instagram marketing

We tried IGTV – How the New Instagram TV Works

By December 19, 2018 May 21st, 2019 No Comments
Pat Racco

Pat Racco

Founder of Advantage Media

Instagram marks a significant achievement: it has in fact reached one billion users by introducing the long form video service called IGTV (Instagram TV).

Subscribers will be able to access the service through the original Instagram app but also through a dedicated app available starting next week. The content on Instagram TV can last one hour, significantly extending the potential of the service.

Another unique feature of the service is that all videos are played vertically. The co-founder of Instagram Kevin Systrom said in a statement on the Instagram blog: “Instagram TV is very simple, there are no channels to scroll. Open the app, and everything is ready to work, it’s the content of people you already follow or who may like you according to your interests. […] Instagram has always been a place to connect with people who inspire you or entertain you every day. “

Instagram TV attacks Snapchat and YouTube

Instagram’s focus on the new service is to attract mainly young people using Snapchat, but also YouTube investors: Todd Kriezelman, co-founder and CEO of MediaRadar pointed out that the investment spending on YouTube is not increasing. Advertising spending was constant in 2018, with only an increase of 0.2% from the beginning of the year. “

Mark Zuckerberg’s strategy, on Instagram as on Facebook, has always been to “copy” the winning ideas of competitors and make them more popular. Now, the new challenge that puts him in competition with YouTube is entirely new.

What is IGTV and what you can do with it

IGTV is mostly a video platform, similar to YouTube, on which everyone can have their own channel and people can choose to follow it. However, Instagram has tried to make the service different from what users expect to find on YouTube.

The videos are in portrait mode because they are more suitable for smartphone viewing.

IGTV is the brand new Instagram application for videos in portrait or “vertical format”. Using it is very simple and we, at Advantage Media, did not miss the opportunity to test it.

Making live videos: more and more people are relying on an immediate channel for the promotion of their content or maybe just for a greeting to friends and relatives (in front of everyone’s eyes).

Relying on the fact that in the last 5 years Millennials are watching 40% less TV, the idea Instagram is bringing to the table is that people need new experiences.

igtv vs tv

Did we need an app dedicated to vertical videos? Yes, because the Tinder-style swiping gesture seems to be the most engaging and, in particular, the vertical video provides an additional boost in this sense.

Posting videos on the Instagram TV platform

Download the app and install IGTV

Ok, this is the easy part. To ensure your live spot on IGTV, the new platform that is proposed as a YouTube antagonist, just download the version of the app suitable for your phone.

The installation procedure is straightforward because it can be accessed using your Instagram account, without having to create a new profile. As the initial screen specifies, you can watch the contents of the people we already follow on the “mother” platform, Instagram, or start following new creators. All is organised thematically.

Those who are used to the landscape vision will turn up their noses: as said, the videos are in portrait format, because they are more suitable for smartphone viewing. We have adapted to square photos, we will do that too.


The other relevant news, as it is immediately communicated in the first screens, regards the duration of the contents. In fact, it is possible to post videos up to an hour, real format to share with followers. But be careful, as we will see later, this possibility is not yet open to everyone!

How to use Instagram TV

How to go live on IGTV?

Once the app is installed, it is sufficient to log in, even with the Instagram or Facebook account, to automatically create your channel and start watching the broadcasts. The TV channel tuning effect that is displayed before switching from one video to another or while uploading gives a retro feeling that the younger ones will find challenging to digest.

Where the videos we upload on IGTV end up

To view your content just click on the circular icon with the profile photo. In practice, after logging in, the channel is created automatically, even if initially there are no videos. By clicking on the icon with the profile picture, we can access our channel where there’s the playlist of uploaded content. The uploaded videos will be visible to our contacts also on Instagram through a particular icon.

How to search for videos on IGTV

Even in this case, the essential and clean graphics of the new Instagram app makes things simple: by clicking on the magnifying glass icon on the left of the screen, you can search for content. Instagram offers a series of personalised content, inserted according to the preferences shown in the use of the social network, but it is possible to type the keywords of interest freely.

Also, from the home screen, you can choose lists of content to watch, organised by categories: For you, People you follow, Popular and Keep watching. This last function allows you to resume the video from the point where we stopped watching, in the same fashion that Netflix got us used to.

How to add a video on IGTV

Clicking on the profile picture we open our channel. There we find, on the right of the screen (do not forget always to hold it vertically), the “+” key that allows us to access the multimedia gallery of our device and load the contents we have stored on our phone.

Although the new app allows uploading videos of one hour, the possibility is not currently available to all members. Most of the members of IGTV (including myself) are allowed to publish videos lasting between 15 seconds and 10 minutes.

In what IGTV is different from YouTube

Instagram focuses on videos and challenges YouTube, this is clear. But what really differentiates the new app from competitors, vertical videos apart?

Although the change of paradigm in the format may be a novelty, this is not the most exciting aspect of the operation of Instagram TV. 

Playback of video content is continuous, in the background. As you watch, as you search for a video, you browse the galleries, even while doing nothing. Watch times are fast compared to the friction YouTube has due to promotional content: there is nothing to stop the experience on Instagram TV. Well, not yet.

If YouTube is confirmed as a perfect platform for the use of content even dated, a sort of video archive impossible to beat, the new Instagram service is getting closer to the model of widespread media and built entirely from flash content created by people, opening new perspectives, ranging from a new way of understanding information to modern brand marketing strategies.