The Complete Guide to IGTV for 2019

On June 20, 2018, exactly one year ago, Instagram introduced its new platform, IGTV. IGTV is Instagram's push to take control of long-form video content. Before IGTV, there was pretty much only Youtube when it came to video content platforms and maybe Facebook to a lesser extent. What makes IGTV different than Youtube or other video sharing platforms, is that IGTV is banking on the idea that in the future, vertical video will trump horizontal video consumption. With the algorithms of social platforms favoring video, especially long-form video, people and brands are flooding their efforts into video content.

IGTV is only a year old, and there is a lot that can change within the next few years. I think people are hesitant to invest in this new platform because we do not know how well the content will perform, and it takes a lot of time and creativity to create vertical video compared to a horizontal video on Youtube. Even with a lot of unknowns still existing with IGTV, I want to break down the best practices for IGTV in 2019!

1. Do NOT Upload a Horizontal Video

People are trying to work around the vertical video by uploading a horizontal video and hoping that people will rotate their phones.

DO NOT DO THIS!

Users of Instagram do not log in to watch longer-form content like users of Youtube. People using Instagram are familiar with videos that are no longer than a few seconds or just pictures. By asking users to flip their phone horizontally; you are breaking their flow of how they use the platform. The whole foundation of IGTV is rooted in Instagram's belief that people will want to consume video on their mobile devices without having to flip their phones sideways.

If you create a vertical-only video, people are more likely to interact with your video because you are allowing them to watch within the natural scroll of their Instagram feed.

2. Make Sure to Post a Minute Preview for Your Video on Your Instagram Feed

Adding a preview of your video as an Instagram post is a newer feature to IGTV that did not exist when the platform first debuted.* Instagram created this feature to get users familiar with watching more longer form videos and see IGTV content in their feeds more naturally.

Posting a preview is imperative to get people hooked into watching the full video that you post on IGTV. This feature allows your whole following to see your content on IGTV seamlessly without having to open up another app to view your content.

*When you upload your video to IGTV, it is a simple click to have the preview post to your Instagram profile. This feature is a no brainer. You can only use the preview feature if your IGTV video is longer than one minute.

3. The First Few Seconds are the Most Important

As stated above, most users of Instagram only see photos or minute-long videos. Users do not seek to go on Instagram to watch 10-minute videos or even 4-minute videos; that is why it is imperative that your first few seconds hook your audience because they will probably only give you two to five seconds before they decide to stay or move on.

As you create your video, think about what is the most important message from the video itself, and try to hook your audience with that message and invite them to keep watching.

4. Have an Awesome Video Cover

Once you post a preview on your Instagram feed, it will stay on your profile's feed forever. When you have new people coming onto your profile page, you want to have captivating video cover for the IGTV video since that is what people will see on your feed. This cover art should pop on your feed and invite people to want to watch your video. I like mine to be colorful and have the title, so people know what they are going to watch.

I use Canva.com to make my designs. I will make another blog post next week going more in-depth about Canva.

Here are a few examples:

5. Be Creative with Vertical Video

A lot of people have said that they struggle to create vertical videos versus creating horizontal videos.

It is simple.

Use the constraints as a solution, not a problem.

The fundamentals of filming and video are the same, but now you can play with the constraints of your vertical canvas.

You can be creative with your editing and how you present your message. I believe that IGTV will allow creators to find new ways of editing and techniques of shooting video. In time, as people find new tricks on how to make IGTV videos engaging and creative, IGTV videos could be more fun to watch than generic horizontal videos that you see on Youtube or Facebook.

Here are a few people who are crushing it on IGTV:

Jesse Driftwood

Gary Vaynerchuk

Justine Ezarik


Overall, have fun with exploring this new platform and using IGTV as another way of telling your story to your audience and beyond. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me anything down below. If you have an IGTV video, I would love to see what you made, so send me a link.

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