Longer Video Comes To Instagram, Finally!

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On Wednesday Instagram rolled out their new dedicated video platform called IGTV. That means longer, vertical videos on the social media platform that used to be just for photos.

Instagram teased us a little while ago about offering long-form video content. I’ll admit, I wasn’t super keen on the idea at first. Was I going to scroll through my feed and suddenly run into a 10 minute vlog? That’s not the Instagram I know and love!

But Wednesday’s announcement from Instagram not only calmed my fears by not including the longer new videos in my precious feed, but it has me very excited about the expansion of Instagram.

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From our CEO @kevin: “Today, we have two big announcements to share. First, Instagram is now a global community of one billion! Since our launch in 2010, we’ve watched with amazement as the community has flourished and grown. This is a major accomplishment — so from all of us at Instagram, thank you! Second, we’re announcing our most exciting feature to date: IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video from your favorite Instagram creators, like LaurDIY (@laurdiy) posting her newest project or King Bach (@kingbach) sharing his latest comedy skit. While there’s a stand-alone IGTV app, you’ll also be able to watch from within the Instagram app so the entire community of one billion can use it from the very start. IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long. We made it simple, too. Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests. You can swipe up to discover more — switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct. Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel. Instagram has always been a place to connect with the people who inspire, educate and entertain you every day. With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love. IGTV will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks on iOS and Android.

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But before you jump in an start publishing new content, here’s what you need to know about IGTV:

It’s built into the Instagram app, but there’s also a standalone IGTV app

While there is a new app for both iOS and Android, there’s also a new section of the existing app that is dedicated to IGTV content. So that means these new videos won’t clog up your regular Instagram feed. For now it currates videos based on your interests, who you follow, and what’s trending. And so far I’m addicted. It’s easy to get sucked in – just like we all do with YouTube videos. So they’ve made the platform in a way that keeps the videos coming at you.

It’s all vertical video

IGTV is aiming to be a head-on competitor of YouTube. Facebook (who owns Instagram) recently launched Facebook Watch to try and compete with Netflix. And now IGTV is setting its sights on YouTube. But with the growing popularity of vertical videos, IGTV is placing their bets on vertical. Sure, you can upload a landscape video, but it will stick out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of IGTV’s content and more importantly, it will fail to make use of all the real estate available on the screen.

For years, videographers like me, have scoffed at vertical videos because our cameras are made to shoot landscape, videos have always been landscape, and that’s the way TVs are made. A few years ago, I was one of “those people” who commented on friends’ vertical videos telling them to turn their phone when they filmed videos. But with the prevalence of smartphones, vertical video is here to stay, and I’m now on board with the trend and I’m excited to watch longer videos without having to turn my phone.

It’s meant for longer videos

For now, you’ll have a time limit on IGTV video uploads: anywhere from 10 minutes (for us common-folk) to 60 minutes (for big celebrities and brands). Instagram is trying to lure younger influences and vloggers to the platform. So don’t expect to see feature films on IGTV anytime soon, but vloggers who have published solely on YouTube might make their way over to IGTV and keep Instagram’s teen audience on the app longer.

It’s a step up from Instagram Stories

IGTV videos don’t have to be polished TV commercials or documentaries. It’s still social media, and real, authentic, raw videos are what people want to watch. But with IGTV, there’s an opportunity to produce and curate content that is higher quality than an in-the-moment Instagram Story or Live video. For brands this means any video you produce for your YouTube channel – with a little bit of planning for vertical video – can be produced for your IGTV channel as well.

What You Can Expect to See (My Prediction)

Creators should flock to the platform right away to try out the new, shiny thing. There will be no ads (for now), so that will entice viewers and provide a clean viewing experience as Instagram ramps up the new service.

At first, I think businesses and vloggers may try posting the same content to both YouTube and IGTV to test out the waters, but the real success for both IGTV and creators will come when new, original content is created specifically for IGTV and a page’s Instagram audience.


I’m very excited to see how IGTV plays (pun intended) out and how impacts both Instagram and YouTube. It may seem like just another social media channel that you have to manage now, but with some planning and effective repurposing of your content, I think IGTV has big potential for brands, individuals, and businesses alike.