New York (CNN Business)Instagram has quietly removed a button that was perched on the top of people’s feeds and directed people to IGTV, its fledgling long-form video hub.

The IGTV button used to be next to the direct-message arrow on the top right corner of the app. People weren’t clicking on the button — they were discovering videos other ways, Instagram admitted in a statement.

“As we’ve continued to work on making it easier for people to create and discover IGTV content, we’ve learned that most people are finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators’ profiles and the standalone app,” a spokesperson said. “Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app.”

The Facebook-owned company debuted IGTV in 2018 in an effort to compete with YouTube: It lets people post vertical videos. The length of the videos depends on the number of followers a person has, but the maximum time is an hour. Before IGTV, Instagram had only allowed people post videos that were 60 seconds or shorter.

The adoption of IGTV has been rocky. Analysts previously told CNN Business that IGTV hasn’t been as successful as the Stories tool. High-profile celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West, who were supposed to produce content for IGTV, aren’t really doing much with the feature.

Some social media influencers said a big reason IGTV hasn’t been popular is because there’s no way for them to make money from the feature. On YouTube, similar-length videos can include ads that generate revenue for creators.

TikTok, a video sharing app, has also exploded in popularity, while IGTV hasn’t resonated nearly as much. It racked up roughly 700 million downloads in 2019, according to Apptopia. The number of IGTV downloads are much smaller: only 6 million, the firm said.

IGTV content will continue to be viewable on a standalone app, in people’s feeds and through an IGTV button on the Explore page.

— CNN Business’ Kaya Yurieff contributed to this report.


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