When Instagram originally launched in 2010, few could have predicted the app’s profound evolution in the past decade. After just one month Instagram had acquired one million users and by 2011 this had risen to over 10 million. Cut to June 2018 and Instagram reached 1 billion members, releasing various new features and a new platform we now know as Instagram TV. It was a new development Instagram hoped would be strong enough to compete with YouTube and change the landscape of online video streaming. Despite this, it still hasn’t reached its full potential.
Why the IGTV App has yet to reach it’s potential
Undoubtedly, IGTV has still got a long way to go in order to reach these high expectations. Any new platform developed by Facebook will be under pressure to succeed, especially one attempting to compete with YouTube. The progression and growth of the IGTV App has been fascinating to watch over the last four months, yet it would be fair to say it is far from fulfilling its potential.
A Standalone Feature
But why exactly is this? For starters, IGTV currently lacks some of the features that make Instagram stories so valuable within Influencer Marketing. Instagram is a thriving community for influencers, and it has been enhanced by the Instagram shopping feature and swipe-up feature. The swipe-up feature works well on Instagram stories because if consumers see something they like, they can access it instantly.
Furthermore, the standalone platform for IGTV has not really taken off. Since its launch in June, just 84 people have reviewed the app on the IOS app store acquiring a fairly disappointing rating score of 3.6/5. This sort of user feedback reflects the anti-climactic launch of one of the most ambitious software releases of 2018 and ponders the question exactly where did the developers go wrong?
Low download figures suggest that IGTV should not act as a standalone destination and should remain within the Instagram app. This makes sense considering Instagram stories were hugely successful and accessible at the top of a user’s feed. Society is becoming increasingly focused on simplicity with features like Contactless Payments and Apple Pay growing in popularity. In a society where we expect everything in one place, IGTV was always less likely to succeed as an independent app.
Also, the decision to format all videos as vertical may have hindered the app’s success. Whilst it provides IGTV with a sense of uniqueness and identification, the feature is limiting and uncompromising. Further frustrated may be users on larger devices, such as iPads, that are unable to watch in landscape mode. In fact, Tech-vlogger MKBHD told The Verge that vertical filming can be difficult for content creators. He stated, “we’re all super used to framing things with lots of horizontal room.” In regards to vertical filming, the vlogger then added: “whether it’s better or not is debatable.”
The IGTV app has an enormous task of overtaking YouTube as the internet’s leading streaming service. YouTube boasts that one billion hours are watched daily on the platform. YouTube has also launched local versions in over 91 countries to establish a dominant position in global streaming. This monopolisation does not happen overnight and it could take years for IGTV establish this level of international reach.
The Future is still bright for IGTV
However, it is not all doom and gloom for IGTV. Instagram currently has over 1,000,000,000 daily users that can access the feature at the top of their news-feeds. As IGTV continues to grow and develop, it could not ask for a larger platform for self-exposure and recognition. Instagram is also working hard to improve its television counterpart.
There is already an abundance of entertaining content to be found within IGTV and this won’t change any time soon. One company making good use of the feature is Netflix, who posted a 1-hour video of actor Cole Sprouse eating a burger to promote the upcoming season of Riverdale. The video went fairly viral, accumulating 967,003 views and 6,611 comments within IGTV, proving that the ability to post longer videos is of interest to leading brands.
Netflix isn’t alone. Both Marvel and Disney release trailers onto the IGTV app, as well as onto YouTube. The fact that this is happening would suggest that the platform is starting to be taken more seriously as an alternative platform and rival to YouTube, which is a massive step in the right direction.
The emergence of the IGTV App may have been underwhelming, but its future remains bright. The app has yet to establish itself as a separate platform. However, brands are finding the platform ideal for various forms of video content. Despite this, we should remember the enormity of IGTV’s task and admire the ambition to complete with a platform of the size of YouTube.
You can read more about how the IGTV App effects influencer marketing here.