Instagram just announced the other day they have now joined the prestigious “1 Billion” club; they now have 1 Billion active monthly users per month, up from 800 million less than a year ago. The other networks that belong in this club are Facebook, YouTube, FB messenger and What’s App (both of which are owned by FB, as is Insta). One of these things is not like other…. but we’ll talk more about YouTube in a bit.

Instagram has been rolling out big changes over the last couple of months. Seems like my app needs updating all the time, and every time I update, there’s some new feature. BTW you can keep up to date on all of Instagram’s new features here.

IGTV is now available as of June 20. I’ve been playing with it a bit over the last couple of weeks, and I want to give you a rundown of some its basic features, why it could be significant, and a couple hacks as well.

What is IGTV?

IGTV is Instagram’s new app/platform. First of all, it’s video. What makes it different than IG stories or even the longer version videos you can post to your feed is the length. IG Stories can only be 15 seconds, regular video just over a minute. IGTV allows for up to 10 minutes of video, and eventually up to an hour, but that’s only for special folks just now. Let’s just say for simplification that you can upload up to 10 minutes of video.

The type of video is also what makes it different. IG stories are very “in the moment.” I do them vlog style a lot, or snap photos or video of snippets of my life, what’s happening right now in the moment. IGTV gives us the opportunity to do polished, edited video. And it’s also not live. You certainly could save your IG live videos and upload them to IGTV so that you have them permanently (Live videos disappear after 24 hours, same as IG stories), but the platform is not really for that. It is, essentially, like YouTube for Instagram. But with a twist.

How to IGTV

First of all, you need to claim your channel. It’s not complicated to do.

As a watcher, you can access IGTV in two ways: via your regular Instagram app (look for the IGTV icon in the upper right hand corner) or via the IGTV app. To get your own channel, tap on the IGTV icon in the upper right-hand corner, and follow the directions. Because you are logged in as yourself on Instagram, it’ll create your channel for you under your name and import all the people you’re following.

Watching IGTV

When you log in, it will automatically begin playing a video. You can scroll through the videos at the bottom of the page, and tap on the one you want to watch. You’ll see options like “For you” (based on their algorithm for you and what kind of stuff you watch/like), “following” (which are IGTV vids from people you follow on Instagram), “popular” (which are what’s trending on IGTV), and “continue watching” (the videos you started watching but didn’t finish). You can like and comment on videos the same as anything else on Instagram.

Uploading your Videos to IGTV

To upload a video, in the IGTV app, tap on your profile pic. You’ll see a little plus sign on the right-hand edge. Click on that to upload your video. Once you’ve added your video, don’t forget to add a description and hashtags, the same as you would with any Instagram post.

You can also upload to IGTV from your desktop (YAY!!). This makes a ton of sense, given that these are longer-form, edited videos, you’ll probably be making them on your computer, not on your phone. To upload from the desktop, go to your Instagram profile: instagram.com/yourusername. Scroll down a bit to below your IG Stories memories, and you’ll see, just above your Instagram posts, 3 menus: posts, IGTV and Saved. Click on IGTV, and then the blue “upload” button. I should just note, this feature hasn’t worked for me yet. I get an error message every time, and I don’t know why. I think it has to do with a Facebook Page connection error, but it doesn’t work for me.

Vertical Video format

Okay, here’s where it gets interesting. IGTV is vertical format video only. So, to put that into perspective for you, it looks a lot like your Instagram stories or IG live video. Here’s my thinking: Facebook has clearly been gunning for YouTube for a few years now. This is evidenced by the fact that they are ranking native video so high in their algorithm, and now, with IGTV, it is basically impossible for YouTubers to repurpose their videos for IGTV, because the formats clash (more about this in a sec). They are effectively forcing us to create new, vertical video for IGTV. They want to dominated the vertical video space. Truthfully, if there’s a way to figure out how to monetize this video, they could very well have a contender.

Hacking the IGTV Vertical format

Okay, so yes, you could¬†upload your regular, horizontal video, and make people turn their phones to watch it (although I tried doing it, and it’s not that simple–you have to format the video properly to make it work). The other option is to make your horizontal videos be vertical using this hack (ps it works, check out my Channel).

Interesting IGTV features

First of all, you can put links in the description of your video. This is something that is not available in any instagram post (unless you pay for an ad, of course), so it feels like a bit of a game-changer. In addition, you can link to your IGTV video from your IG stories, even if you don’t have 10K followers! Yaaasss!

Okay! So, more later as it becomes available….

I’ll just say at this moment that I’m not seeing a ton of new content on IGTV. Lots of people uploaded a video just to try it, but I think it’s going to take some time to catch on. I’m planning on adapting any new YouTube videos I create for the platform and uploading them. I’ll let you know how it goes….

In the mean time, I’ll leave you with a few resources.

Taylor Loren’s great blog post on the Later Blog

and Steve Dotto’s explainer video:


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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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