Instagram just got more like Facebook, not to mention YouTube and Twitter's Vine. The Facebook-owned app for sharing photos and video will soon add a video view count, the company announced in a blog post Thursday.
The view count number will replace the tally from the “like” button on Instagram. Users can tap on the new video view counter to see the tally of “likes.” The feature will be introduced over the coming weeks to all users. Instagram has 400 million monthly active users.
Instagram identified view counts as a “widely expected industry metric,” as noted in the post. “We believe video views are the best measure of viewer intent. And we often hear from our community they’d like to better understand how people are engaging with their videos,” the blog post reads.
But video view count is also a metric that comes with controversy, especially on Madison Avenue, due to the lack of a standard definition by tech and media companies. Facebook, with 8 billion video views, and Snapchat, with 7 billion video views, have been compared for their rapid growth. Yet their metrics differ. Facebook counts a view as three seconds, while Snapchat's is reported to be a millisecond and Vine shares a loop count.
YouTube is altogether different in that it emphasizes watch time, part of its bid to get viewers watching longer and exposed to more mid-video commercials.
Facebook’s standard of three seconds will extend to Instagram. Facebook also touts a statistic from a study with Nielsen that found 47 percent of the value in a video ad campaign is delivered in the first three seconds.
Video watch time has extended across social networks as each builds up its offerings. Instagram reports that time spent watching videos on the app has increased more than 40 percent in the last six months. Facebook says its more than 1.59 billion monthly active users watch more than 100 million hours of video per day.
Instagram promises more video updates to come. Last year, it released Boomerang, an app for stitching together photo bursts into a video. The company recently created an ad option for 60-second videos of the app, extending from the previous limit of 30 seconds. “Adding view counts is the first of many ways you’ll see video on Instagram get better this year,” the blog post reads.