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Will Instagram’s IGTV Cause a Mass Exodus From YouTube?

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The option to post hour-long videos could be a gold mine for beauty bloggers and brands alike.

A woman takes a selfie while holding a cosmetic palette up to her face.
The question is will beauty vloggers go for IGTV?
Photo: Laflor/Getty Images

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Where social media platforms go, brands, influencers, and publications will quickly follow, shifting their digital strategies with the launch of every new feature in an effort to capture readers’ and shoppers’ eyeballs. And they’ve no doubt already started discussing how to capitalize on Instagram’s newest product: IGTV, which lets users publish up to an hour of video, a huge step up from Instagram’s previous one-minute limit.

Rolling out in the coming days, IGTV will be both a standalone app and a feature within Instagram, which greases the skids for adoption. Though Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom didn’t say it explicitly in the company’s live-streamed announcement, IGTV is a clear competitor to Snapchat and, more pressingly, YouTube.

Instagram is the ultra-visual fashion world’s app of choice, and for fashion publications that have leaned hard into video — some, like Vogue, with great success — moving over to IGTV is a no-brainer. For brands and influencers, IGTV opens up a whole new channel for buying and getting paid to create sponsored content.

Two side by side screen caps of IGTV, showing a young man on a skateboard and the “discover” page.
Instagram’s demo of IGTV.
Photo: Instagram

IGTV could cause a much more dramatic shake-up in the beauty vlogger community, which has long used YouTube as home base for its beauty tutorials and reviews. YouTube may have to work overtime to keep them: When major advertisers pulled away from the video platform after finding their brands associated with hate speech two years ago, YouTubers saw their incomes shrink. According to Racked beauty reporter Cheryl Wischhover, this remains a common complaint among beauty vloggers.

Of course, whether IGTV cuts into YouTube’s hold on the beauty community will depend on how it compensates creators. Systrom says IGTV won’t show ads at launch but may very well do so down the line. How much brands pay for sponsored content on IGTV could also factor into influencers’ decisions around platforms.

During the announcement, Systrom touted the ease of IGTV, noting that it runs video vertically (no need to risk dropping your phone while turning it sideways), fills the entire screen, and starts playing as soon as you open the app, meaning you don’t even need to figure out what you want to watch first. Anyone who’s experienced Instagram’s addictiveness will understand how slippery a slope that is.

For businesses, IGTV is no doubt an exciting opportunity. For everyday users, it may just be another hole to fall into.