Everything You Need to Know About Instagram TV

Instagram has introduced a new app that is both bewildering and exciting Instagram users: Instagram TV. 


Instagram has already taken over as one of the most popular social media platforms for Millennials and Gen Zers. It has a hold on ephemeral content with Instagram stories and Live videos, while still promoting the picture and video sharing feature. This has put it in direct competition with Facebook and Twitter, potentially even beating out its older competitors (except Facebook owns Instagram)


Next, Instagram is looking to take on YouTube with Instagram TV (IGTV).


Although some users were initially wary of Instagram TV, it’s taken off at an unprecedented rate. A number of key influencers have already started their own channels, including Kim Kardashian and the Insta-famous dog Jiffpom.


So what is IGTV? And is it important for e-commerce businesses to take note of?


What is Instagram TV?

Instagram TV (IGTV) is its own app separate from Instagram, although it’s still hosted as a feature by Instagram. It’s a destination solely dedicated to longer video content. It doesn’t have a news feed, still pictures, or stories like the traditional Instagram does. Other differences include length, profiles, type of video, and instant play.


Video length

Unlike the traditional Instagram where videos are limited to one minute, IGTV allows videos to be up to an hour long. This gives more room for creators to play with long-form content. It’s especially useful for those influencers and bloggers who use a combination of YouTube and Instagram already, so they can potentially condense down to a single platform.



Like YouTube, IGTV is organized by channels rather than profiles. However, your IGTV channel is linked to the Instagram profile you use most frequently. So, when someone signs up for the service, they create a channel linked to their profile.


This is especially advantageous if your business has an Instagram shop, as you could link your business’s IGTV channel directly to your social e-commerce store.


Vertical videos

Unlike YouTube or other video platforms, IGTV focuses on vertical videos. Vertical is the more natural way to the use your phone, so Instagram is promoting this mobile form of video.


That’s because mobile has become king over desktop, and it’s only becoming even more popular in our increasingly hectic world. Users already love the ease and simplicity of creating video with their phone that they can then upload directly to IGTV.


Instant play

IGTV starts playing a video the moment you open the app, much like if you turned on the TV. Unlike YouTube, where you have to search for videos you want to see, IGTV will constantly be showing you new and popular videos. Still, you’ll be able to search for videos on IGTV if you’d like to find a specific channel or show. There is also an “on demand” feature that will let you stop watching and resume later, so you never miss a moment of your TV.  


"People love video. Video has become the top form of content on the web.  According to Wordstream, more than 500 million hours of videos  are watched on YouTube daily."   Click to Tweet


Why was Instagram TV launched?

People love video. Video has become the top form of content on the web. According to Wordstream, more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube daily, and 45% of people watch over an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos per week. Staggeringly, more video content is uploaded online in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years. That’s a lot of video content for online social presence.


Instagram already has a hold on pictures and stories, but it’s less advanced in the video sphere. Rather than changing their interface to accommodate longer videos alongside still pictures, they created a separate but parallel application with IGTV.


Instagram sees the growth of video, so they created an app specifically devoted to it.


Plus, Facebook owns Instagram. In recent years, Facebook has become a primarily video-based platform. Facebook has been trying to push their content more, especially since they’ve been getting flack for all of the spam and bots that have come to their site. They’ve also tried to boost revenue by placing ads in the middle of videos, but this is frustrating for users. Overall, Facebook’s video initiatives thus far have primarily failed.


Facebook is likely using IGTV as a way to gain revenue through a platform that younger users trust more for sharing authentic video content.


Does my business need Instagram TV?

Whenever a new social media platform comes out, businesses always need to evaluate if adding that platform to their marketing strategy would be fruitful. In past years, small businesses often waited until the platform proved success to invest the time and energy. But by the time the platform shows success, businesses are behind the game and trying to catch up, while users have already moved on to the next platform.


Take Snapchat for example. Snapchat was primarily an individual user-based platform. When Snapchat had hundreds of millions of users, businesses started to take notice and come up with strategies to infiltrate the Snapchat system.


By the time small-to-medium sized businesses figured out how to market on Snapchat, users had gone to a similar feature instead through Instagram’s Live videos and stories.


There’s something to be said about hopping on the next bandwagon before it becomes too big so you can be at the forefront of that marketing trend. You should be aware that IGTV may die off—and we expect that it could when the next video platform is released. Or it may not show success at all if influencers continue to use YouTube instead.


But, it might be worth the marketing efforts now to get ahead of the game rather than constantly playing catch-up if IGTV skyrockets (as we anticipate it will).


Also, Instagram has been promoting all the celebrities who have joined its service, but it’s hoping normal people will start to use it too. They don’t have any “rules” about businesses or brands yet. This means IGTV hasn’t become a hotspot for business, but it also hasn’t stopped promotional videos.


That means you have free reign right now (for the most part). This could give you a good opportunity to get your business right in the trenches of a hot new marketing tactic.


 IGTV image


How to use Instagram TV as a business?

If you want to use IGTV to start promoting your brand, here are a few notes we’ve gathered about this new service.


Not a standalone moneymaker

Unlike YouTube, there’s no way to really monetize IGTV just yet. Instagram isn’t going to be paying for content any time soon, and the service currently has no ads. (However, there is a lot of free space on the platform, which might give us an idea that paid advertising is in the future.) It’s likely that they’ll start to reward people for the most popular videos, but this likely isn’t going to be a big draw for most video creators.


Instagram’s goal with IGTV is to make it feel like anyone can be famous or creative. They don’t want to reward celebrities or influencers above others. They want to let their users do the rewarding for them.  


Great advertising

Even though you can’t use IGTV as another revenue stream, it can be a strong promotional tactic. Users know you’re not making money off of the video, so they know you’re looking to provide real and legitimate value without a hidden agenda. (Users have gotten wary of paid or promotional videos on YouTube.)


IGTV will allow your business to reach a greater audience through a new type of visibility. It also has a lot of great features that can help you show off your brand voice and style in a more flexible way. Even telling your customers that you have an IGTV channel can show that you’re up with trends and that you want to provide value to your audience.


Read: How To Use Customer Content On Social Media


Ease of creation

Although you have to create the video separately and upload it on IGTV (you can’t create the video through the app), it’s going to be one of the easiest ways to shoot and edit video moving forward. IGTV is vertical video, which means you can do everything right from your mobile. This is going to take away the barrier to entry with expensive video equipment and professional video creation know-how.


You can easily shoot a product launch, behind the scenes look, how-to campaign, or even a sales promotion. You simply point and shoot with your mobile, edit, add a title, create a thumbnail, publish—and you’re gaining viewers.


The simplicity and accessibility make it easy for small businesses that don’t have a large marketing team or budget.



IGTV may or may not be the future of social video, but it’s worth a shot. It’s already gotten a lot of attention from celebrities and influencers, but businesses are still unsure. If you can get in there to promote your business from the get-go, we anticipate you’ll have new visibility and market share over your more hesitant competitors.


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