What Happened To IGTV On Instagram?
IGTV is an Instagram feature that allows you to upload high-quality, long-form videos. Learn everything about this feature and how to make the most of it.
Instagram is among the most popular social media mobile apps, and it has a number of features available. Some of these features have been around since day one, while others have come and gone. One feature that falls into the latter camp is IGTV, which was present in the Instagram app until October 2021. So it begs the question, “What happened to IGTV Instagram?”
The primary reason why IGTV no longer has a tag on its app is because Instagram has adjusted the app to focus more on video content. To learn more about IGTV, read below.
Basically, IGTV Instagram was meant to be an answer to YouTube, in hopes of being for mobile devices what YouTube is for desktop devices. Users could upload videos on their mobile device that have a maximum length of 15 minutes, and a maximum size of 650 MB. Meanwhile, desktop users of the IGTV website could upload videos that have a maximum length of 60 minutes, with a maximum file size of 3.6 GB.
When users launch the app, a video begins playing right away, with the idea being that users could jump into content immediately without having to look for anything to watch. The app was available on both Android and iOS devices.
When it originally launched, it only had support for vertical videos. However, one year later, Instagram added the ability to upload videos with a landscape orientation, which was a welcome change for IGTV Instagram users – what little there was, anyway. Because, as the very subject of this article suggests, there were not nearly enough to justify its continued existence.
VIDEO: Hotmart Tips IGTV: what is it and why use it for your strategy | Hotmart Tips
As part of their efforts to focus on video content, they got rid of the IGTV tab and merged it with the in-feed videos found in the Instagram Video feature.
This change was preceded by the announcement by Instagram that they would be changing their focus from images to videos, citing both TikTok and YouTube as the reason why they decided that they needed to make the aforementioned change. After all, if they failed to respond to shifting markets, then the market would ultimately leave them behind.
IGTV only actually lasted for a total of three years, debuting originally in 2018, with the aims of being for mobile users what YouTube is for desktop users. Instagram put a lot of marketing and promotion into making this the next big thing, and everyone could see it coming on the horizon due to a number of leaks.
This, in and of itself, was not an unsound strategy. YouTube was a popular app on smartphones, don’t get us wrong, but it certainly wasn’t anything like how much of a cultural touchstone TikTok is today.
However, it was perhaps a little too late and poorly executed, at least by comparison, considering the fact that TikTok came to the US only two months after they launched IGTV. But what else caused it to fail?
People weren’t interested in a new app
Originally, IGTV content could only be accessed from the app itself, meaning that Instagram users who were interested in it would have to use an extra app.
Getting someone to download a second app is a big ask, especially if it is not an app that does anything particularly special compared to apps they already have. Why bother downloading IGTV if you already have TikTok, YouTube, AND Instagram already?
The beginning was the end
While IGTV Instagram lasted a few years before being phased out, that isn’t because it fizzled out from being previously successful. Even the promotion of IGTV was a frustrating, confusing, and messy process.
For example, a New York reveal of IGTV at Instagram’s New York office was plagued by issues, which caused the attendees to have to wait hours to see the reveal. Even when the reveal finally began, there were issues with the video cutting out, and then even having the audio cut out just to add insult to injury.
This event had IGTV debuted to its audience by former Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom. This announcement took place in June 2018, and it was only a few short months later that Systrom would leave the company.
Whether this was to do with IGTV or if he was merely leaving the company is up for speculation. However, reports show that Systrom may have left due to bad blood with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Impressions were pretty lukewarm
This article by NYMag, only months after IGTV’s release, was expressing skepticism about whether there was any hope for IGTV to ever prove successful. A big part of their strategy was to get their biggest users involved in IGTV, thus causing Instagram’s rather sizable audience to come along for the ride.
One of the big downsides to this strategy, however, is that the people they tried to work with often did not actually use the feature much, if at all. Some had only a couple of videos on it, while others had literally zero. This suggests that even then, the celebrities who would theoretically be a draw had no actual interest in the platform.
Without that interest, your audience isn’t going to be very interested either. This low interest caused the app to quickly fall off the top app downloads list, and the views for videos on IGTV were paltry compared to YouTube and TikTok.
We can intuit that IGTV was a failure due to the fact that it, well, failed, and the reason why is also pretty simple. Basically, IGTV came onto the market without providing people on YouTube with a reason to switch.
It’s less worthwhile than just using the Instagram app
A lot of the biggest on Instagram do not use it at all, and without that, you can’t exactly pull people away. And if an influencer wants to have success on Instagram, pretty much any other feature would be more worthwhile.
Poor timing and execution
Another issue IGTV had was that the people behind it were grappling both with poor timing and with the confused direction they were trying to take it in. It started with the idea of dethroning YouTube, but it was also involved in a tug-of-war battle by trying to compete with TikTok as well.
