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Views are better than likes: Instagram makes switch to generate more video sales

Views rather than likes will be what Instagram uses to show a video’s popularity moving forward in the hope that the switch can convince more advertisers to spend on its video ads.

A view counter will appear underneath videos where likes used to be in the coming weeks. Likes will still be accessible, though only when the user taps the view count. It’s the latest feature to bring Instagram closer to its sister social network Facebook, with the former claiming the change is in response to advertiser and user demand.

The switch works to make the social network even more brand friendly than it already is. Instagram fully opened its once closely guarded advertising doors to brands last September and is now working to mix up the experience so that it’s not just images users are seeing as branded content. More importantly, there’s more momentum behind its attempts to get brands to create content specifically for the social network rather than repurposing posts from other parts of its marketing.

Video is key to that proposition with Instagram introducing 30 and 60-second social ads as well as its Boomerang tool for watching looped videos over the last 6 months. In that period, the time people spent watching videojumped by more than 40 per cent according to research.

Like its rivals, Instagram sees itself as a complement to TV rather than a competitor and is using its advertising tools to help advertisers get their media channels in synch in order to get maximum reach per post.

In 2016 mobile will account for 82 per cent of Facebook’s US digital ad revenues, according to emarketer. Its mobile ad formats combined with those ads sold on Instagram will spur this growth. This year, emarketer tips Instagram to earn $1.37bn in the US and $1.48bn worldwide in mobile ad revenues, while in its heartland it will account for more than a fifth (20.1 per cent) of Facebook’s total mobile ad revenue.