— October 12, 2017
If you’ve watched any videos on Facebook or Instagram lately, you may have noticed that underneath the video, it will tell you how many views the video got. Not only will the person or Page who posted the video be able to see this, everyone else will, too. The number of views your video received is now public knowledge.
At a first glance, it’s easy to think “so what, does that really matter?” It does, in fact, matter quite a bit—the social proof factor of this alone can affect how viewers perceive the video.
In this post, we’re going to look at how the public video view metrics affect your business, and what you can do to increase video views to leverage this feature for your benefit.
What Counts as a Video View?
Before we dive deep into how this affects us, let’s define what counts as a video view by Facebook’s and Instagram’s own standards.
First, video views will only be made public if the video itself is public. This is true for both personal profiles and Pages.
Second, auto-play views count just as much as views where a user clicked to play, or clicked to enable sound. They’re all equal. That being said, video views are only counted if viewers watch for three seconds or more. Since it takes only a fraction of a second to swipe past your video, this means that almost anyone who pauses long enough to read your video description could be counted as a view (this works in your favor). This is not necessarily the same standard as video views counted in Facebook or Instagram Ads.
Views from both followers and non-followers are counted.
Here’s the exceptions:
- Videos watched for three seconds or less, whether they’re autoplay or not
- Multiple viewings of a looping video won’t be counted as more than one view
- Videos uploaded before November 2015 will not have video views metrics public
How the Public Video View Counter Affects You
If you’re using Facebook’s and Instagram’s insights—which you should be doing—you’ll already have plenty of information about how many users are watching your videos and how they’re interacting with it. The public number that tells you nothing more than the number of viewers isn’t anything that you don’t already have. It is, however, new information to your followers.
The social proof that the video view counter can provide is enormous. Imagine scrolling in Instagram, and you see that a video has 60,000 views. You’ll want to see why. Social proof is an incredible phenomenon where public engagement or interaction from other users can make someone else more willing to check out what you’re saying. It inspires trust, and maybe a little bit of FOMO, too. If you’re trying to leverage any deals with other businesses, being able to say not only “I have this many followers” but also “I average 10,000 views per video” can work in your favor.
The reverse can be true; if someone sees that your video has only two views, that could be much more damaging than only having two likes. It tells the person who notices that your visibility is low, and other users don’t want to watch your video content. That’s not a good message to send.
You also want to watch out for a high video view count, with very little engagement. This is another thing that could puzzle viewers, and not in a good way. If your video has 5,000 views and three likes, that isn’t ideal. See what types of videos are getting high view counts and engagement, and use engagement-boosting tactics to drive up both simultaneously.
How to Increase Video Views
Video views matter, both for social proof and because they allow us to distribute our content and our message to more viewers. If you’re able to get more users to watch your video for three seconds, both the video counts and users’ familiarity with your brand increases, so utilizing strategies to boost views is essential.
To do this, you should dive right into the action. A lot of businesses (and writers) like to take their time getting into the story; they want to set the scene. Don’t do this. If you don’t make viewers understand why they need to care within the first glance, you’ll lose them long before the three seconds it takes to register as a view. A great example of how this is done can be seen here:
You should also use the video title and description to your advantage. Sometimes, the video’s description will capture user interest just as much as the video itself, because we’re subconsciously reading as we scroll through our feeds. Creating an attention-grabbing, interest-evoking description will effectively increase viewer count. As much as I detest clickbait for blog post, I’ve admittedly used some of those strategies to get more video views on social.
It also helps to focus on engagement-boosting strategies, like asking for users to share their thoughts at the end of the video. Boosted-engagement means that the video will rank higher in the algorithms, getting you more views. Live videos, particularly when created through Facebook Live, are also particularly effective at gaining more engagement at views for this reason.
The public video view counter can have an impact on how your followers believe your content is perceived by others; in today’s social-driven society, that can account for a lot. Using the strategies discussed in this post will enable you to increase video views, offering you numerous benefits—including the social proof of a high viewer count. In many cases, this will help you build momentum on both Facebook and Instagram, sending you higher up in algorithms and continuing to get more views and engagement as a result.
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