Simply put: You cannot see who viewed your Instagram Reels videos. And any third-party app that tells you otherwise is lying.
In August of 2020, Instagram released their TikTok clone “Instagram Reels“. This feature allows users to create short “Reels” and release them to the public. Once a video is published, you will be able to see who liked or commented on your video. However, you will not be able to see who viewed it.
If you look at the bottom of your Reels video, you will see that there is no option to see a list of viewers:
This is by design.
Why can’t you see who viewed your Instagram Reels videos?
The reason behind this is pretty simple. Because the video will be released to the public, there is always the chance that it will rack up thousands of views. Consequently, providing a “list” of viewers may prove to be an unnecessary technical headache for Instagram.
Think about it. Such a feature would prove to be useless after a certain amount of views have been reached. A user would have to scroll for a pretty long time just to see if a certain person has watched their Reels video. You’d end up scrolling through an endless list of random strangers that you didn’t even know existed before.
Why would Instagram go through the bother of building server infrastructure for a feature that is pretty useless?
Another huge issue is privacy. When you like or comment on a Reels video, you are putting yourself out there. You are OK with the fact that the creator will see your “interaction”. However, when you are just browsing videos, you might not want some stranger in Ohio to know that you just watched his stupid lip-sync video.
This brings me onto my next point.
Allowing people to see who viewed their Reels videos could cause drama.
In a previous article about screenshotting Instagram stories, I pointed out that Facebook tends to avoid features that could cause drama or friction.
If the Instagram app allowed you to see who looked at your video, then you’d potentially be able to figure out which of your followers viewed it and ignored it. “OMG, she looked at my video but she didn’t even like it?!” “Dave is supposedly my friend, yet he didn’t give my last video any support.” “Is Lisa mad at me or something? She looked at my Reels video last night and ignored it.”
You get the point.
You might think I am exaggerating how petty or anxious people can be when it comes to social media. However, this is sadly not the case. You’d be surprised by how certain people can become extremely fixated on who did and didn’t like their posts.
With Instagram Stories, things are different. Reactions to Stories are a private matter between the person who uploaded it and the person who is responding. Unlike public posts, nobody feels as if they have to react to an Instagram story.
TikTok doesn’t allow you to see who viewed your videos.
Last, but not least, Instagram Reels is a clone of TikTok. If you have ever created a video on TikTok before, then you will know the app does not let you see who viewed your videos. This begs the question: If TikTok does not provide such a feature, why would Instagram bother to do so?