If you asked me this time last year what analytics or stats you should care about to grow your business, Instagram video views was probably the last thing on my mind.
However, one thing that was on my list for last year was video – specifically, to create video content for my site. As a content creator and visual marketer, getting into video makes complete sense. Not just from a content creation standpoint, but from a teaching perspective as well. It’s much easier following along a video tutorial of how to edit a photo than it is to read a lengthy blog post. And yet, fast forward 12 months later, and I have only made two or three videos in the last year. Saying I achieved this goal would be very generous.
At the root of it all, video intimidates me (as it does for many other people). But since it’s something I really want to do more of this year, I’ve been on hyperdrive looking for motivation and non-negotiable reasons to stop overthinking things and just do it already. Needless to say, there’s a lot of reasons to begin right now.
As you can see, other marketers in the space know what’s up. They know video is going to be huge with 83% of them wanting to create more video content, and 42% wanting to create more live video specifically. In the words of Neil Patel,
If video content is on your list of 2018 goals, don’t get bogged down in research for the best camera for vlogging or what lav mic to use just yet. Trust me- that’s what I did in the beginning and I made zero progress thanks to a little thing called overwhelm.
You are here on my site so you’re likely already using the perfect platform to start your video content creation journey. Instagram makes it incredibly easy to learn how to master different kinds of video content marketing. You can post pre-recorded videos to your regular feed, post more transient footage to your IG Stories, or even live video record with Instagram Live. And since Facebook owns the social media platform, when you’re ready to go big with cross-promoting or sharing, all it takes is a tap of a button.
But the biggest reason why I think Instagram is a great place to start creating video content on is because of the stats. And that brings us back to Instagram video views. This is why you should care.
Decoding Instagram Video Views
Let’s say you’re on vacation in Maui witnessing one of the most magical sunsets you’ve ever seen. It’s the end of a long but full day of adventuring and exploring. You reach for your phone, tap on the Instagram app, and start recording a story. Then you share it with your followers.
Later that night, you re-watch your story again and check who has viewed your sunset video. You check it again later and the list has grown. But you notice something – the order of who has viewed your sunset video keeps changing slightly. You always assumed that everyone was listed in chronological order of when they viewed your video but you realize now that’s not the case.
When you post a video to your feed or stories, Instagram displays who has watched your content. For videos posted on your feed as normal posts, a “view” is counted when someone watches your video for 3 seconds or more and is shown underneath your post. But that number does not refer to Stories.
Instagram hasn’t officially stated how views are counted on stories, but we can make a good assumption they are counted immediately, similar to how Snapchat counts views. This is because stories (and snaps) can vary in length.
Make no mistake, Instagram does prioritize the list of people who watch your Stories or video posts. Like everything else the app does, it’s very much intentional. While the Facebook-owned photo sharing platform doesn’t communicate this, there is an exhaustive thread on Reddit where several users have come to the same conclusion backed by their own testing, experimenting, and experiences with the app.
For Instagram Stories, there are two main ways the app prioritizes the list of your viewers:
- To start, viewers are listed in reverse chronological order until more than 50 people have viewed your story.
- After your story is viewed by 50 people, Instagram then prioritizes who interacts with your Instagram account most.
Get that? So when you initially post your Story, viewers are listed by who first viewed your content. And the most recent view will be listed at the bottom (reverse chronological order). After your views reach 50+, then the order of viewers is determined by who racks up the most activity with your account. The ones at the top of the list are the accounts that interact most with your content in general. So if someone clicks on your profile, likes what you’re posting, and views your stories very often, he/she is most likely to be at the top of your viewers list.
So why do we care?
(By the way, jump to the bottom of this article for another fun fact. Hint: it’s very telling of who you are stalking!)
Instagram Video Views Are The Secret Sauce To More…Everything
There is so much opportunity here that people aren’t taking advantage of. It’s practically low-hanging fruit dangling right in front of your face. Think about it: our top-ranked story viewers are, at least partially, the people who view our profiles and photos the most, without necessarily engaging (i.e. liking or commenting) with the content. In other words, once we get 50+ views on our content, our stalkers rank highest on our list of Instagram video views.
These are the people who going out of their way to check your profile, engage with your content, and most importantly, seeking out anything new that you produce. Reward them with VIP perks. Make them an ambassador. Find out what’s resonating with them. Send them a quick message asking them what they’re enjoying or what they would like to see more of. (If you can’t wait to get started, go ahead and download my swipe copy now so you know exactly what to say when you reach out to these accounts!)
If any of these accounts are brands as well, what opportunities can you partner up or collaborate on together? If joining forces is too close for comfort (especially if any of those accounts are competitors. And hey, how flattering is that by the way? Your competitors are keeping tabs on your account!), keep your eye on them; whether or not you want to follow them is your choice. If you love their video content marketing strategies – to the point where it almost makes you jealous because what they are posting is so damn good – then that means they are successful and it’s smart to study them.
Connect with these valuable followers and turn them into raving fans because that’s free marketing and advertising for you. And doing so will help you outsmart Instagram’s algorithm – if you treat them well and provide a great experience in your interaction, they will be more than happy to spread the word. It only takes one person to tell their friends (who will tell their friends and so on and so forth). And I’m telling you- this will result in more real and targeted followers, increased traffic, and a growing community in the end.
Reaching out to people on Instagram can be intimidating but I promise you it’s easier than you think. If you’re worried that you’ll come across as weird, get over it right now. I’ve met a ton of people through Instagram that I consider dear friends today and I’m so glad we all connected.
To make things easy, I’m sharing my swipe copy (3 different ways to reach out on social media) for you to download and use. Feel free to tweak and create your own messaging so long as you start reaching out to these MVAs (most valuable accounts) and start the conversation today. It’s such an easy way to keep your brand moving in the right direction!
Another fun fact– when it comes to the stories that are displayed first on your feed (in the Stories section at the top of your screen) – these actually are the ones posted by people that you interact the most with (but not necessarily engage with).
Were you already using Instagram video views like this? Do you have any other social media tips that have been working for you recently? Let me know in the comments below, would love to hear them all!