IGTV popped up on the social media scene not too long ago, leaving many users confused about what it is and how it’s different from their traditional Instagram feed and stories. Check out our FAQ below for answers to some of your top questions. Does it sound like a fit for your social media strategy?

What is IGTV?

IGTV is a video platform where content creators can share long-form videos on their “channel.” Some have speculated that it is Instagram’s answer to YouTube, while others just see it as an opportunity to expand the possibilities for the social networking app and its users.

How do you access IGTV?

There is a TV icon in the top right corner of your Instagram home page, which can be used to access IGTV. However, many users don’t realize that IGTV also has its own separate app.

What kinds of videos work well in IGTV?

Longer, instructional-type videos are well-suited for this platform. Film yourself doing some hand-painted nail art so people can watch your technique in real time. Show off your flawless boomer nail technique, and give tips as you do it. Humans are visual creatures, so think about the kind of content that you would enjoy watching on someone else’s channel. Aim for videos that people will get sucked into, and want to watch until the end.

How is it different from the traditional Instagram feed?

On IGTV, creators can share videos up to 10 minutes long (an hour for “bigger” accounts like celebrities and verified users). This is, of course, much longer than the maximum one minute allotted to videos posted on a traditional feed, allowing content creators a greater opportunity to dive deep on their videos and drive engagement from their viewers.

How is it different from other video platforms?

When you open IGTV, videos begin playing immediately. The videos may be from people you follow or from accounts that Instagram recommends for you. It’s a pre-curated experience, allowing you to view more content you’re already likely to enjoy. The system is a double-edged sword though: While you may come across videos you wouldn’t come across on YouTube (Japanese-language nail tutorials, for example), you also aren’t able to search for specific content. 

IGTV is also integrated with Instagram, allowing viewers to send IGTV videos to their friends through direct message. It’s a small detail that could add up to more viewers.

How do I create a channel?

From IGTV in Instagram or the IGTV app, click the gear icon to go to IGTV settings and then select Create Channel.

One benefit of IGTV: Your account followers will automatically be included as channel followers. That means you can focus more on content than on building an audience.

What are the video requirements?

Videos must be between 15 seconds and 10 minutes, with a maximum file size of 650MB, and in MP4 format. Videos on IGTV are presented vertically (instead of the YouTube standard of horizontal) at a 9:16 aspect ratio, so be sure to film and crop accordingly for best results. Videos cannot be filmed or edited within IGTV, so get them completely ready to go before uploading.

How do I upload a video?

In IGTV, touch your profile photo to view your channel. Tap the “+” sign, then select the video you want to upload. Click Next, then add a video title and description (descriptions can contain hashtags, hyperlinks, and account mentions). Tap Post.

You can also upload videos directly from your desktop computer by navigating to your profile on Instagram.com, clicking “IGTV” just above your feed, and clicking the Upload button.

How do I follow someone else’s channel?

Good news: If you’re following their Instagram, then you’re already able to watch their videos. Just open IGTV and tap on the Following tab, or head to their profile and tap the IGTV icon (if they’ve shared IGTV videos).

As of now, no one is really sure what the impact of IGTV will be. Many brands are experimenting with content made specifically for the platform, while others are just re-cropping and posting content from their YouTube or Instagram Stories. If you’ve been working on your video content and want to drive engagement on your Instagram account, now might be the time to start testing the waters of IGTV.


NAILS’ social media columnist Sarah Waite is a licensed nail tech and the creator of the popular nail art website www.chalkboardnails.com. Follow her on Instagram @chalkboardnails.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.