Instagram really wants IGTV to work. Instagram wants IGTV to be a success similar to the way Stories has been but the video format for the platform has been a hard nut to crack. Its rival apps such as TikTok are winning at this and Instagram is finding it hard to get more engagement with no success and as they say at Menlo Park Campus if you can’t beat them, copy them. That’s exactly what they have been doing.
It’s hard to find quality content on IGTV since it launched a year ago and as we feared, the platform is full of really cringy viral videos imported from the web and then cropped. IGTV has failed to offer users quality original vertical video content made specifically. The standalone IGTV app has 4.2 million installs with 7700 daily installs – this is a fraction of Instagram’s total audience of a more than a billion users.
So armed with these new stats, Instagram has decided to quietly redesign IGTV found within the app to look like its rival apps. Just like TikTok, Instagram now has a vertical scroll interface instead of the horizontal scrolling carousel.
Other designs thrown out include the “For You”, “Following”, “Popular”, and “Continue Watching” categories tab and switched to the one main feed TikTok has. After clicking through a video, there’s a 2 column grid of recommended videos that comes up which you can scroll through too. The videos will be curated using Instagram’s AI.
Implementing TikTok’s style for IGTV misses the point as TikTok uses one central feed for short clips, unlike IGTV whose purpose was to host long-form video. The videos themselves don’t come with cover images or thumbnails and this is where Snapchat wins since their cover images are made with intention. Other features Instagram is copying include the ability to add lyric stickers to Stories just like TikTok. so they appear word by word.
Instagram is really investing in IGTV by putting IGTV shortcut next to shopping as the first priority in their redesigned Explore page followed by channels or topics ranging from Style, Nature, Architecture among others depending on your preferences and relevant interests.
Instagram should focus on giving creators tools for making the right content for the IGTV platform and teaching them how to find what works with the new vertical format plus the right incentives but until then, it will always play second fiddle no matter the redesign.