[Update: You can now use Agorapulse to schedule, queue, or post video directly to Instagram!]
Most brands have always wanted more views on their Instagram videos, but ever since the number of views are now publicly displayed underneath each video, the pressure is officially on.
In the past year, Instagram has skyrocketed in ranks of social media platforms businesses need to be marketing on. The visual-centric platform is known for its high engagement, and social videos are just as important here as they are on other platforms. The challenge brands are now focusing on is how to get more Instagram video views.
Fortunately, there are some tested methods to boost views on your Instagram videos, backed by data and case studies.
Spoiler alert: these methods do not include buying Instagram followers or Instagram video views. This doesn’t work and can hurt your marketing efforts (you can read why here and here). Instead, we’ll look at four white hat practices that are proven to be effective to get more Instagram video views.
Instagram, like Twitter, relies heavily on the use of hashtags, and the hashtags you attach to your Instagram videos can directly affect views. A clever hashtag on its own can actually be enough to encourage users to watch your video. More importantly, the right hashtag will help you expand your reach and can potentially connect you to new members of your target audience using the search feature.
Brands can also use hashtags to jump in and create videos on trending topics. These topics get a lot of searches, and can give you major visibility very quickly. I wouldn’t recommend only creating videos around trending topics, but using the strategy occasionally can help you drive up video views quickly.
Posts on Instagram with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those with none. In 2015, best posts from top brands had an average of 2.5 hashtags per post. And believe it or not, 70% of Instagram’s most-used hashtags are branded hashtags.
Zara’s #iamdenim Instagram video campaign (pictured above) is a great example of how choosing the right hashtags directly impacted brands. It held a “collaborative design project with real people, for real people.” Its videos of “real people” and influencers wearing its products. The genius hashtag felt authentic, focusing on the person instead of the product, and as a result they saw massive engagement rates (including video views) and growth in its number of followers.
Instagram is and (I’m assuming) will always be a highly visual platform. It’s all about the images and videos when we’re scrolling through out feeds. A common error I see brands making, however, is not using the descriptions to draw users in. This is particularly important with video views; the description can actually convince users to watch them instead of scrolling past.
There are a few ways to optimize your description that are proven to increase video views:
While Instagram’s algorithm has somewhat affected when users see our posts, scheduling videos to go live during peak times can still make a huge difference. Since most engagement happens on Instagram content very soon after it’s posted, knowing your audience’s times of peak activity can still drastically increase your video views. Once you’ve got a solid first round of engagement, Instagram will boost the reach of your video, increasing your number of views further.
Here’s the thing; you’ll need to learn what the peak posting times are for your specific audience. It can actually vary widely from brand to brand. According to one study, for example, the best time to post on Instagram is on Mondays. Another found that the worst day of the week (if only slightly) was on a Monday.
There is one consistency across all studies, however. While specific times vary, it’s a general rule of thumb that posting in the afternoon and evening will yield best results. You can learn more about how to find the best time to post for your brand here.
You can use Agorapulse’s Instagram reports to quickly evaluate which posts are getting the most engagement. If you post similar content daily, it’ll be easy to determine which days get you the best results.
If you carefully test different times, peak times during the day will be easy to see, too.
Instagram ads aren’t organic posts and they do cost money. But they’re also a surefire way to get more Instagram video views quickly. If you have a video you want to get a lot of eyes on, running a “video views” campaign is the way to go. Thanks to its shared Facebook ad’s amazing targeting system, Instagram ads can even help make sure those views are from relevant users.
Instagram ads have been exceptionally effective since their release. Technology company LG proved this when its Instagram video ad campaign saw a reach of 16 million relevant users and over 1.7 million engagements. While these are drastically big numbers (and were likely very expensive to obtain), SMBs can replicate these results on an appropriate scale for their brands.
Instagram has historically had higher engagement than other platforms. Its ads from ecommerce brands have a higher CTR average than Facebook. Initial video ads were deemed “highly effective” at first release.
Keep in mind that Instagram ads do typically cost more than their Facebook counterparts, so watch your ad spend carefully.
Especially now that they’re visible for everyone to see, we want to increase video views to benefit from social proof. Combining the strategies discussed above with high-quality, high-value content will increase your Instagram video views both immediately and long-term.