FEB. 10, 2020
Instagram is testing ads in IGTV. In this program, content creators can run ads in their videos for extra cash.
The test was uncovered by Jane Manchun Wong, software engineer and social media informant. Wong shared her discovery on Twitter, which includes a screenshot of the Instagram Partner Program Monetization Tool, the dashboard where content creators can enable ads for their videos.
Instagram is working on IGTV Ads to let influencers monetize their content by running short ads on their IGTV Videos pic.twitter.com/wOhbnpsfjL— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 7, 2020
The screenshot captures a message describing the tool:
“You can earn money by running short ads on your IGTV videos. When you monetize on IGTV, you agree to follow the Partner Program Monetization policies.”
Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri confirmed the test in a Tweet to TechCrunch’s Editor at Large, who published a story about the IGTV test:
“It’s no secret that we’ve been exploring this,” says Mosseri in his Tweet. “We focused first on making sure the product had legs—else there would be little to monetize in the first place. IGTV is still in its early days, but it’s growing and so we’re exploring more ways to make it sustainable for creators.”
It’s no secret that we’ve been exploring this. We focused first on making sure the product had legs — else there would be little to monetize in the first place. IGTV is still in its early days, but it’s growing and so we’re exploring more ways to make it sustainable for creators.— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) February 7, 2020
Although not as popular as Instagram’s other features—Stories, Discover, Direct—Mosseri’s response shows that the company sees potential growth in IGTV. After all, if IGTV doesn’t seem capable of bringing revenue to the company and value to users, there’s no point monetizing it.
Even with Mosseri confirming the IGTV test, Instagram is coy with the details.
Alexandru Voica, EMEA Communications Manager at Facebook, says the company is still exploring ways to help content creators monetize their IGTV content but refuses to share more information:
“We continue to explore ways to help creators monetize with IGTV. We don’t have more details to share now, but we will as they develop further.”
We continue to explore ways to help creators monetize with IGTV. We don’t have more details to share now, but we will as they develop further. https://t.co/gadf9TJaBE— Alexandru Voica (will be at #MWC20) (@alexvoica) February 7, 2020
IGTV is Instagram’s long-form video hub, rolled out in 2018. When this new feature was launched, then Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admitted that IGTV was a “very reasonable place” for ads to appear, although at that time the company did not express interest in monetization.
Ads in IGTV seem like a natural progression, given Instagram’s history with monetizing its products. Since being acquired by Facebook, Instagram has inserted ads in almost all of its features, including the feed, Stories, and recently Explore.
If all goes well, Instagram adds another revenue stream, an important move at a time when social media apps are becoming oversaturated with advertisements. It is also a major win for content creators, who are given another opportunity at making money off of the videos they produce. The only group left to get on board are the regular users, who may or may not take kindly to more ads interrupting their experience.
Written by Anne Felicitas, editor