Following on from last week's blog on the global rollout of Facebook Watch, we decided to take a little look at Facebook’s younger sibling, Instagram, and delve into their own video offering, IGTV.

With both platforms clearly targeting the likes of Snapchat, YouTube and even Netflix, we’ll take a look at how you can use them in your video marketing efforts.

But first things first, let’s find out a little more about IGTV…

What is IGTV?

IGTV is a recently launched app created by Instagram, dedicated to full screen vertical video content.

It’s available to all Instagram users and upon opening the app, they’ll be presented with the latest videos from the people they follow - as well as content they ‘might like’ based on their interests.

Users can search for content and swipe up to switch between 4 different feeds:

  • For You
    This presents users with content from their favourite creators in addition to content that 'might interest them'
  • Following
    This is where users can browse all video content from the accounts they follow
  • Popular
    What's trending on IGTV
  • Continue Watching
    Users can pick up where they left off with partially watched content here

Check out IGTV's launch video below:

How do users access IGTV and how does it differ to video on Instagram?

Instagram users can access IGTV from its own newly launched app or directly from the top right of their Instagram feed.

Video posted to the Instagram feed is limited to 60 seconds in length.

As IGTV is a video only platform, longer limits are in place, though this depends on your popularity.

Verified users or those with a high number of followers (the exact eligibility figure is unknown) have access to a video limit of up to 1 hour on IGTV.

All other Instagram users have a video limit of 10 minutes on IGTV.

When was IGTV launched?

Whilst Facebook Watch technically preceded Instagram’s IGTV, launching in the States last year, it’s interesting that the global rollout of IGTV happened first - on June 20th of this year.

Whether this was purely to coincide with the announcement that Instagram reached 1 billion users, or whether this is a sign of which video platform Facebook has the most confidence in, we'll just have to speculate..

Can you advertise on IGTV?

Not yet.

Unlike Facebook watch, there are currently no ad breaks operating on IGTV content, so there’s no way to either monetise your videos by offering ad breaks, or advertise directly on the platform.

That’s not to say that advertising won’t be introduced in the future, in fact Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom suggested that IGTV is a “very reasonable place [for ads] to end up”.

So whilst in theory this depends on the user uptake and consumption of content on IGTV, it's unlikely to be long before ads are introduced on the platform, given the success of Instagram Stories in advertising.

What’s the difference between Facebook Watch and IGTV?

  • Video length limit
    Facebook watch uses Facebook’s standard video length limit of 240 minutes, where IGTV is currently limited to 10 minutes for standard users and 60 minutes for verified and popular users.

  • Ad breaks
    Facebook monetises Facebook Watch using ad breaks, where IGTV is currently ad-free.

  • Platform-funded content
    A la Netflix, Facebook has invested their own money into some original programming, such as the highly publicised Sorry for your Loss, where IGTV is currently only streaming user generated content.

Instagram did kindly allow some of their top creators early access to the app though, so that users wouldn’t be presented with an empty screen upon launch…

  • Vertical vs…landscape?
    IGTV is dedicated to full-screen vertical video content, built for the way most people hold their phones, where Facebook Watch content appears to be mostly landscape, just like, you know, actual TV.

This may be a deliberate two-pronged attack from the Facebook family, with IGTV tackling Snapchat and YouTube whilst Facebook guns for Netflix, Amazon and even cable providers.

  • Auto-play vs…press play?
    This one hardly seems worth mentioning, but apparently Instagram thinks it is.

In their press release announcing the arrival of IGTV, they gleefully explain that:

Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app



Not really sure why that’s a feature worth having or indeed mentioning nowadays, unless its perhaps aimed at brands who might see benefit from their content playing automatically.

Two birds, one stone.

It should be noted that whilst the two are separate platforms, you can choose to directly upload video content to IGTV and Facebook Watch at the same time via IGTV.

You simply toggle the ‘Make visible on Facebook Page’ button when posting your content to your IGTV channel.


Who can set up an IGTV channel?

Anyone with an Instagram account!

Simply tap the IGTV icon in the top right corner and click the
‘+’ sign to set up your channel.

Posting your first video to IGTV will allow your dedicated channel to be visible under your Instagram account bio.

Which should I use for video marketing, Facebook Watch or IGTV?

Short answer? Use both if you can.

The long answer really depends on your audience and the kind of content you’re creating.

Ask yourself the following questions..

  • Can you shoot or turn existing video into high quality vertical content?

What are you waiting for? Get that on IGTV! Just don’t be afraid to hit the publish to Facebook Page button too.

Post to your Facebook Page only - you’ll stick out like a sore thumb with landscape video on IGTV.

  • Is your best performing content longer than 10 minutes and best viewed in one sitting e.g. webinars, tutorials or live interviews?

Keep this on your Facebook Page, unless you’re verified or have a high number of followers on Instagram, you’ll only have 10 minutes to play with on IGTV.

N.B. Please, please, please check that your longer videos are actually performing well by looking at your average watch rate.

It’s no secret that shorter content is easier to digest. Get this content out vertically on IGTV and on your Facebook Page too.

  • Are you B2B or B2C?

Given the ever so slightly older audience on Facebook and the types of video content you’ll likely be creating, B2B marketers are better suited to Facebook.

With brands and video advertisements playing best directly into the hands (literally) of their audiences, IGTV is the perfect playing field for B2C marketers.

  • Are you looking to boost your video content with paid advertising?

Well, keep in mind that on IGTV you can’t do this (yet) so stick to Facebook for that side of things.

Well then, refer to the questions above to see whether you should focus on IGTV, Facebook or both!


Video is the future.

We’ve heard it time and time again in the marketing world, and it’s clear that the online landscape is rapidly evolving to serve this ever increasing demand for video content.

We’ve also heard that organic reach is dead.

Well, with both Facebook Watch and IGTV, your organic video content is directly delivered to your followers in a place they expect to see it - no boosting required. Yet.

With both platforms only rolled out globally in the last couple of months, our advice is to make the most of them now, before they become another over-saturated space where you’ll struggle to make yourself heard - without paying for it.

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  1. Instagram Press - Welcome to IGTV
  2. Wordstream - How to Take Advantage of Instagram's bold new format

Further reading

  1. Business for Instagram - Introducing IGTV
  2. RampUp - What is IGTV and what does it mean for marketers?
  3. AdAge - On Instagram TV, brands go longer and weirder
  4. IGTV - Instagram help centre