The Future Of IGTV

IGTV has had a rough start, having yet to find clear footing within the creative industry and falling short of users. Since its initiation, it has consistently lost additional downloads of its separate app (See Chart Below Via Sensor Tower). Looking at its integration on Instagram, however, what started as a tiny button that was frequently overlooked, is slowly gaining more visibility through recent app developments, each of which work to incentivize viewership on the platform.

Most recently, Instagram has included a feature for creators to share their IGTV videos in-feed, prompting viewers to click to open in IGTV to watch the rest of the video. The hope is that viewers then continue to spend time watching videos within IGTV via the application’s suggested videos. This has since given influencers a huge bump in video viewership. Pulse talent, Masha (@masha_theone), used to receive an average of 15k - 35k views on her in-feed Instagram Videos and only 5k on her IGTV. Masha’s first video posted in-feed & on IGTV recieved 4.2 million views and counting. These videos have allowed her to grow from 286k to 300k followers in 2 weeks. The Instagram algorithm therefore plays a large role due to its ability to suggest videos on the home page or within the app. If Instagram wants IGTV to work, it is going to push this content out to the Instagram database of users. All in all, Masha proves that creating content for the IGTV will likely pay off. As of now, it is a great place for new creators to experiment who have yet to create a community on YouTube. It allows social media personalities to share on a more personal level via video to their existing Instagram followers and grow their network through the explore feature. In terms of influencer marketing, the trend towards video will only continue to grow, as its persuasiveness overshadows still images.

Instagram’s goal for IGTV is to increase viewership and become a competitor to YouTube. However, IGTV has some major roadblocks it must overcome before its viewership can reach the likes of YouTube. In order for IGTV to gain users, it must have exclusive, desired content from key figures in the creator space. Therefore, Instagram must incentivize creators to make content for IGTV. Additionally, YouTube content creators have yet to see the purpose of producing video content in the new vertical format. This aspect ratio creates new parameters for creation, and from Instagram’s perspective, encourages more up-close-and-personal content. IGTV must create a type of content best suited for the platform to differentiate itself from YouTube and other video applications such as TikTok.

It’s important to add that Instagram has also yet to monetize its creators through advertising revenue share. This helps YouTube creators fund their content uploads and incentivizes them to create content for the channel versus Instagram. Without monetary incentive, creators can be motivated to post content with the goal of growing their follower network. However, Instagram is providing little in terms of viewership that would lead to new followers.

In conclusion, in order for IGTV to compete, it must encourage more active users and viewers through incentivizing creators to make high quality, exclusive content -- only then can it live up to its potential within the powerful community of 800 million + Instagram users.

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