Instagram Reels vs IGTV: What’s the difference?

Instagram offers lots of opportunities to connect with your audience, but in such an overcrowded environment, how do you utilise the right ones to break through the noise without overdoing it?

Instagram Stories is a tried and tested feature, but what about Instagram’s other features? IGTV and Reels are Instagram’s other video sharing options. Both offer different opportunities to share different types of content:

IGTV (Instagram TV)


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A post shared by Therabody (@therabody)

  • Long-form videos, up to 10 minutes
  • Visible on main profile and separate IGTV tab 
  • Think of it as Instagram’s version of YouTube
  • A place for high quality, edited content 
  • Offer automatic captions available in 16 languages
  • IGTV videos appear 4x larger than photos on the Explore page
  • Ideal to share polished content, brand films, webinars, Q&As, cinematic advertising
  • Previewed on main feed promoting click-throughs to profile
  • Can be uploaded via desktop  
  • Can sort videos into series 
  • You can add a ‘swipe up’ button when you share your IGTV video to your Story



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A post shared by Therabody UK (@therabody_uk)


  • Short-form video, up to 15 seconds
  • Easily created on a smartphone, the function allows you to add music/filters and edit with creative tools 
  • Perfect for entertaining and educational content 
  • Automatically upload to Explore page 
  • Instagram’s version of TikTok

Both features have their own tab on your profile (image of this) once you’ve created your first of each, so they can be easily viewed. It’s also worth noting that both features require an aspect ratio of 9:16 – essentially all content must be filmed in portrait. You can add titles, descriptions, and hashtags, just like a normal feed post. 

Why should I use them?

The line between your work life and your social life is now more blurred than ever before. With many of us working from home (or living at work, some might say), and flexible working hours, there is no strict time or place purely for work purposes, so you must create value wherever your audience is at every opportunity possible.

81% of people use Instagram to research products and services, and 2 in 3 people say it helps foster interactions with brands.*

What gets better engagement?

Instagram’s algorithm is constantly changing, which can make it difficult to predict what form of content is going to come out on top. Before looking into any stats for your particular research, think about what your goal is on social media and realistically what are your capabilities in creating content.

Are you trying to build loyalty, extend your reach or grow your reputation? Are you all about sales and leads? Both IGTV and reels enable you to offer value to your customer, whether it’s through entertainment or education. Like most things with social, the key is consistent posting and quality control.

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Content Creation: where do I start?

If you’re starting from scratch, repurposing content is a great place to start to build your empire of Instagram content. Got a YouTube video from a company celebration or event? What about snippets from a recent webinar or even a brand film? These are perfect long-form content examples that would suit IGTV. 

Similar to TikTok, educational content Reels get great engagement, how about a five-step, ‘how to’ video of using your product? This is also the perfect place to utilise influencer marketing. Take a look at how our client, Therabody, uses influencers and reels. 

Stuck for ideas? Try these:

  • Behind the scenes – give your audience a peek behind the curtain
  • Meet the team – get personal, showcase your people 
  • Tour of the office/facilities – where are your products made?
  • Our story – Did your business start in your garage? How did you get to where you are today?
  • “5 ways my product makes your life better” – ok not those exact words, but you get what we mean. Showcase your products in action. 

To get personalised advice on creating content for your business on Instagram, get in touch with our expert team: 

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Jeremy Taylor
Date: 5th March 2021
Category: Blog

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