I posted my first tennis progress video on Instagram this year in July, the same month I signed up. I remember being pretty excited after 50 people had viewed it, as I only had about 20 followers at the time. It was a rather poor slow-motion service video, but it now has about 500 views and I was really pleased that it generated useful feedback and advice from fellow tennis players.
This summer I posted quite a few videos and I was surprised to find that one reached over 10,000 views within a couple of days, whereas others just received a few hundred. I was curious to understand what was causing the different viewing numbers.The number of views can be much higher than my number of followers, so I assume that most people are watching the video because it has been placed in their “Videos You Might Like” feed on the Explore tab.
So why are some of my videos being promoted over others? Is there an algorithm that Instagram uses to choose videos to promote, possibly as a function of the hashtags? I tend to use similar hashtags, so I don’t think that can be the case. Is it random? I have a feeling that it is not, and whilst I don’t think Instagram have a team of people watching videos to choose what to promote, I think that the rate of engagement (likes and comments) within the first few hours might instead be used. Hence, although I may of course be completely wrong, I do think there are things you can do to get more views on Instagram videos. I have noticed a positive influence related to my location with respect to the camera (videoing from behind rather than facing the camera), the weather and scenery (a sunny day, a ‘pretty’ tennis court), and the shot I am filming (service videos seem to be more popular than forehand/backhands).
My partner, however, is convinced that his presence in my videos increases the viewing numbers. Now, when he stated this he only had two videos to back up his claim (see below), but I will admit that they had pretty great viewing numbers (these two videos made up 10% of my tennis videos but comprised 20% of my total views – apologies for the statistics, but I’m an engineer and like to work with numbers!).
• Working At The Net • Today I spent two hours training tennis with my partner 🎾 (it has become a regular Sunday evening "date"), and I was very comfortable in my new @oysho leggings and dress combo 👌🏼 I need to do a lot more work at the net as I haven't quite got the movement clear in my mind. Anyway, we had a lot of fun! 🙌🏼 (In case you're wondering, I didn't get that last ball! 😁) #tennis #tennistraining #tennispractice #netpractice #volleypractice #tennislesson #tennisgirl #tennisdress #tennisoutfit #tennisaddict #tennislove #lovetennis #instatennis #instatennisstar #tennislife
• UUAAAAH! • What noise do you make after mishitting a ball in tennis?! Here's another clip from my Sunday training, with some forehand action this time. 🎾💪🏼 #tennis #tennistraining #tennispractice #tennisplayer #tennispassion #tennisgirl #tennislove #tennislife #lovetennis #tennisgirl #tennisaddict #forehand #tennislesson #tennislessons #instatennis #instatennisstar #tennismotivation #tenniscourt Wearing: @nafftasport
So I decided to put his theory to the test. On Sunday 4th December I posted a video of myself practising my serve. I was filming from behind, it was a service video, the tennis court had a nice roof, and it reached a couple of thousand views within a few days (and has not increased much since then – I think Instagram probably stop promoting videos after 3-4 days). This was slightly above my average at the time, and I was certainly very pleased with it.
• Sunday Service (but not in church!) • When you get caught videoing yourself practising serves…😊 – this is the moment my friend @daniela.nabais.rodrigues turned up for a Sunday afternoon tennis practice 🎾🙌🏼 I tried out my new @nafftasport outfit and it was just right in terms of temperature and I look forward to seeing how it works under the summer sun. The pockets in the leggings were good and hold at least 2 balls, though that does make for a rather lumpy profile! Anyway, there is a very slight speed increment in my serve compared to the last video I uploaded! Practice, practice, practice!! #tennis #tennispractice #tennistraining #tennisserve #servepractice #tennisgirl #tennislesson #tennisaddict #tennislife #lovetennis #tennislove #tennisoutfit #tennispassion #tenniscourt #tennismotivation #instatennis #instatennisstar Wearing: #naffta (leggings and top)
A week later I posted another service practice video – I made sure it was on the same day of the week, at the same time, in the same tennis court, taken from the same position (well, almost), and I included all the same hashtags (in the same order!), but this time I included my partner. I was a bit mean and chose a clip where he failed to respond to my serve (!):
• Video Views Test • So my partner noted to me that the tennis videos I have posted that include him have received many more views than those of just me by myself… 🤔 I think it is just a coincidence, but to test his theory I am posting another one of my serve from last Sunday, at the same time that I posted last week, and with all the same tags, but this time he's also there….so let's see if he is right! I have chosen a video of him failing to respond to my serve! 😁😂😜🎾 #tennis #tennispractice #tennistraining #tennisserve #servepractice #tennisgirl #tennislesson #tennisaddict #tennislife #lovetennis #tennislove #tennisoutfit #tennispassion #tenniscourt #tennismotivation #instatennis #instatennisstar Wearing: #naffta (leggings and top)
This video immediately started getting views, and they just kept on increasing – it is now my second most viewed video on Instagram!
Now, whilst there does appear to be some evidence to correlate my partner’s presence in my videos with a higher viewing count, I will maintain that two data points is not enough to establish a trend and I need to collect more data. And I guess this is as good excuse as any for us to play more tennis together!