The ever-evolving experiment that is one of the world’s most important social media platforms (Instagram) is removing another feature from its homepage, but you probably won’t be sad to see it go – if you even notice.
The IGTV button that formerly sat beside your DMs has disappeared, being replaced with nothing. IGTV was Instagram’s attempt to create a place for long-form, vertical video, designed to complement the way people watch video on their phones.
The vertical dream was quickly compromised and Instagram soon allowed users to post landscape content as well. IGTV was launched back in 2018, announced in tandem with the news the social network, owned by Facebook since 2012, had exceeded one billion users.
At that announcement, Instagram called IGTV its “most exciting feature to date”, but that excitement clearly wasn’t shared by us users.
Only 1 per cent of the more than a billion people who use Instagram actually downloaded the IGTV app, paling in comparison to the surging popularity of TikTok, which attracted 80 times that amount according to research commissioned by TechCrunch.
The low downloads for IGTV could be partially due to its unnecessary nature. You can already access the feature within the native Instagram app.
View counts on these videos compared to the impressive social clout of their creators indicate proportionally few people watch the IGTV videos there either.
“Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch, adding the company was removing the button from the top of the page to “keep Instagram as simple as possible”.
Instagram began with photos before adding videos at a later date, but the videos that appear in your feed are restricted to one minute, and 15 seconds on stories. IGTV supports videos up to an hour in length.
But producing up to an hour of video content, especially anything that goes beyond say, the recording of a podcast, can be an expensive process.
The problem is, while it depends on the creators to make content for the fledgling IGTV, Instagram hasn’t given them any real way to make money doing so.
While top YouTubers make tens of millions of dollars yearly though advertisements, Instagram creators are left to their own devices when it comes to monetising their content, which appears in between ads in the Instagram feed and stories.
Presumably, the profit from these advertisements flow directly to Facebook.
Vertical video emerged as a key trend at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where several brands big and small showed off rotating televisions that can mirror your smartphone designed to appeal to millennials.
While it’s expected vertical video is going to catch on, it’s not necessarily going to do it on Instagram.
The ditching of the IGTV button is the latest disappearing act pulled on the social media platform in recent months.
Last year, Instagram hid the ability to see how many likes people were getting on posts over concerns it was damaging the mental health of its users, particularly younger ones comparing themselves to others.
The “following” tab, which allowed you to see what other users had been up to online, including whether a partner was still liking their ex’s pics or leaving eggplant emojis under influencer’s posts, also disappeared.
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