routine; they repurpose YouTube videos and save their Instagram Lives for followers to enjoy later. 

Ready to start making IGTVs for your brand? Unsure how to create an IGTV channel? Here’s all the info you need to get started. 

What is IGTV?

While Instagram Stories is designed for spontaneous short-form videos, IGTV is aimed for long-form video content — think YouTube. The platform offers creators, publishers, and brands the opportunity to share videos up to 10 minutes long, or up to an hour-long if you’re a verified user.  

Users discover IGTV through the “Explore” section, through a specific profile, or by clicking on the IGTV icon at the top of their feed. Once you’re on IGTV, you’ll discover the experience is overall intuitive.

The app curates a collection of videos, based on the people you follow, popularity, and the secret sauce of Instagram’s algorithm. Once you finish watching one video, another one will automatically play, which can be pretty addictive.

There is also a small search bar, which allows you to only search for profiles (instead of search words like “Makeup” or “Vegan”). Just like regular Instagram posts, viewers can like, comment, or share IGTV videos via direct messages.

As IGTV was created for mobile viewing experience, initially only vertical videos were supported. Thankfully, after receiving feedback from creators, Instagram now supports both vertical and horizontal videos on IGTV. 

Videos uploaded to IGTV are usually well-planned and edited, as opposed to the spontaneous nature of Instagram Story. That being said, it doesn’t mean you’ll need to hire a professional crew to create fantastic video content for IGTV. Many influencers and creators use their smartphone’s camera and a simple video editing app to create engaging videos.

IGTV Video Length & Specs

  • File format: MP4
  • Minimum video length: At least 1 minute
  • Maximum video length: 15 minutes or one hour for verified users
  • Vertical aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Horizontal aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Minimum frame rate: 30 FPS (frames per second)
  • Minimum resolution: 720 pixels
  • Maximum file size for videos that are 10 minutes or less: 650MB
  • Maximum file size for videos up to 60 minutes: 3.6GB.
  • Cover photo size: 420px by 654px (or 1:1.55 ratio)

What’s great about IGTV?

While it took some time for brands, publishers, and influencers to adopt IGTV, it’s slowly becoming more popular for both viewers and creators. When done right, an IGTV channel is a beautiful way to grow your audience and build engagement. 

Besides the obvious benefit of longer videos, other significant advantages should make you consider creating long-form videos for IGTV. Instagram is pushing its new platform by giving IGTV videos a more prominent spot on the Explore page than photos, and promoting IGTV clips in the regular feed. 

Instagram is also leaving ads out of IGTV for now, hoping to encourage users to adopt the platform. For creators, it also means a better viewing experience in comparison to ad-filled YouTube. This factor, alongside the length possibilities, allows you to tell more in-depth stories that will hopefully make a more meaningful impact on your viewers.

Speaking about in-depth stories, IGTV also offers a Series feature, which allows creators to share ongoing video episodes and viewers to subscribe to their favorite series. That’s a wonderful way for brands to create real value for their audience. Entertaining, valuable content means the world in terms of connection and loyalty. 

Another unpredictable benefit of IGTV is the possibility to add links in each video’s description box – yes, a real clickable link that will take the user outside of the Instagram or IGTV app. That’s big since, until now, users could only add one link to their bio, and that’s it. Just think of all the possibilities this presents!

How to make an IGTV video 

By now, you’re probably pretty convinced you should be on IGTV. You may ask yourself – so, how do I upload a video to IGTV on Instagram? Look no further. As you upload your first IGTV video, your IGTV channel will be created as well automatically.

  1. When you’re on Instagram’s Explore page, tap the IGTV button to enter the IGTV feed. There, tap the “+” icon on the top right corner.
  2. Your camera roll will open up, and you’ll need to select the video you want to upload. Notice you can only upload videos that are at least one minute long. 
  3. Then, you will see a preview of the video you chose to make sure that’s the right one.
  4. Select a cover image (thumbnail) or add one from your gallery.
  5. You’re almost done!  Write your title, add a description which can include hashtags and links. Add to a series if it’s relevant (or start one by adding this as the first episode).
  6. Most importantly, turn the “Post a Preview” button on! It means a one-minute preview of your video will appear on your profile and feed so your followers can see it. You can also tap “Edit preview” to pick the exact clip you want for the preview.
  7. That’s it! Your video is now live on IGTV and a preview is posted to your feed. Viewers can like, comment, and share it. 

Once your video is live, you can also check and track your analytics by tapping the three dots icon and selecting “View Insights.” There, on top of the views, comments, and likes count, you’ll see your retention rate – which means how many people watched your whole video and at what point they started swiping away from it. Super useful info!

