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IGTV app



In 2018, Instagram launched IGTV, a long-form video platform existing as both a standalone app and a destination within the main Instagram app. While initial success was promising, challenges emerged. Creator engagement with IGTV videos fell short, and users struggled to see IGTV as a natural extension of the core Instagram experience.

The process

Recognizing these challenges, I spearheaded a strategic shift in early 2019. The existing model presented measurable trade-offs, and IGTV's core purpose felt distinct from the main Instagram platform. I secured leadership buy-in to pivot, focusing on building a sustainable, independent video destination.

My vision was to create a distinctive and engaging long-form video experience that could compete outside the core Instagram app. The guiding question: "If Instagram is for staying connected with friends and family, what unique value would make someone choose IGTV?"

Through ongoing creator conversations and user research, I identified two key differentiators that would define the standalone app:

  • Creator-Forward Focus. Minimizing barriers to content creation and providing dedicated support for creators.
  • Encouraging Participation. Implementing structured content discovery and fostering user engagement through the consumption experience.
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The completely re-imagined IGTV app launched in April 2020 under my leadership. Launch metrics were positive, with significant increases in both content consumption (4.5x) and creation (3.2x). Following the successful launch, I prioritized improving user retention, recognizing the strong link between new user retention and long-term engagement.

While the IGTV app itself shut down in early 2022, the project's legacy remains. The destination strategy I developed became a valuable playbook for other teams, and the core video experience, including feedback interactions, playback features, and video creation tools, are still integral parts of the current Instagram platform.

This project highlighted the importance of overcoming competing strategies and achieving leadership alignment. Positive early metrics and initial momentum can't guarantee success without sustained support. The project also reinforced the value of exploring diverse tactics, remaining user-focused in a competitive landscape, and acknowledging that no strategy is fixed – adaptability is crucial.

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