While it was unlikely, perhaps Instagram could have been more successful in their efforts to make IGTV Instagram a hit if they decided to do one over the other. Heck, the fact that the Instagram Reels feature proved to be much more successful than IGTV shows that to be true. Nevertheless, IGTV ultimately floundered due to that indecisiveness.
In 2020, Instagram began to slowly scale down their support for IGTV. For example, in that same year, the ability for users to navigate to a page in the Instagram app that had curated IGTV content was removed. Though judging from the user’s reception to this, many likely did not even notice it left.
One attempt by Instagram to turn IGTV’s traction around was to simply rename the feature in the app to Instagram TV. Essentially the same name, just unabbreviated, yet it would likely have been at least a little better if IGTV was immediately obvious to be an Instagram app.
Judging by a lot of the issues people had with IGTV, it can’t be said that it was a problem with them not being able to get the word out well enough. This rebranding originally occurred in October 2021.
Updates cease for the IGTV app
While IGTV was rebranded as the Instagram app, the IGTV app continued to be titled this way. To us, this suggests that Instagram, at the very least, was already looking to get rid of the app in its entirety.
Another clue to this fact can be found in knowing that the app was no longer receiving any updates as of August 2021, which is never a good sign for the health of any app.
It was quickly apparent to Instagram that changing the name of IGTV to Instagram TV did not make any material impact on their video content’s success. The premise of both the app and the feature just did not have enough weight behind it, and neither content creators nor viewers were particularly interested in this feature.
In March 2022, they dropped Instagram TV altogether, instead going with Instagram Video as part of the regular Instagram app. The IGTV app was also removed from all app stores, and people who already had it downloaded could no longer use it.
What happened to IGTV content and contributors?
One valid concern about the shutdown of IGTV for both content creators and users, however, is what will ultimately happen to said content. Thankfully, Instagram had more sense than to allow the IGTV content to become lost media, as all content that was posted to it was moved over to the Instagram app.
Instagram is going to make efforts to compensate the IGTV content creators by paying them a certain amount of money for a temporary period of time. This amount is based on recent earnings of those content creators on the IGTV app.
Companies discontinuing devices, apps, and features is no uncommon thing. For example, Google has a bad reputation for abandoning many projects, with the most recent example being Google Stadia, which was much less considerate of the people affected by its shutdown.
This includes not only hurting a lot of employees and developers who didn’t know until the day of its shutdown, but also means that exclusive games may be lost forever. At the very least, we can say that Instagram handled the shutdown of IGTV better than Google did with Google Stadia.
Shortly after announcing the discontinuation of IGTV in March 2022, Instagram announced two other discontinuations, both of which being video-sharing platforms.
Boomerang and Hyperlapse
The first, Boomerang, allowed users to create one-second-long looping videos, which is a bit strange, but to be fair, is at least a concept that no other competing platform appeared to be doing.
The second, Hyperlapse, allowed users to create timelapse features. Once again, a little strange, but a novel concept nonetheless.
One thing devout Instagram users may notice about both of these apps is that their features have been available in the actual Instagram app for a while. Thus, it would likely make more sense for Instagram to shut down both apps and focus on maintaining and improving their respective features in one spot. Sometimes, it’s just better to have all your eggs in one basket.
The Boomerang app was not exactly a slouch, as it had many users. At the time of its shutdown, the Boomerang app had in excess of 300 million installs, which is nothing to shake a stick at. It’s not going to make it the next TikTok, but it was likely at least somewhat popular.
However, Hyperlapse was significantly less successful, so no one should be exactly be surprised that it was discontinued. The app only had 23 million users at the time of its discontinuation, which makes sense since time-lapsed videos are not exactly in demand.
The Layout app
Instagram also has a Layout app on Android and iOS devices, and the app allows users to combine multiple images into one. Being that so many other apps have been removed from these stores, there has been speculation that this app will be the next one on the chopping block. However, whether that is the case remains to be seen.
Instagram failed with IGTV, but what about other video features? As discussed, Instagram does have Instagram Video under its belt, but that’s not the only example of their attempts. For example, Instagram Stories is a Snapchat-like feature that allows users to upload photos, videos, updates, etc.
They can then either highlight the post to keep it forever, or leave it unhighlighted, which causes it to eventually be deleted after 24 hours. Instagram Stories is much older than IGTV, coming out in 2016 (around the same time TikTok originally launched).
Where the idea behind IGTV was to compete with YouTube in the mobile space, this next feature – Instagram Reels – was intended to be competitive with TikTok, the new big player in town. As opposed to IGTV, where videos were of wildly varying length, Instagram Reels were limited in terms of length.
