What Is IGTV and How Is It Different?

By Emma Fitzpatrick  

Instagram now has over one billion monthly active users. And just as Instagram was making that announcement, it also dropped a brand-new app called IGTV. Should you care? Maybe. If you’re a marketer who uses video, here’s what the news could mean for you.

What is IGTV?

IGTV is an Instagram feature that allows content creators to upload videos as long as one hour. Over time, that limit may increase—or even go away entirely. Because IGTV is built for mobile, all videos air vertically and fill the entire phone screen.

“It’s time for video to move forward, and evolve,” said Instagram’s CEO and co-founder, Kevin Systrom, at a press event. “IGTV is for watching long-form videos from your favorite creators.”


Users can like, comment or send videos to friends using Instagram Direct. Content creators, too, can keep the conversation going by adding a call-to-action using the “Swipe Up” feature seen in Stories.

“We made it a dedicated app, so you can tap on it and enjoy video without all the distraction,” Systrom said. “When people browse through the feed they don’t want to stop and watch a 10-minute video.”

How many places are there to post content on Instagram?  

With the addition of IGTV, there are now three. Here’s a refresher on how each is different.

  1. Instagram Feed – Photos that you upload to your feed are there until you remove them. Users access them as they scroll through the app.



  1. Instagram Stories: These are 15-second videos that disappear in 24 hours (unless you save them to your highlights). To access, users tap through the circles at the top of the app.
  2. IGTV: A way to upload vertical videos of up to 60 minutes on your own branded ITGV channel. Users access IGTV by tapping the TV icon in the top right of the Instagram app. It’s also possible to download the standalone IGTV app on either Google Play or the App Store.

Which content works best where?

Nearly 10,000 people told Facebook researchers exactly what they what to see more of on Instagram’s feed and Instagram Stories. Here’s what your bank should know.

Instagram Feed

According to Facebook research, content should…

  • Capture visual beauty. People want to see drop-dead gorgeous images in their feed. You should frame the photos right, pile on the filters and make pictures aesthetically pleasing.
  • Share information. People want to find information on your feed, so write longer captions. Also, your profile should have all the essential information people need to know about your bank (what you do, what you’re like and how to reach you).
  • Lead with passion. As people scroll through, they’re looking to connect with new accounts who share their passion and interests. Put your enthusiasm for what you do front and center on your feed. Then, add the right hashtags to get found.
  • Be refreshed While Instagram Stories have seen a huge uptick in use since their release, the feed is still where people are most comfortable. According to Facebook’s marketing research arm, Facebook IQ, people opt for the feed “for a greater number and range of use cases.” Make sure this stays your top priority for now.


Instagram Stories

Content should…

  • Ooze authenticity. People scroll through their feed for beauty. On Stories, they want to connect. Find the people who represent your bank. Showcase them and what they’re really like. This one is as simple as letting your brand representatives be themselves.
  • Share slice-of-life. Again, with Stories, you don’t have to be exciting. Nothing special has to be going on. You can simply share snippets of your day.
  • Show your fun side. People want more funny, playful content on Stories. Here’s an opportunity to showcase the human side of your brand. Laugh as you’re creating it. Break the mold. The content disappears in 24 hours, so (working with compliance, of course) use this as tool for finding out what connects with your audience.

IGTV Video

Because IGTV just launched, these ideas aren’t backed up by extensive research like the above. But here’s some food for thought.

  • Don’t go overboard. Even though you can upload up to 60 minutes of video, 2-3 minutes appears to be the sweet spot. Or if you want to do something truly long-form, try 10 minutes.
  • Not sure what to do first? Start by analyzing the performance of your top ten best Instagram Stories. What type of content do they capture? Start by creating more of what works.
  • In the same vein, pinpoint your best videos on other platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook or Instagram Live. Can you re-edit them to fit Instagram’s vertical video? If so, the editing hours you log will likely be less than filming a brand new video.
  • Start a series. Using the data on which of your videos perform best, how could you create content weekly? Perhaps you answer a client question each week, show a new use for a product or show a day-in-the-life of someone at your bank. Brainstorm ways to create regularly scheduled content that reflects what’s already working. Think of this as your very own TV channel.
  • Get personal. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, CEOs who engage on social media more often are among the most well regarded. When you showcase your leaders’ pearly whites and share their personalities, you draw viewers in and make it easy for them to connect with your institution. Take your CEO or other faces of the company and have them create an intro about your bank and themselves.
  • Educate. Likewise, people can never get enough how-to videos. Answer the top questions you get on social or through your customer representatives. Explain the difference between accounts, the first step to getting a mortgage and more.

Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social media marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at [email protected].