The article first appeared on the Business of Fashion.
When Instagram launched Stories, its Snapchat-like feature allowing users to post ephemeral content that would vanish after 24 hours, the social media platform had an immediate hit on its hands. Four months into its next big feature, IGTV, the results are less clear.
Instagram announced it's long-form video platform at the end of June. Many saw it as an attempt to take aim at YouTube, luring audiences away from the video-sharing website in a similar way that IG Stories has done with Snapchat.
IGTV is integrated into the main Instagram app and also has stand-alone app. Any user can set up an IGTV “channel” and post video content that runs for as long as an hour, compared with a one-minute Feed video or 15-second Stories post.
Betting on long-form video was considered a smart play: users spend 60 percent of their time in the Instagram app watching video content, according to the platform. Moreover, Instagram claims, the fashion and beauty community is the biggest producer of video content, with 92 percent of fashion and beauty accounts posting a video to either Feed, Stories or IGTV since June.
Yet it seems IGTV is yet to take off within Instagram’s fashion community.
Instagram declined to share active-user data for IGTV, but, four months in, video views for many brands are modest compared with number of followers, and tend to be lower than the average views on videos in their main feeds. Gucci, which has 28.6 million followers, will usually garner between 300,000 to 500,000 views on a video posted to its Feed. Views for the 18 IGTV videos its uploaded range between the 500 and 300,000 mark: 12 of those have under 100,000 views, with four collecting under 700.
Similarly, Michael Kors, which has 12.7 million followers, will often rack up well over 100,000 views on its Feed videos. Only one out of its 13 IGTV videos has surpassed that number. The other nine range between 10,000 and 50,000 views. Its most recent IGTV post on its #MKGO Bold campaign, released on October 23, has gained 19,000 views on the platform so far. The same video posted to its YouTube account has amassed 1.6 million views in the same timeframe. (This, however, is by far the brand’s top performing YouTube post in recent months, with the majority of other posts collecting just a few thousand views.) Hugo Boss, too, says that average reach and engagement on its IGTV channel is lower than that of IG Stories.
“It’s a brand new product, and people are still learning how to use it,” said Eva Chen, Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships. “Anytime we launch something new, people always take time to figure out what’s right for them.”
Instagram Stories viewership exploded soon after it launched in August 2016. Within two months, the feature had already amassed 100 million daily active users — two thirds of Snapchat’s 150 million users at the time. Today, IG Stories’ user base has reached 400 million, twice that of Snapchat’s 191 million.
Following the success of IG Stories, Instagram had hopes that IGTV would make a similar splash. At the time of release, Kevin Systrom, Instagram co-founder and then CEO, dubbed IGTV “our most exciting feature to date.”
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