The Ultimate Guide to IGTV


There are just as many Instagram influencers excited about IGTV as there are those still in the dark. If you fit into the latter category, don’t stress, we’re going to take you through the basics of IGTV in this post – what it is, why it was created, how to use it and where it’s heading.


IGTV (an acronym for Instagram TV) is a streaming service that lets users watch, discover and create videos entirely from their mobile phone. As a sister app to Instagram, IGTV is an extended feature of the social media platform.

Supporting video files up to 4k, the app shares videos that run for as long as 10 minutes, or 60 minutes on accounts with more followers. All content on IGTV is user generated like YouTube; it’s not designed to be a film and TV streaming service a la Netflix or Stan.


Until now YouTube has dominated the online video revolution. Since launching their iOS and Android apps, time spent watching TV has decreased by a whopping 40 per cent. By 2021, 78 per cent of total mobile data traffic is predicted to be related to mobile video. But why let the Google giant have all the fun? With IGTV, Instagram has become a very real competitor to YouTube by challenging the global platform with a secret weapon: vertical video. And thanks to the past few years of users becoming acquainted with Instagram stories, IGTV has the perfect springboard to launch.


Keen to get started with IGTV? Let’s run through the basics.

Although it’s possible to watch IGTV channels through the native Instagram app, its stand-alone app delivers a much smoother mobile experience and is available to download from the Apple Store or Google Play. If you already have Instagram on your phone, you will be asked if you’d like to sign in with the same account (note: only one IGTV channel per account is allowed). Once logged in, you’re ready to start.

Just like the Explore feature on Instagram, IGTV selects videos and channels based on your interests. On the home screen, a menu will appear at the bottom with four tabs to swipe between: For You (videos you might like, as determined by Instagram); Following (IGTV videos from accounts you’re following); Popular (a universal trending tab) and Continue Watching (returning to videos you have previously left).

Along the top of this menu there is also a Search IGTV option so you can find specific channels.

After settling on an IGTV channel, all the videos from that account will appear along the bottom of your screen. Swipe through the collection and tap on the video you want to see. Tapping the screen again will hide the bottom menu, allowing you to watch your selected video vertically and in full screen mode. We searched for Travel & Leisure below as an example.



To make your own videos as well as watch others, bring up the home screen and tap your profile icon to the right of the Search IGTV bar, and then select Create Channel or click the settings icon next to it to switch accounts. Now you’re ready to upload videos.

Tap the + icon in the top right-hand corner of the menu and allow IGTV access to your camera, microphone and photo gallery. Choose a vertical video from your camera roll to upload, followed by a title and short description. You can also add links to take viewers outside the IGTV or Instagram app, which is great for a little extra promotion.

Next, add a cover photo from your photo gallery or take a frame from the video you’re uploading (see below).

Now tap the post button and pop the champagne, because you’ve just published your first IGTV video. Well done you.

Your IGTV channel icon will be displayed to the left of your story highlights (if you have any), as shown on Jiff Pom’s profile page below.

Source: Instagram

IGTV also provides access to video insights, found through the ‘…’ icon next to your video. Here you can read the report on audience engagement, which is broken down into views (a view has to be at least three seconds), likes and comments, as well as your audience retention rate (i.e. how many people stuck with your video through to the end). It also shows a handy graph that details the point at which your audience swiped away from your video.

The streaming service is currently ad-free, but to give creators the chance to make a living from the app, we expect Instagram to allow advertising in the near future.

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