Originally, users could only submit 15-second videos, but now videos can be up to 90 seconds long. This feature was no TikTok killer, but it did show greater growth than Instagram Stories is showing.
Is Instagram Reels successful?
Instagram Reels, being a competitor of TikTok, definitely has a leg up over IGTV, as short-form video content was significantly more popular and successful for mobile users than long-form video content. How successful the feature is ultimately comes down to a number of factors, though perhaps the most notable of these is region.
While Instagram Reels is beaten by TikTok in many of the regions they are both available in, TikTok is not available in all regions. For example, India has a ban on TikTok, which allowed Instagram Reels to be the preeminent short-form video content provider, resulting in its userbase exceeding 200 million people in total.
Judging by this data, it seems that Instagram Reels has proven to be a more successful venture for Instagram than IGTV was.
VIDEO: What is Instagram Reels and how to use it to grow your audience | Hotmart Tips
How is Instagram Video different from IGTV?
With IGTV being merged with Instagram Video, it begs the question: how does Instagram Video differ? Well, for one, Instagram Video feels a lot better integrated into the typical Instagram experience.
Where IGTV was very much its own ecosystem, Instagram Video delivers content onto the feeds of people who follow you, so in theory, if they are interested in your photos, art, etc., they may well be interested in checking out your videos as well.
Instagram Video has multiple features, including tools to more easily trim your videos, the ability to use filters, tagging people and locations, and more. You can also preview videos on your feed for up to 60 seconds. The Instagram Video tab actually serves as an umbrella for all video content, with the exception of Instagram Reels.
One solid aspect about Instagram Video is the fact that you can see the insights behind your videos, including how many people watch your content and for how long.
In all, Instagram Video is meant to be a convenient way for all video content on Instagram to be found by its users.
Your Instagram profile has a Reels tab, located underneath on the bottom of the screen. This is a nice direction for Instagram, as it makes it a lot easier to find videos. You can also find videos while browsing content on the app.
Rather than these videos being discoverable across numerous Instagram sections like they used to be, they’re all located in one convenient spot. This helps you not only find video content more easily, but also create it.
IGTV ads were adjusted to have a cap of 60 seconds, and these ads became “In-Steam video ads.” There are multiple ways to block or reduce ads, including targeted ads, on social media.
When you use Instagram on desktop, it is relatively easy to block all ads, targeted or otherwise, by using an adblock extension in whichever browser you are using. These extensions are freely available for multiple browsers, including Firefox and Chromium browsers.
How to block ads on mobile
For users of Instagram on mobile, however, that might be a little tricky, particularly if you are using the Instagram app. There are some modified Instagram apps that are designed to block ads, though they are not official apps and are not found in official app stores.
Downloading these apps could potentially be dangerous, so if you go with this route, you should expect that you may fall victim to malware. You may also want to use an Adblock Browser to view Instagram content, which may allow you to avoid dealing with ads on the platform.
How to block particular ads you don’t like
If you don’t have a problem with ads, but don’t like the particular ads you are being shown, there is a way to stop seeing those ads. To do this, you can choose to either select Hide Ad or Report Ad after clicking the three-dot icon located on the ad.
When selecting Hide Ad, you will be given multiple options for why you want to hide it. The first two options are “it’s irrelevant” and “I see it too often,” two common issues people have with ads. You can also select “I already bought an item in the ad,” which is a reasonable issue. After all, there’s literally nothing for them to sell you.
If you find the ad inappropriate, you can either report the ad or select “it’s inappropriate” when you are hiding the ad.
Instagram has had plenty of hardships when it comes to making a competitive video service on many levels, so it’s perfectly understandable to be skeptical about whether Instagram Video will finally make their video content competitive with TikTok and YouTube. For what it’s worth, however, Instagram Video does seem like a big step up from what they were previously doing with IGTV.
A common tactic that video content platform owners use is to invest their vast wealth in attracting talent. YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, and Instagram are all video platform owners who have given creators financial incentives to switch to their platform, either partially or exclusively.
Meta announced a $1 billion initiative to incentivize creators to create video content for Instagram. The Verge reports that creators have received upward of $35,000 in incentives from the company.
Maybe it will prove to make them the third pillar of video on mobile devices, or maybe it will be just another failed attempt at remaining relevant. Instagram is no slouch when it comes to engagement and its userbase, but in terms of video, it is likely to be an uphill climb for them.
Instagram has been doing a lot of internal restructuring and modification of their Instagram app, and we will see how that goes for them.
Social media is a constantly evolving thing, and no one social media platform can be approached in the same way if you want to be most successful. There is a lot of conventional wisdom that goes into how to become successful, and how you can be most successful on a platform is different today than it was five years ago.
We have useful tips to help you increase your social media presence, and will hopefully become the next big Instagram star.