Instagram Live launched in 2016, but it took a pandemic for the feature to really take off. The company says Live usage is up over 70 percent in the US, so it’s rolling out a couple of new features to make watching and saving the content easier. It’s officially allowing everyone around the world to watch and comment on Live videos from their desktop after first launching it as a test, and it’s also now testing a button that allows people to upload their finished live streams directly to IGTV. With that button, they can also choose to share a preview of their video to their feed and profile. Comments and question stickers will not carry over to IGTV.
Live videos typically expire after 24 hours, and people have struggled to make them available after filming ends. Although there’s always been a way to save your content, most people haven’t uploaded it to IGTV or elsewhere. A button could make uploading to IGTV a more appealing option, which would not only benefit viewers who missed a Live but also help Instagram build IGTV into a more formidable longform content competitor to YouTube. In order to do that, it needs more content, and Lives are one way to populate the section.
The company’s continued to focus on IGTV. It just updated its standalone IGTV app to better promote creators, and it also gave people the ability to tease their IGTV content in their stories. That update suggests that Instagram is taking this pandemic time, when people are stuck inside and watching content, to bulk up and better promote IGTV.
The company also began allowing people to access their DMs from the desktop, another sign that it’s using this time to even further make the desktop experience more comparable to the app. All of Instagram’s product news from the last month is starting to fit together: more IGTV content, more access from the desktop, and basically, ensuring that all of the different facets of the app work together so people can promote and consume content everywhere they go.