Business Insider Edition

Instagram removed the IGTV button from the main app as creators question how useful the feature is

Connor Perrett , Business Insider US
 Jan 22, 2020, 05:59 PM
To "edit" a comment on Instagram, you'll have to delete it.
  • Instagram removed a link to IGTV content from the main page of its app over the weekend, which some have said indicates the product has failed to meet expectations.
  • Launched in 2018, the vertical long-form video platform has failed to adopt mainstream success, and Instagram says it's trying to improve the service by implementing changes, like the removal of the unpopular button.
  • A creator who uses IGTV told Insider even he doesn't quite understand the platform and said he wouldn't use it if he could upload longer videos to Instagram, which are limited to under a minute.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage

Instagram over the weekend removed a button from the main screen of its app that allowed users to access IGTV content, which it says is just one part in a series of moves the company is making to make the platform, which has been largely unpopular, easier to use.

In a statement to Insider, a spokesperson for Instagram listed several changes Instagram has made to the IGTV experience, which included removing the link to IGTV on the main page. Other changes include allowing creators to upload to IGTV using the same page they use to upload photos and videos to Instagram and the introduction of IGTV series.

"As we've continued to work on making it easier for people to create and discover IGTV content, we've learned that most people are finding IGTV videos through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators' profiles and the standalone app," the spokesperson told Insider. "Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app. We always aim to keep Instagram as simple as possible, so we're removing this icon based on these learnings and feedback from our community."

IGTV was launched by Instagram in June 2018 as a YouTube competitor, though Instagram's long-form video platform focuses on vertical video - optimised for viewing on mobile phones - which was a selling point for the Facebook-owned company at the time of its launch.

According to TechCrunch, the adoption of IGTV has been particularly disappointing when compared to the rise of rival TikTok. Since June 2018, the standalone IGTV app has had 1.1 million downloads in the US, while TikTok has had some 80.5 million.

In October 2018, several months after IGTV was released, Intelligencer reported there was very little interest in the platform, and some Instagram users said they were flat-out confused by the purpose of IGTV. More than a year later, to some, it feels like Instagram has done little to clear up that confusion among its users despite its attempts to simplify the IGTV experience.

Juan Eliezer, a 41-year-old Instagram creator who regularly posts content to Instagram said, despite posting content to IGTV for months, he recently found himself trying to look online for answers about the difference between Instagram and IGTV, and still, he said, he didn't quite get it.

"I get that it's almost a separate platform where these videos live, but the way I think of it, it's still Instagram, because I wouldn't know how to just go on IGTV," Eliezer, who has more than 16,300 followers on Instagram, said. "Where the hell is IGTV?"

Even more, Eliezer said that some of his Instagram followers are still perplexed by IGTV, often reaching out to him to ask where the rest of a video is once the minute-long preview on his regular Instagram feed ends, leaving viewers hanging for the rest.

"I don't even know what it is," Eliezer, who said he only uses IGTV when he doesn't feel like editing his videos, said. "I just think of it as another feature within Instagram."

Eliezer added he believed the videos - which involve him playing an old woman from the Dominican Republic - he posted to IGTV performed worse than the under-a-minute videos that he posted to his regular feed.

"The main reason I use IGTV is because it allows me to post content that's longer than a minute, to be totally honest," Eliezer said. "If I didn't need IGTV to do that, I would probably never use IGTV."

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