How to schedule an IGTV Video

A great way to make sure you post new content consistently on social media is by scheduling your posts in advance. Scheduling IGTV videos is done through the Facebook Creator Studio.

If you don’t have a Creator Studio account you can create one easily in case you have an Instagram Business or Creator profile.

The steps to scheduling are surprisingly easy. Just head to your Creator Studio, then select your Instagram dashboard. Click “Create Post” and then click “IGTV” option.

Here is what it looks like once you’re in the IGTV studio. From here all you do is upload your video, give it a title and description and you’re ready to publish!

How to create an IGTV series

If you’re thinking of ways to leverage IGTV,  you should seriously consider creating an IGTV series. Release videos regularly, and signed-up followers will be notified each time you’ll post a new video – engagement alert!

The concept of your series should be not only creative but authentic to your brand and audience.

Here’s the incredibly easy way to create an IGTV series:

  1. When you’re on the Title and Description page or when you edit a live video, tap “Add to Series”. 
  2. Give your series a name and description.

There you go — your video is now nested under the new series and you can add more content later.

IGTV video ideas 

Now that we’re finished with all the technical stuff let’s focus on what matters the most: content! What exactly are you going to post on IGTV? While the answer to this question is based on who you or your brand are, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Tutorials and how-tos

Everybody loves to learn new things, and viewers often get super hooked on videos that show how something is done. From a makeup tutorial to a professional how-to, find your expertise and share with the world.

Q&As or AMAs

That’s a great way to make clever use of your different social media platforms. Use the “Questions” feature on Instagram Stories, and tell your followers to ask you anything. Then make a video of yourself replying to your fans’ questions and share it on IGTV. 

Interviews

Schedule a virtual or real interview with someone relevant to your field. For example, if you’re a foodie blogger, you might host a chef for inside secrets or tips. Host a panel with other experts in your industry and publish to IGTV as part of a larger series.

Unboxing

Unboxing is one of those social media trends that never seems to fade. Showing off your products, or adding in someone else’s user-generated content (UGC) into your IGTV can be a great way to create a connection — and a little bit of envy — for viewers who haven’t yet hit that “add to cart” button.

A “day in the life” video

Whether you’re a brand or an individual creator, get up-and-close with your audience by giving them a sneak peek to your everyday life. You can show the behind-the-scenes of your business, how a product is created, or simply your daily routine. 

IGTV Tips and Tricks

Last step before IGTV success? Learn these secret tips to master the platform. 

Make a great first impression.

Give thought to your video’s cover image and the first couple of seconds. They matter more than you might think! Make sure the cover of your photo is engaging and gives a good idea of what your video is about. Since viewers scroll very quickly if they’re not interested, hook them early on by not wasting time and telling them why they should keep watching.

Video orientation matters. 

While IGTV allows video to be either horizontal or landscape, each orientation has its pro and cons. Vertical IGTVs are ideal for a mobile experience, and they’re par for the course on Instagram. On the other hand, vertical videos aren’t ideal for sharing on other social platforms, so keep that in mind if you’re a fan of publishing your content series on multiple platforms. 

Plus, Vimeo Create allows you to make videos already optimized for Instagram’s exact specs.

Promote your video everywhere.

Luckily, there are many different ways to promote your IGTV video once published. First and foremost, we strongly recommend sharing a 1-minute preview of your IGTV video to your Instagram feed so it will live on your Instagram profile as well. Outside of Instagram, you can share your IGTV video on a Facebook page, twitter, or on your newsletter. 

Give people a good reason to watch your videos and don’t force content that isn’t true to the IGTV platform. Create innovative content designed specifically for YouTube and IGTV, or stick to the usual Stories and Feed if that makes more sense for your brand or small business.

How to create an IGTV video with Vimeo Create

Making a professional-looking long-form video for IGTV is super easy with Vimeo Create. Watch this video to learn how it’s done, or follow the steps below: 

Step 1: Create a new video.

Step 2: Upload the media you’d like to include in your IGTV video, add text, and be sure to select Portrait size in the dropdown menu.

Step 3: Pick a style, color theme, and font.

Step 4: Select music from our licensed library or upload your own. Then, it’s time to give your video a title!

Step 5: Preview your video, and decide whether to go back and edit or to save.

Step 6: Download your video to upload it to IGTV!

Wrapping up 

You’ve learned everything about IGTV specs, how to create your first IGTV video, and best practices for achieving success. Now it’s time to get started! 

Make an IGTV video in minutes with Vimeo Create