The vertical video trend is growing and will only keep growing, whether you choose to join this bandwagon or not. In our haste to consume content turning a phone sideways or holding it with both hands isn’t worth it. Maybe when we are in the comfort of our rooms and choose to relax, we might consciously go horizontal with videos. Most of the time, people hold their phones vertically.

It is of no use listing all the reasons why we watch a video. In this digital age, videos seem to be the significant thing your audience wants, because they watch videos to occupy the space of time when they are not mentally engaged, like waiting for a bus, waiting for a friend, or having a snack break. It is not off to see people watching videos while walking along a sidewalk.

The vertical video trend started as a result of people forgetting to turn their phones before filming. Then in the early 2010s, Snapchat’s instant popularity made it a viable video format, reaching 10 billion daily video views by 2016.

Instagram jumped on the vertical bandwagon with Stories in mid-2016. In June 2018, they launched IGTV, which is opposed to the disappearing 15-second format of stories. IGTV now lets users and brands create long-form vertical videos that stay permanently on their own channel.

But before we fully convince you to join anyway, we would be fair to educate you on what IGTV is and why vertical video on IGTV is predicted to make the buzz.


What is Instagram TV (IGTV)?

IGTV represents Instagram’s new attempt into a long-form video, where in the past you could post videos limited to 15 seconds. Users can now upload videos of up to 10 minutes (and one hour for select accounts!)

A regular Instagram user would have noticed a little difference in its appearance lately. The difference in appearance is the addition of the little TV icon next to the direct messages arrow in the top right of the screen. That little icon is the gateway to Instagram’s latest feature: Instagram TV (IGTV).

The new feature also comes with its very own app, available on both Android and iOS platforms. However, of course, as explained earlier, you can also access the feature through the usual Instagram app. Once you open the app (or navigate to it in the Instagram app), you will be presented with a format you are likely used to if you have used or watched Instagram Stories.

You will be faced with an array of videos from those you follow. When clicked on, the videos will start playing on a loop. You can swipe to the left if you wish to skip any video and move on to the next.

You can search for videos, see popular videos, and continue watching videos you had not finished previously.


IGTV Against Stories and Other Video Platforms

The biggest difference between Instagram TV and Stories is the time limit. As we covered before, Stories allow only 15 seconds, while IGTV allows up to 10 minutes. Because of this significant time difference, the way the two are used will differ as well, especially for brands.

While Stories are great for content you want to get out very quickly, IGTV will prove very useful for things like product videos, how-to videos, Q&A sessions, etc.

It will also give influencers a more suitable place for product recommendations and reviews, which could make the already thriving influencer marketing strategies even more appealing to brands.

But while adoption of IGTV is still slow, even with Instagram’s massive user base, we can only expect IGTV to keep growing. So, it is better you start getting ready.

Now, let’s give you 6 tips for creating vertical videos on IGTV.


1. Fit the vertical aspect ratio

The official aspect ratio for IGTV is 9:16, along with IG stories and the Facebook Feed. This means your video should be at least 1080 x 1920 pixels.

If more substantial, you still want to match the 9:16 ratio to ensure your video appears fully on phones. Also consider that the 9:16 can cause a slight crop due to the actual size of phone screens.

So, aim to leave a little room around your video’s borders, this way visuals such as text won’t get clipped out. Also, have a thumbnail cover image to upload that is 9:16 and at least 1080 x 1920 pixels.


2. Fit today’s attention span

So far, IGTV allows for up to 1-hour videos, with unlimited length uploads coming in the future. Moreover, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The optimum length of videos for social media are 2 to 5 minutes, and shorter is preferred when possible, in order to keep your audience engaged.

You can get away with more extended content if the video remains interesting to your followers but consider editing longer videos into multiple parts. Turn a 20-minute video into 4 parts, letting people breathe and giving them a reason to check back.

Also, like with any social media video, aim to grab the viewer in the first couple of seconds before the swipe past. Knowing that people will get distracted or interrupted, Instagram has helped us out with a “continue watching” tab on IGTV.


3. Leverage Instagram Stories

It does not hurt to start with Stories as it is still contained in the same platform – Instagram. Here is the reason why: with IGTV being brand new and Instagram Stories having over 300 million daily active users, it pays to leverage Stories.

Instagram allows a direct link from a Story to an IGTV video by swiping up. This implies that you can post preview teaser clips on Stories, with users able to click to watch the full IGTV video. This is also useful if you split up a longer video into multiple IGTV clips, letting you reach followers when each clip is posted.


4. Graphic animations are perfect

Like with Stories, graphic animations are perfect for IGTV due to their animated but not filmed nature. They can be designed to fully utilize the 9:16 format with a mix of static and animated graphics, text and images mixed with sound. The result is an engaging way to communicate over a standard article.


5. Repurpose old video or blog content

Any vertical content you produced was probably posted to Stories and disappeared (unless it was saved to your IG profile’s Highlights). To maximise value, you could repost old Stories that will still be enjoyed or are still relevant to IGTV, including editing story segments into a complete video.

Since your IGTV channel is new, you can use this to build up a back catalogue before producing original IGTV videos. Old articles or blog posts could also be turned into graphic animations to reach and appeal to your IG audience.


6. Shooting horizontal?

If you are filming with a DSLR or any camera that is not your phone, it’s most likely shooting in a 3:2 or 4:3 format. This is often the case if you want to produce a traditional horizontal video for YouTube or Facebook and also want a vertical version. This works as well but requires planning and post-production. Keep your subject centred when filming to accommodate having to crop the sides in the post for the vertical version.

If you are filming horizontally, the recording quality has to be high or optimally 4K. This gives you lots of room to crop while still maintaining a high resolution. To be extra safe, shoot wide in general when horizontal filming, to ensure you have room to crop down to the right size. You can use FinalCut Pro X, an extremely popular editing tool that will let you easily resize your video, before posting on IGTV.

The whole thing sounds interesting, right? Then it is time for you to get started on IGTV and reach more audience for your brand.