The Discover option may be the biggest update

Instagram is updating their IGTV app, likely in hopes of getting more people to use the service and promote creators who make long videos.

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The company indicated yesterday that the homepage has been completely redesigned to display a top-up creator, tailored to each user based on who they follow, and whose app content they think might be interesting to them. The app is also getting a Discover option to discover new and important IGTV content as well as a hands-free mode to record video.

The Discover option may be the biggest update, given that the app currently only displays videos from people already following users, as well as “popular” videos. IGTV is not widely used and requires people to log in to start watching. An ‘Discover’ option can make them see content faster and encourage them to actually use the app.

The company also releases a small but likely influential update to the Instagram app; users can post their IGTV content on their Stories, with the ability to play 15 seconds of content. This can make people click and watch the full video, giving the creators more attention.

All of these updates can make the app more attractive, at least in terms of creating videos and finding new content, but it’s not clear how many people actually enter the standalone app versus finding IGTV videos through themselves. 

The company declined to provide user numbers. (If it’s an indication, the Instagram app on Android and iOS has over 10 million reviews on both the App Store and Google Play. The IGTV app has just over 1,000 reviews on the App Store and about 25,000 on Google Play.) Still, no it’s surprising to see Instagram shift its focus even further to creators; as the company was recruiting talent from its Los Angeles office, encouraging them to use IGTV.

These updates seem to suggest that Instagram thinks people have trouble finding video, and that may be what is contributing to the low-numerical calculation on the platform. The company already allows people to post their IGTV videos on their feed, and thus popularize it on People’s Feeds, for similar reasons.

Instagram says it thinks IGTV is the “future of video”, so providing people who can actually find content to watch, as well as creators who like to keep them coming back, is essential to make it successful.

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