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Instagram Will Start Displaying Video Views in a Push for More Ads

As on Facebook, a 'view' begins at 3 seconds

Brands are getting more insight into their social clips. Instagram

Today, Instagram announced that it will start counting views on videos, which should give marketers a better idea of how many people watch their clips.

Previously, Instagram videos and photos were measured only in the form of "hearts" and comments. In a blog post, the Facebook-owned app called views "the most widely expected form of feedback" for videos, and added that users will see view counts roll out over the next few weeks in the app. They'll be visible on videos posted in the app and on ads.

Instagram will mark a view as three seconds, just like Facebook.

This is just the latest step in the app's plan to shift marketers' budgets from TV to mobile. Last week, Instagram unveiled 60-second video ads, and it also offers a one-day takeover video ad format dubbed Marquee that lets brands promote different clips throughout a day.

Video views have been a big issue for parent company Facebook over the past couple of years. In September, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company rolled out viewability ad-buying tools.

Unlike Twitter-owned Vine's loop counter that some marketers are skeptical of as a legitimate source for views, Kevin Del Rosario, associate director of social at Huge, said that Instagram's scrolling newsfeed (and the three-second rule) could make Instagram videos more valuable than Vine clips.

Vine videos automatically play regardless of where they're posted, including websites and Twitter feeds. Instagram clips however, only play automatically in the app. To watch an Instagram video on a website or from a computer, consumers have to click on it.

"Because of the nature of Instagram, those views may be more valuable because you know that someone is stopping to see the content versus scrolling," he said.

Still, the bulk of Instagram content is photos, and Del Rosio said the app's scroll-based feed makes it tough for brands' clips to stand out.

"In my experience, we always see lower engagement on our [Instagram] videos because of people scrolling," Del Rosio said. "Getting the ability to count views is not that exciting to me in particular."

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