IGTV’s Most-Requested Feature—Monetization—Is Coming Soon

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IGTV, Instagram’s long-form vertical video spin-off, has had a slow first year, and the one feature creators are clamoring for the most is monetization. Creators can’t build a career on a platform if they can’t make money, and platforms need to reward top talent to keep them happy. At a VidCon fireside chat, Jim Squires, vice president of business and media for Instagram, said monetization would come “soon,” although he didn’t say when or what that would look like.

Without built-in monetization tools, the only way creators can make money from their IGTV content is with brand sponsorships they arrange themselves. Some creators reverse-engineer their best sponsored content, Squires said, creating video that can work with a sponsor, then dropping in the sponsor at the end when they’ve secured a deal. Creating work that way helps the result feel more authentic, he said.

Squires was joined on stage by Vincent Marcus, an IGTV creator. Marcus said he liked the seamless way long-form content is integrated into the Instagram feed, becoming part of the scrolling experience.

Nearly a year old, IGTV was born from the realization that fans who wanted to get closer to favorite Instagram creators had to click links and visit other sites to see more from their work. With IGTV, they don’t need to leave the platform to see longer content. The rollout has been slow, partly due to creators who aren’t used to shooting and editing their work in a vertical format.

With IGTV, Instagram offers a four-prong approach to content, which Marcus likened to the four tires on a car. Stories are like diary entries, the feed is a highlights reel, live video is for meetups and fan interaction, and IGTV is the main program. Succeeding on the platform means creating for all four areas regularly.

For IGTV, these are still early days, Squires said, and the platform is just getting started: It’s where Instagram was in 2010 and 2011. He’s starting to see momentum with creators, though. A change to Instagram in February that added IGTV previews to the feed doubled views and engagement. He believes now is the time for savvy creators to get on board, building a broad community base while the platform is still young. Adding monetization tools, a top priority for his team, will help those creators find a home.

Photo: Jim Squires and Vincent Marcus at VidCon 2019

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