When Instagram announced IGTV, its standalone app for long-form vertical video, the comparisons to YouTube were inevitable. YouTube is the go-to platform for video content, from young web users to creators; services like Vimeo or even Twitch can't match its sheer size or popularity. But Instagram — a company with a proven habit of eating its competition — is already proving itself to be a savvy competitor by going after internet celebrities. According to creator Marques Brownlee, while there's no better place for a video creator in 2018 than YouTube, IGTV has the most potential to become a second home.

Also known as tech vlogger MKBHD (and a former contributor to The Verge), Brownlee says that because people are increasingly turning to influencers for their news, entertainment, and consumer advice — especially among the younger crowds — Instagram's push to highlight creators directly will be key to competing in the video space. It's no accident that IGTV's promotional images highlight fan favorites like former Vine star and actor King Bach, influencer Roy Purdy, or painfully adorable powerhouse Jiffpom. Brownlee says that though he's not officially partnered with the platform, Instagram did give him a sneak peek at what it had in store.

"Creators are what bring the eyeballs to platforms, and vice versa," Brownlee says. "Sort of a chicken-and-egg thing, because you can't have creators and no platform. You can't have a platform and no creators. You kind of have to work with each other, but it's definitely a massively important reason why a platform can become successful."

Instagram isn't going in blind on its new platform, either. The app reaches more than 800 million monthly users and 500 million daily users; a follow on Instagram is an automatic follow on IGTV. However, the company has yet to disclose how it plans to help creators monetize their content. YouTube has its own issues with how it monetizes videos, but its built-in system does allow creators to do more than just post sponsored content. For creators like Brownlee, Instagram isn't currently a major source of income, but rather a place he goes to build his audience and share additional behind-the-scenes content.

"YouTube, for me, is the primary platform," he says. "So that's the most polished content, the final, finished version of everything … I feel like a lot of the behind-the-scenes [content from] the video production that I do [for] YouTube can end up on other platforms, like Twitter or Instagram."

And there's also the question of how IGTV's content will ultimately be organized, as well as how its discovery platforms will work. "Search is probably the hardest thing to get right and one of the biggest advantages YouTube has," he says. "[IGTV] Discovery is fine and you have the For You section, which is not really as customizable, but if it's good and you can trust it— I just think there's a better way to find exactly what you want, other than just usernames." For now, IGTV is also strictly mobile, meaning you can't do anything with it on desktop.

YouTube, as it stands, is simply too big to fail

Brownlee is doubtful that IGTV as it exists today is ready to be a direct competitor to YouTube. Instead, platforms like Twitch or IGTV offer alternatives to specific aspects of the platform, whether it's streaming or long-form video. If YouTube is the all-purpose platform where creators showcase their most polished work, IGTV might be the better suited to more personal, on-the-fly content. "There are a lot of things [IGTV] doesn't do still that YouTube does," he says. "It's competing with a part of what YouTube does by focusing in a different way." Its emphasis on vertical video also poses a challenge for online creators. "Every camera shoots horizontal, right?" says Brownlee. "So we're all super used to framing things with lots of horizontal room.

"We've seen this new wave of Snapchat stories and Instagram stories where people are actually framing for and recording in vertical. Whether it's better or not is debatable. I still think there's a lot of room to grow in creative decisions to be made to actually take advantage of vertical video."

Brownlee has spoken before on his YouTube channel about the importance of content diversification — avoiding putting all your eggs in one platform's basket. But YouTube, as it stands, is simply too big to fail without warning, and too important for video creators to not focus on. He calls it a double-edged sword. "The platform is so massive that, on one hand, you can feel chained to it, but on the other hand, I'm just grateful that we have that incredible of a platform as an option," he says. "It's a no-brainer. I'm really happy that YouTube is as complete and successful as it is, to the point where, when things do go wrong, they'll hear about it from every direction."

It may not be feasible for any creator to ditch YouTube outright — not yet, anyway — but competition is crucial to keeping that economy healthy. IGTV is for now a novelty, but how it continues to craft itself around creators will determine its success. "I'm looking forward to seeing how IGTV evolves," Brownlee says. "Obviously, this is the way it is now, and it's really promising. But its success will also depend on how well it will adapt and keep adding things and moving forward, based on what works."