A Guide to Instagram’s IGTV

Earlier in the month, Barberstock’s, Deanna Sparling, helped facilitate a workshop at the eTourism Summit focused on shooting and editing video for the latest social app, IGTV. Still a very new medium in the social atmosphere, many destinations haven’t dived into this video channel quite yet. Although, it hasn’t taken off as one would expect, IGTV shouldn’t be off the table in your video marketing strategy. With video on the up and up, it’s a cost-effective medium built into the unquestionably popular Instagram app.


Here is everything you need to know about IGTV.


IGTV: What Is it?

As its name implies, IGTV is a video app created by Instagram to get them into the video media game. As video becomes a dominant form of content in digital marketing, Instagram has taken the initiative to create a standalone app that can compete with the likes of YouTube.

Launched in June 2018, IGTV is still nascent, but this brings some nice benefits to early adopters, including no ads, limited competition and tremendous room for growth. However, it also lacks the video/app user base that YouTube has, and will likely change drastically in its first few years. Users who don’t have the app, but who have an Instagram account can still use IGTV, but they must first make an IGTV channel.




How It Works

  • Users create a channel through the Instagram App, IGTV app or on Instagram.com
  • From there, they upload videos to their IGTV channel via the Instagram app, the IGTV app or via Instagram.com
  • Videos are uploaded and not shot live
  • You can swipe up to discover more — switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.”
  • You can like, comment and send videos to friends in direct messaging


How It’s Different from Other Video Apps

  • IGTV differs from Instagram Stories and other phone video apps in that it allows for the publication of videos up to 10 minutes long for regular users, and up to an hour long for verified users.
  • The app is strictly meant for phone viewing, which is why videos must be vertical (vertical video is easier to record and upload from a smartphone)
  • Videos cannot be shared via other channels (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc) 


How to Film for IGTV

  • Vertical recording with an aspect ratio of 9:16
  • Minimum frame rate of 30 frames per second
  • Minimum resolution of 720 pixels
  • Videos must be longer than 15 seconds and under 10 minutes for regular users
  • Those with verified accounts can upload videos that are up to an hour long, however, because of the size of the 1-hour videos, they must be uploaded via computer
  • Videos can be shot horizontally, but will require more editing
  • Must be in an MP4 format
  • The maximum file size for videos that are 10 minutes or less is 650MB
  • The maximum file size for videos up to 60 minutes is 3.6GB


Photo credit: techingreek.com


What Works

  • Visually stimulating video content
  • Educational content
  • Authentic, non-commercial, candid videos
  • Behind the scenes videos
  • Videos that offer more information than traditional short-form videos
  • Creative and experimental videos that have a ‘randomness’ element to them


What Doesn’t Work

  • Using IGTV for traditional ads, commercials or video marketing content
  • Using it for short videos only (that’s what IG Stories is for)
  • Not planning and preparing your content and knowing your video specs (otherwise you might have to start again or do some major editing)
  • Attempting to shoot the video with the app
  • Thinking of IGTV as Instagram Stories with longer videos – IGTV is meant to be used like YouTube and TV
  • Not making use of IGTV insights: The app offers detailed insights that help marketers understand what videos engage and perform well on their channel, and which ones do not. As with all digital media these days, these insights must be used to created targeted content that retains and grows the viewer base.
  • Not abiding by Instagram’s ‘Community Guidelines,’ which are fairly straightforward:
    • No nudity
    • No children partially nude
    • No offensive content (that could be reported and result in account suspension)
    • Authentic content



  • No ads
  • Limited competition
  • Tremendous room for growth
  • Because videos are uploaded and not shot live, there is an option for video editing
  • Repurposing existing video content
  • Great potential for brands looking to gain steam with their video content strategy
  • Using other channels to promote IGTV content


IGTV Success Stories

There is no secret sauce to IGTV success yet, but some brands have managed to do well in the early stages by taking risks and being innovative.

Unsurprisingly, Netflix was one of the first brands to make use of IGTV. They relied on unexpected ideas and comedy to achieve success with some of their videos (though, they likely carefully conceived these seemingly random ideas). For example, one of their most popular videos featured a full hour of an actor, Cole Sprouse, eating a burger—and this gamble paid off. The video has attained over 650,000 views and over 5,000 comments.

This unicorn company has been at the forefront of digital media for some time, and their use of IGTV is no exception. Airbnb has utilized IGTV to give their viewers more information about featured locations, in long, educational video formats.

Fashion Brands
Fashion brands like Gucci are having success posting videos of runway shows, as are many other fashion houses. This is a great idea as traditional media usually only shows snippets of the shows.

National Geographic
National Geographic has found their IGTV success from repurposing their existing video content specifically for the app.


Photo credit: adage.com


Destination Marketing Recommendations

  • Repurpose existing video content
  • Promote new IGTV videos on other social channels, especially within Instagram (feed, stories)
  • Behind the scenes videos of attractions, restaurants or events
  • Video series
  • Storytelling


IGTV has great potential for those looking to gain steam with their video content strategy. However, as with all new forms of digital media, there is a risk that it might not take off. Those looking to get their toes wet could fare well with repurposed vertical video content (it’s cheaper and easy to load), or simple videos that express your brand essence without too much money involved. A behind-the-scenes tour of your destination’s most popular park could be a good idea, or it might not resonate. That’s why adopters should be prepared to take risks, re-evaluate their insights and move forward with new ideas.


Photo credit: Avvio


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