Why Instagram's IGTV Stands A Chance At Being Successful

Yes, we’ve had Facebook Watch and Snapchat Discover, and neither have been overwhelmingly successful, so what makes IGTV different?

It's been a day since Instagram rolled out IGTV, their new long-form video platform, and, while I was initially skeptical about the vertical video focus, I actually believe IGTV stands a decent chance of being incredibly successful. But why is that when Snapchat Discover and Facebook Watch haven't been able to compete in the video realm as successfully as YouTube has since its inception in 2005?

IGTV IS ITS OWN, DEDICATED PLATFORM WHILE ALSO LIVING WITHIN INSTAGRAM

Unlike Snapchat Discover and Facebook Watch, IGTV can both stand alone as its own platform while also being accessible throughout Instagram’s native platform. This means that if you want an uninterrupted experience while browsing through IGTV, you can have it. It also means that if you don’t want to download another app, you don’t have to.

INSTAGRAM SPENT THE TIME WORKING WITH CREATORS BEFORE LAUNCHING IGTV

Working with creators before launching a new platform will be critical to IGTV’s success. By giving creators a chance to work with the platform prior to launching it, that means that they’ve had the opportunity to curate content that matches the vertical video trends, so there’s no surprises and creators aren’t scrambling to make their content match this new style.

REMEMBER HOW INSTAGRAM STORIES OUSTED SNAPCHAT IN SNAP'S TERRITORY?

Instagram has already proven that they can beat out their competitors by adopting their techniques and strategies. I remember when Instagram Stories first launched (in August 2016- can you believe it’s already been that long?!), I was a huge skeptic. Snapchat was just starting to really gain traction with businesses and brands (the NCBA Snapchat launched in October 2016- a huge win for me in pushing agriculture’s social media boundaries).

At first, none of my friends used Instagram Stories. But, slowly but surely, Instagram Stories began to take precedence over Snapchat. Granted, I have found that people are more likely to watch your Snapchat story from start to finish versus the number that completely watch an Instagram story, but more people will begin watching Instagram Stories versus Snapchat stories.

That, and since Snapchat went public in March 2017, they’ve had a tumultuous ride, with stock prices falling rather than rising throughout the past year.

Snapchat IPO.PNG

Comparatively, Facebook (which owns Instagram), has significantly more capital, and, despite a dip in stock prices at the end of March 2018, they continue to grow and expand, with Instagram serving as their shiny platform for the next generation.

Facebook IPO.PNG

UNLIKE SNAPCHAT (EVER SINCE THEIR REDESIGN IN JANUARY 2018), ITS EASY TO DISCOVER NEW CONTENT ON IGTV

When Snapchat revealed their redesign in January 2018, they separated the Discover section from your friend’s stories. However, that also included separating you from friends whose content was public. While the entire redesign has been an overall flop (hence Snapchat’s continuously low stock prices), it puts an extra barrier from you and the content on Discover.

Without the convenience of being able to access the Discover section, publishers who have access to uploading content on Snapchat have seen their views decrease since the redesign. IGTV, however, doesn’t make it difficult to view content on their platform. You can either elect to ignore it entirely, stay within the app to view the content, or download the separate app for an uninterrupted viewing experience.

ANYONE CAN BECOME A CREATOR ON IGTV

Unlike Snapchat Discover or Facebook Watch, anyone has the opportunity to become a creator. The only other video platform that really allows you to do that is YouTube. However, YouTube isn’t friendly to vertical video. Of course, vertical video hadn’t become popular until the last few years with the rise of Snapchat. So, the only question is: will YouTube transform to offer a vertical viewing option for mobile users in order to compete with Instagram?

Until YouTube chooses to compete in this new space, it’s the perfect opportunity for ANYONE to try their hand at becoming an IGTV star.

ONE DOWNSIDE TO IGTV SO FAR

While IGTV is still very new, and perhaps I haven’t properly explored it (or not all of the features are available since I haven’t had friends that have created channels and uploaded content yet), is that it doesn’t look like there’s a way to organize videos that you upload into playlists. Granted, most people who appear to have started using the platform have only uploaded one video, so it’s difficult to tell if that is an option. If not, I hope it rolls out soon!

Otherwise, IGTV leaves us with so many possibilities, and it’s exciting to have a new platform to play with.