Social Media

Why Instagram decided to kill the IGTV icon on its home page

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2020

Very few users were clicking on the IGTV icon; most were accessing content through previews elsewhere

Launched in the summer of 2018, Instagram’s IGTV app, a video application, failed to lure a larger audience. Around seven million of Instagram’s one-billion-plus users have downloaded the app since its inception. During that time, Chinese application TikTok had around 80.5 million downloads, according to a report by Tech Crunch.

Instagram has now decided to get rid of the orange button on the top-right corner of its home screen.

Why didn’t IGTV click?

Instagram users do not have to maintain a separate IGTV account to get access to longer videos. The IGTV experience is embedded with the posts on the main app and in-feed teasers — a tab of the Explore page, promo stickers in Stories, and profile tabs.

The app did not do well with Instagram influencers as a feature to earn ad revenue directly from IGTV videos was missing, unlike in YouTube and Facebook Watch. The influencers were unable to sell exclusive content subscriptions as on Facebook, Patreon or Twitch. Hence, the quality of the content that was put out on IGTV was sub-par. It is therefore not surprising perhaps that users were not voluntarily going to the IGTV app from the home page.

“...we’ve learned that most people are finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators’ profiles and the standalone app. Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app,” a Facebook company spokesperson told TechCrunch.

“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,” he added.

Known for its fancy and frequent experimentation, Instagram emerged as a highly used virtual media app, especially popular among urban youth. In recent history, Instagram has incorporated numerous features, including stories, augmented reality filters, Close Friends, and IGTV videos.

As the IGTV application’s fate gets sealed, the only financial support Facebook and Instagram have offered to IGTV content creators is reimbursement for production costs for a few celebrities.

Published on January 20, 2020

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