The best thing about the new Instagram TV (IGTV) is …

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

In late June 2018, Instagram rolled out Instagram TV, which allows content creators to upload longer videos (up to 1 hour) to Instagram – or more accurately the IGTV section of Instagram.

You can access this directly from within the app:

From there you can watch other people’s channels and create your own. Instagram walks you through that process and it’s pretty straightforward:

We can be creative and engage through longer videos, according to Instagram. So as far as I can tell the differentiator is that videos can be longer.

Instagram proclaims that IGTV is build for “full-screen vertical” video. I actually can’t recall too many vertical videos to ever not be full screen.

But I have seen many vertically-shot videos uploaded to horizontal video players (like YouTube) and of course those black bars on the sides aren’t pretty.

So I suppose that’s a differentiator. Recording vertically – and you have to record first and then upload from your camera roll – is easier for mobile creators that do handheld videos. It comes more natural to hold the phone vertically.

On Day 1 of the rollout I saw many upload other videos that obviously weren’t optimized for vertical, by the way.

Over the years, I’ve reminded project members and clients to shoot sideways. It truly is hard to remember.

Also, for those of us talking to the camera vertically that’s easier. The camera is on top of the screen and more of a straight line to look at. So looking at the audience is easier. That also might improve the viewer experience.

Recording sideways, the camera is on the side and often creator’s eyes are drawn to the screen which isn’t quite in alignment now. To the viewer it looks like they are looking off screen.

In Facebook’s continued effort (they own IG) to add as many apps as possible there’s a new standalone app for IGTV. The user interface in the app looks nice but do I really need another app? Who has the phone storage?

You can also push your videos to your Facebook page:

If you do video and/or have a good Instagram audience now is the time to try it!

How will it evolve? No idea, but one prediction is that there will be ads within videos at some point.

That makes sense as TV is largely financed by commercials still.

I also like that you can give your Instagram TV videos titles so people can actually see what the topic is before they start watching-which was not possible on Instagram Live videos. Instagram Live videos, by the way, still exist as well.

We will see where it goes and how it evolves – as always, for now, let’s try it and sees if anyone watches.

Listen to my podcast