Instagram TV: What Brands Need to Know to Get Started

Instagram TV

On June 20th, 2018, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced the social network will be launching Instagram TV (IGTV), a long-form video app that’s additionally accessible within Instagram. It is going to be rolling out over the next few weeks to global customers on Android and iPhone devices.

The full-screen, vertical videos—which anybody can add—could be up to an hour long, prompting speculation that Instagram is making a home for content material usually suited to YouTube and Snapchat. At the very least, the move speaks to the dramatic rise in reputation of video content material on social media.

In the same announcement, Instagram revealed that it has reached 1 billion customers, that means it’s the third largest social network after YouTube (Facebook is the biggest). Not surprisingly, this means brands will likely be scrambling to figure out a long-form social video strategy (if they haven’t already) and be the first to make a giant splash on Instagram TV.

What brands have to know about IGTV

  • Videos are full screen and vertical
  • Video length is 15 seconds to 60 minutes (The total 60 minutes is at the moment only available to larger accounts or verified accounts. Everybody else has a limit of 10 minutes.)
  • Customers can watch inside the Instagram app or on the Instagram TV app
  • Videos play automatically for customers upon opening the Instagram TV app
  • Creators can add “swipe up” call-to-action on videos
  • Within the Instagram TV app, customers have the choice to browse between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular,” and “Continue Watching” tabs
  • Engagement: customers can like or comment on videos, or send videos to friends in Direct
  • Creators have their own channels, like YouTube (and anybody could be a creator)
  • Videos could be uploaded to the Instagram TV app or the web
  • Videos on Instagram TV can be uploaded to Facebook Watch
  • File size: up to 3.6GB

File type: .MP4

  • Video size: 9:16
  • Video thumbnail/cover picture: .JPG
  • As of launch, no advertising options can be found, however, Instagram says it eventually plans to ensure popular video creators are able to make money from their efforts

instagram tv

How should brands make the most of Instagram TV?

In his announcement, Systrom mentioned two Instagram influencers already utilizing IGTV: LaurDIY, who is utilizing it to post her latest DIY how-to videos, and King Bach, sharing his newest comedy skits. Besides, brands have a full range of possibility to work with. It will be smart to look to YouTube for inspiration and analyze what performs well there.

Examples of brands utilizing IGTV

Influencers and brands alike have been fast to jump on the IGTV train, experimenting with a range of different styles and formats.

Zooey in the City

The young fashion influencer is utilizing IGTV to launch “The Zooey Show”, a personal channel similar to what we’ve come to expect from YouTube influencers. Episodes are a mix of Q&A and behind-the-scenes material, often under a few minutes each. Besides the title, the content material is not that different from her Instagram Stories content material.

  • The first episode answers three common questions she will get from followers, like why she always wears sunglasses in photos (answer: she’s a child, so she usually closes her eyes in photos)
  • Another episode options Zooey purchasing at the Long Beach Flea Market

instagram tv

Petra Collins

The Canadian photographer and videographer used IGTV to debut excerpts of and construct buzz around the new horror short she directed starring Selena Gomez. The teasers, that are around 30 seconds each, embrace nightmare-inducing imagery of Gomez sucking on an eyeball. The short movie will eventually be debuting in full on IGTV.

instagram tv


Everlane is already known for their good Instagram Stories and it seems like their first crack at an IGTV strategy is more of the same. In their newest episode, an investigation into the Canadian Tuxedo, it appears that they’ve simply strung together some of their newest Instagram Stories into a longer, continuous video.

instagram tv

The Klog

Similar to their Instagram Stories, The Klog (a Korean beauty blog) is bringing more of their useful skincare tips and how-to content material to IGTV, with greater quality videos edited to fit the “tv” format (e.g., a soundtrack and voice overs are layered over photographs to make the video appear continuous ). The length of their videos is between one and 4 minutes on average.

The screenshot below is from a video on sunscreen application tips, which options interviews and voice-overs from 4 different sunscreen customers. The video additionally features a call-to-action to follow @theklog.

instagram tv

National Geographic

National Geographic, the largest non-celebrity brand on Instagram, is already known for their wonderful live video (and regular video) content material. For the launch of IGTV, they’ve shared the first episode of “One Strange Rock”, a TV show directed by Darren Aranofsky and narrated by Will Smith for NatGeo TV. It’s 47 minutes long and contains interviews with astronauts, including Peggy Wilson and Chris Hadfield, about their perspectives on Earth.

instagram tv

Travel Alberta

The tourism channel shared a two-minute bicycle tour of Edmonton called “Exploring Edmonton on Wheels.” There’s additionally a Segway involved. Overall, the video presents a more polished Instagram Story, or even a blog post became a professional video.

instagram tv

What’s Gaby Cooking?

This home cook and meals blogger is no stranger to recipe videos. With IGTV she is turning her tutorial Instagram Stories into polished, how-to recipe videos fit for TV. See pictures from her Avocado Kale Caesar Salad recipe video below.

instagram tv

Man Repeller

The quirky fashion channel and website debuted on IGTV with a three-minute behind-the-scenes expose known as “A Week in the Life of Man Repeller HQ,” giving followers a peek at what it’s like to work for the media firm. The video isn’t particularly polished or professional looking, maintaining with the “honest, down-to-earth” quality the brand is known for, and options snippets of heated conversation about the texture of bananas and the climate in New York.

instagram tv

You don’t need to be a TV executive to know what sort of video content material will resonate with your viewers. However, it’s clear that Instagram is positioning IGTV as a home for content material that entertains, rather than short personal updates. When you’re unsure what your followers may want to see on your channel, it never hurts to ask.

Remember that Instagram customers are more likely to follow people they don’t know than customers on other platforms and that younger audiences tend to prefer amateur content material to professional, polished content material. Moreover, IGTV was created with mobile-first viewers in mind, unlike YouTube (where videos are often played on desktop and always horizontal, similar to TV).

In any case, before jumping into IGTV, it is going to be important to construct a social video strategy for your brand and get equipped with our social video toolkit. Or, if you already have a social video strategy, you’ll want to figure out how IGTV fits into it. With built-in viewers almost as large as YouTube, IGTV will certainly be hard to ignore.

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