There are two very good reasons why you might want to know who watched the video that you shared on Instagram.
The first reason is purely personal. It’s natural to want to know who interacted with your posts. It gives you a clearer picture of which friends and acquaintances stayed up-to-date with what you’re doing.
The second reason applies to businesses that are using Instagram as a marketing platform. If that is the case for you, you probably want to know as much as you can about your clients and potential clients. Video views can help you work out what your clients want to see from you in the future.
So how much information does Instagram give you about video views? As with many other features on this platform, the answer isn’t straightforward.
Instagram Doesn’t Show You Who Viewed Your Video Posts
Posting a video to Instagram is simple.
You record an event or you upload a recording from your gallery. You trim, filter and edit the video, and you can also add a caption. Then, you share the video as a post.
Your posts are permanent. If your account is set to private, then they’re only visible to your followers. If you have a public account, anyone can view them.
So will you know who has interacted with your video posts?
Instagram doesn’t tell you who viewed your posts. However, you do get to see the number of people who have seen your videos. This information isn’t available on image posts.
The view number doesn’t go up if one person watches the video several times in a row. It’s also very important to note that the view counter doesn’t apply if the post contains multiple videos.
Knowing the number of views your video post has received is valuable information. It can give you an idea of people’s interests. While this is less informative than comments and likes, it can help you plan out a more successful Instagram strategy.
But what if you want to share a video and know exactly who has viewed it? You can do that if you share your video as a story instead of a post.
Instagram Lets You Know Who Viewed Your Story Video
Stories are becoming one of Instagram’s top features. Like with a post, you can record or upload a video and share it as a story. Unlike posts, your stories disappear within a day after you make them.
In a way, every story is treated as a video, even ones that are based on images rather than video recordings. Stories have a specific runtime.
So what happens if someone watches your story? Instagram tells you exactly who viewed your story video. To get to this information, follow these steps:
Select the Story
Find the story whose stats you are interested in. On the bottom of your screen, you’ll see the number of people who have viewed your story. After your story disappears, so will this information.
Select “Seen by”
Tap on the “Seen by” text or the profile photo above it. This will take you to a list of people who have viewed your story so far.
In addition to the name of the person who has viewed your video, this screen shows you the view counts on your active stories.
This information can be very useful too. If you’re using Instagram to gain visibility for your business, stories can help you keep in touch with your followers. Knowing who viewed what will help you figure out how to make that happen.
What about Direct Messaging?
You can also send videos via DMs. Will you know whether your recipient has viewed the video you sent to them?
When someone watches your video in a conversation, Instagram marks the video with an eye-shaped icon. You can also see the name of the person who has viewed it. This is useful because group conversations are popular on Instagram.
What if you send a disappearing DM?
Disappearing DMs are similar to stories. Your recipient can only view a disappearing DM for a limited number of times before it turns inactive. These messages are always sent in video form, even if your message itself is actually an image or a text.
Exactly like in the case of permanent DMs, Instagram shows you who has viewed your disappearing video.
Why Are Video Views Important?
When Instagram first introduced video views in 2016, their blog stated that “Views are the most widely expected form of feedback on video.”
This is an accurate assessment and it reflects the mindset of many Instagram users. Having a high video view count is one of the best indicators that you’ve become Instagram-famous.
There’s another upside to having a high view count on your stories.
When you tap on “Seen by” on your story, you can see the full list of people who have viewed your video. So in what order are the names listed?
If your view count is low, the people who’ve seen your video are listed chronologically. However, when the view count grows, the order will change. The people who interact more with your profile will rank higher.
This can be a good way to do a quick analysis of your followers. However, the most important function of video view counts is to tell you which videos people like the best.
A Final Word
Here’s a quick recap from the viewer side of things.
You can watch another person’s video post without your name getting recorded anywhere. All you will do is add to their video view count. When you’re watching a story instead of a video, your name will get recorded.
There are third-party apps that promise to let you watch Instagram stories anonymously. You can also try certain tricks, like turning off WiFi before you watch the story. But if staying anonymous is important to you, it is safest to stick to posts instead of stories.