You’re about to start seeing a lot more content from IGTV, the long-form video service Instagram rolled out last summer that was meant s to be kind of YouTube rival, but which hasn’t managed to gain significant traction so far.
Starting today, Instagram is going to start shoving previews of IGTV content into your main feed, ideally hoping that you’ll see something that sparks you to want to jump into IGTV itself — and maybe even watch more videos there. Facebook, which of course owns Instagram, hasn’t yet disclosed usage stats for the IGTV service that it launched back in June, which calls to mind the similarly tepid response with which some users have greeted Facebook Watch.
From the company’s perspective, however, this new move can help boost usage of IGTV (for which there’s also a standalone app) as long as a delicate balance is struck and user feeds aren’t overwhelmed with content they didn’t ask for and some of them may not want at all. “With IGTV previews in Feed, we’re making it even easier to discover and watch the latest video content from your favorite follows,” an Instagram representative told Variety.
A few other points to note about this: This is a significant move, because any decision like this affecting Instagram is significant given that the app has now displaced Facebook for many users as their go-to social destination. Recall, also, that Instagram helped boost the usage of its Stories feature — which of course lives in a strip at the top of the app — by also putting a block of stories you can check out down below as you scroll through the main feed.
It will be interesting to see if that same move has a similar affect when it comes to IGTV, since, anecdotally at least, user activity seems to be shifting more towards focusing largely on Instagram Stories and not interacting through the main feed to the same degree they did when it was the app’s primary focus.
Facebook disclosed its fourth quarter earnings last week, and while CEO Mark Zuckerberg celebrated the fact that Instagram now has more than 500 million active daily users for Stories, he didn’t mention IGTV at all.
Per Variety: “With the new feature, creators can now share a one-minute preview of their video on their profile when they upload a new IGTV video. Instagram’s previous attempts to highlight IGTV have included IGTV in Explore, sharing IGTV videos to Stories, saving IGTV videos and allowing for IGTV web embeds. IGTV allows users to upload videos up to 10 minutes long to their own channel, while select large creators are able to upload videos of up to one hour.”