IGTV: What, Why and How You Should be Using it as a Marketing Tool

September 13, 2019
Kyra Goodman

IGTV has made a slow start, but brands are catching on to the benefits of IGTV as a marketing tool and you should too!

After a slow start for Instagram TV (IGTV), it's now becoming an integral part of social media strategies. After announcing in February that Instagram would allow one minute previews of IGTV videos on the main Instagram feed, things started to change and views skyrocketed.

If you aren't in on this yet, you should be. Here's what, why and how you should be using IGTV as a marketing tool!

What is IGTV?

Back in June of 2018, Instagram released IGTV as, "a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators." In May 2019 they started allowing for landscape videos as well. So basically a platform to compete with Youtube.

Each creator has their own "channel" similar to TV. And just like a television, as soon as you access IGTV, videos start playing. Can you say "hello increased engagement?!"

There's a stand alone IGTV app, but it can also be accessed straight from your Instagram app. Unlike regular Instagram videos, IGTV videos can be 10 minutes to an hour long.

Why You Should Use IGTV

IGTV can have major benefits for your clients' business as well as your own. It's about creating value for your consumers. Here are some of the perks that come with IGTV:

More Traffic

Having another platform to share video content means another place to be seen. Which in turn means more engagement and more customers.

By 2020, the number of digital video viewers in the United States is projected to be more than 236 million. That's a lot of potential people viewing your content.

Longer Videos

Unlike videos uploaded straight to Instagram, your IGTV videos can be 10-60 minutes long. This makes it a great spot for how-tos, behind the scenes, story features and more!

While Instagram Stories and other platforms are better suited for posting things as they happen, IGTV needs to be well thought out and planned.

Think about your target audience. What do they want to see? What do they want from you? How can you help them?

Instagram Integration

Since Instagram announced in February that users could post one-minute previews of their IGTV videos straight to the news feed, viewership has increased. When there's a new video, your followers can tap straight from their feed to watch the full video.

IGtV preview in Instagram feed linking to IGTV

Posting previews on Instagram and sending followers to your IGTV helps boost engagement.

Using IGTV can also unlock a form of the "swipe up" feature for your Instagram Stories (more about this later).

Side note: Videos posted on IGTV won't automatically upload to your Instagram. If you do want them to appear on your feed you'll have to click "Post a Preview" under the title and description page when uploading your IGTV video.

How to Get Started with IGTV

You can access IGTV through the standalone app or through Instagram.

IGTV logo on Instagram app

If you will be creating longer form videos, we suggest actually downloading the app. The set up and getting started is pretty straight forward with prompts. But here's a quick recap:

Step 1: Set up Your channel

  1. First download the IGTV application to your device or click the tv icon in your Instagram app.
  2. When you open the app, it will ask if you want to continue as your current Instagram profile. You can click continue or if you are working with multiple accounts you can click Switch Account.
  3. Next adjust your notification settings or skip it for later.
  4. Create your channel. Hit the settings icon in the top right corner and click "create channel"
  5. That's it!

Step 2: Post your First Video

  1. Open the IGTV app or click the IGTV icon from your Instagram page.
  2. Click the plus sign in the top right corner.
  3. Select the video you want to update and choose if you want it to be portrait or landscape.
  4. Choose your cover image. You can choose a frame from the video or add an image from your camera roll. (this is especially important if you will be uploading a preview to Instagram because this cover photo will show up on your grid)
  5. Add the title and description.
  6. Decide where you want your video to be visible (it can be posted as a preview on Instagram and/or as a video on Facebook).
  7. Click Post.

Tips and Inspiration

There are a lot of different things you can take advantage of by using IGTV. Here are some of our favorites:

Use your IGTV to create a "swipe up" feature on your Story

In a previous blog post, we discussed how Instagram Story "swipe up" features are only available to verified accounts or if you have over 10,000 followers. But there's a couple work arounds to add a link to your IG Story and IGTV is one of them.

Step 1: Create a video that you can upload to IGTV

This should be a video directing people to click somewhere on the screen that will essentially be taking them to a certain link. It could be a video of you pointing up somewhere or just a "static" video with arrows pointing to where you want them to tap.

One thing to keep in mind when making this is that IGTV videos need to be at least a minute long.

Step 2: Add a title and description to the video

Your title can be whatever you want but we suggest using something like "Click here for the link" that reinforces your CTA. In the description, put the URL that you want to direct users. That is the most important part!

Title and description page for IGTV

Step 3: Create an Instagram Story

Once you upload your IGTV video, make your Story on Instagram and you'll see the "link" icon in the options at the top. Don't get too excited, you can't directly link to the URL yet. But click the link and you'll get the option to link to your IGTV video. Select your CTA video and post.

Insta story showing link option

Now when people watch your story there will be an option to "swipe up" to watch on IGTV and from there the link will be directly clickable.

Insta Story showing watch IGTV video link up

Inspiration: Sephora

We talked about Sephora in a previous article, but honestly they are just the definition of using IGTV effectively as a marketing tool, so they are being highlighted again.

Makeup and hair tutorials, FAQ's and how-tos deeply resonate with their 18.4 million followers. They take time to plan out each video and understand what their audience wants. While they are creating something helpful and entertaining, they are also driving sales. WIN-WIN!

Sephora IGTV

Inspiration: Lele Pons

You don't have to sell products or services to make use of IGTV and Lele Pons is a great example of this.

Pons is known for her comedic internet videos and has created somewhat of a "tv show" on her IGTV. She has episodes called "What's Cooking" where she makes different food and brings on different guests. IGTV gave her the platform to open up a different part of her life.

So even if you aren't "selling" anything, IGTV can still add value to your audience experience.

Lele Pons IGTV

Sizing Guide for IGTV

Here's all the details you need to know about sizing, timing and framing:

IGTV sizing guide

While getting started with IGTV might seem like a daunting task, the need for video in your social media strategy is too important to sit this out. So jump on the IGTV train and get to creating value for your customers!  

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