Remember IGTV, the video service Instagram launched last year to take on YouTube? (You might know it as that icon with a red dot you accidentally tap when trying to get to your direct messages.)
Well, Instagram is trying to make it more difficult for you to ignore IGTV. The app is now placing IGTV "preview" videos right in your main feed.
The videos will appear when someone you follow posts a new video to IGTV. Instagram will automatically add a clip from that video to your feed, along with a link to watch the full video in IGTV.
The move is Instagram's most aggressive push yet to get people to watch IGTV videos. The app has included a prominent link to IGTV since its launch, putting the IGTV icon with a big red dot next to the app's inbox. But placing videos directly in feeds is a much less subtle push — and the latest sign that IGTV hasn't taken off the way the way the company had hoped.
Despite initial hype, many creators have been ignoring the service. As New York Magazine noted back in October, influencers have little incentive to make videos for the platform when they get significantly less attention than YouTube videos. And the standalone IGTV app is currently ranked so low in Apple's App Store, it doesn't even appear in Apple's rankings of the top iOS apps. (It was ranked #1,442 in July, the last time it appeared in Apple's top charts, according to App Annie, Instagram is currently the #1 app in the App Store.)
For Instagram, the update could give IGTV a much-needed boost. But with IGTV being that unpopular, some users are likely to be annoyed at seeing the extra videos in their feeds.
Of course, if you don't follow anyone who regularly posts to IGTV, you don't have much to worry about, at least for now. But if Instagram can't succeed in getting more eyeballs on IGTV, it's not difficult to imagine that it could one day start putting IGTV clips from people you don't follow into your feed.