Instagram is updating its IGTV app today, likely in the hopes of getting more people to use the service and promote creators making longform videos. The company tells The Verge today that it’s completely redesigned the homepage to feature a creator up top, tailored to each user based on who they follow and whose content the app thinks might be interesting to them. The app is also getting a Discover tab to surface new and relevant IGTV content as well as a hands-free recording mode.
The Discover tab might be the biggest update, given that the app currently only displays videos from people who users already follow as well as “popular” videos. The app is bare and requires people to tap into content to start watching. A discover tab could get them to content faster and encourage them to actually use the app.
The company’s also issuing a small but likely impactful update to the Instagram app; users can post their IGTV content in their Stories, and instead of a freeze-frame, 15 seconds of content will play. This could get people to click through and watch the full video, thereby giving creators more views.
All of these updates might make the app more appealing, at least as far as for creating videos and finding new content, but it’s unclear how many people are actually accessing the standalone app versus finding IGTV videos through Instagram itself. The company declined to offer user numbers. (If it’s any indication, the Instagram app on Android and iOS has over 10 million reviews in both the App Store and Google Play. The IGTV app has slightly over 1,000 reviews on the App Store and around 25,000 in Google Play.) Still, it’s unsurprising to see Instagram shift its focus even more to creators; the company’s been courting talent from its Los Angeles office, specifically encouraging them to use IGTV.
These updates seem to suggest that Instagram thinks people are having trouble finding videos, and that might be what’s contributing to lower view counts on the platform. The company already lets people crosspost their IGTV videos on their grid, and thereby populate it in people’s Feeds, for similar reasons.
Instagram says it thinks IGTV is the “future of video,” so ensuring people can actually find content to watch, as well as creators they like that’ll keep them coming back, is essential to making it succeed.