IGTV: Creating an Engaging Channel

IGTV: Creating an Engaging Channel

IGTV is one of Instagram’s most significant developments that has been available since June 2018. It allows users to create and post long-form vertical video content.

Until June of last year, the length of videos on Instagram was limited and only available via the “Stories” function. Regular users of the platform can make videos lasting up to 10 minutes, whereas verified users can upload videos of up to an hour long.

Businesses are yet to make full use of this medium, and even influencers have been wary of doing IGTV because they usually upload their video content onto YouTube.

However, Instagram announced in early 2019 that content creators could share channel previews on their Instagram feeds, though the previews are limited to 60 seconds. This meant it was easier for followers to discover IGTV videos, increasing engagement.

This article covers:

–    How to create your own IGTV channel

–    The kinds of content you should focus on

–    Tips you can learn from top brands on how to engage followers on IGTV

How to create your own IGTV channel

In addition to an Instagram account, you need a dedicated IGTV channel. The channel has the same bio and privacy settings as your Instagram account.

If you are doing this from the Instagram app

1.    Go the IGTV logo on your home feed (in the top-right corner of the screen)

2.    Tap the gear icon (on the right side of the screen)

3.    Tap “Create Channel”

4.    Follow all the prompts

If you are using the IGTV app, follow steps 2 through 4.

If you are using the Instagram website.

1.    Click on your profile, go to IGTV (second tab, next to posts)

2.    Click “Get Started” then follow the instructions on your screen

Specifications for IGTV video

–    MP4 file format

–    Maximum file size for videos that are 10 minutes or less is 650MB

–    Maximum file size for videos up to 60 minutes is 3.6GB

–    A vertical aspect ratio of 9:16

–    A minimum frame rate of 30 FPS (frames per second) and minimum resolution of 720 pixels

–    Cover photo size: 420px by 654px (or 1:1.55 ratio)

How to upload an IGTV video

If you are using the Instagram app.

1.    Go the IGTV logo on your home feed (in the top-right corner of the screen)

2.    Tap your profile photo to see your channel

3.    Tap “+”, choose a video and tap “Next”

4.    Don’t forget to add a title and description

Now you have your channel set up, and you’re in the throes of uploading your first video, it is time for some tips and tricks.

Firstly, make sure you share a one-minute preview of your video on your Instagram account as a teaser of the video to increase engagement. You need to do this now as you cannot add it retrospectively. Take this opportunity to share the video to a connected Facebook page.

Secondly, edit your cover photo. This makes it is clear and descriptive, but compelling, Of course, it must match the aesthetic of your Instagram feed. This is especially important if you are going to share a preview, as described above.

After doing these steps, including the aforementioned pro-tips, you are ready to post your video.

If you are using the IGTV app.

Follow steps 2-5.

If you are using the Instagram website.

1.    Click IGTV on your profile.

2.    Click “Upload”

3.    Click “+” and choose the video you want to upload

4.    Add a title and description

The pro-tips above are also relevant to upload IGTV content via the Instagram website, so make sure you share a preview to your Instagram or a connected Facebook page as well as editing your cover photo appropriately, before posting.

How to promote your IGTV video and channel

The first step is always to make your followers aware that you are now using this social media channel. IGTV is still quite a new concept, so people are not as familiar with it and will not seek it out in the same way as an Instagram account.

You can cross-promote fairly easily with IGTV. We have already mentioned previewing and linking to IGTV videos on your feed, but you can also do this on your Instagram stories if you are a verified user. Remember they are limited to one minute. You can, of course, share IGTV videos to a connected Facebook page as well as sharing it via an email newsletter and Twitter.

Silent viewing?

Make sure that you take into account the fact that people may be watching your video on the IGTV app, which automatically plays videos with the sound off. Most people also via Instagram Stories with the sound off. Therefore, it is essential to signal there is sound via a well-placed icon but also have subtitles or a summary of the most important information available.

Attention-grabbing information

People often scroll almost mindlessly on their phones, so you only have a few seconds to make them stop and explore your post or video.

The first minute of your video serves as an introduction to the main video. You need to put across the key aims of the video: the main topic and the impetus to keep watching. You could also include information about how long the video will be (especially if it is on the shorter side) and who the video is for.

Relevant hashtags

Instagram is updating all the time, but as of this April (2019), you can only search for profiles and not videos. This means that the vast majority of people will access an IGTV video through a profile unless you use relevant hashtags.

Including relevant hashtags in your descriptions means that people who follow that hashtag can easily find your content. For example, if your video contains an eyeshadow tutorial, you should use the #makeup and #makeuptutorial hashtags at the very least.

Keep in line with the purpose of IGTV

Instagram stories and IGTV are very different mediums. Stories focus on short snap clips (under 15 seconds, to be precise) whereas IGTV explores content that is more like YouTube: longer videos of at least several minutes or more. Some brands have even developed TV series for the app.

Brand consistency is key

You need consistency within your content on IGTV in terms of style and tone as well as graphics but also make sure that it fits with the rest of your company’s image. Make it clear that your IGTV channel is closely connected to the company with the same colours, fonts and themes.

Six fantastic brands using IGTV

60 Second Docs

Speaking of consistency, the 60 Second Docs’ IGTV always last a minute and five seconds! They explore topics from tiny origami to chainsaw art and plant parenthood. All their videos come with subtitles, so they are perfect for silent viewing!


Netflix could easily just put trailers for their many new series, but they often upload quirky, fun content. In June last year, they posted an IGTV video lasting full hour of Cole Sprouse eating a burger. It went viral with nearly a million views.

BBC News

BBC News upload short, snappy videos of under 4 minutes to their IGTV channel. These cover relevant news stories but are just short enough to grab the attention of viewers. They also link to a longer news story or video if viewers want more information. Recent examples include “Tiananmen’s tank man” (682,000 views) and top tips for zero waste (419,000 views).

Architectural Digest

Architectural Digest (@archdigest) has found surprising success on IGTV, partly because it is an image-driven platform but also because they can tag and link to the profiles of the celebrities they feature. They have 1.4 million views on their latest IGTV video featuring Jessica Alba’s home and family.


Vox has a clear branding to their videos with a bright yellow collage-like visual style across their website, newsletter, Instagram feed and, of course, their IGTV channel.


Makeup tutorials featuring makeup and other products available from Boots are the bread and butter of their IGTV channel. Their tutorials cover a variety of looks and specific skills like cut creases or how to use the Dyson Airwrap Styler.

Good luck creating and uploading your first IGTV video!

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