2019 Instagram data report: 58% of videos contain music

WRITTEN BY Jenny Crawford
Aug 20, 2020

Instagram may have started as a photo-sharing app, but with the addition of video in 2013, stories in 2016, IGTV in 2018, and most recently its new reels functionality, the platform has become a top competitor for video-centric apps. As Instagram continually develops features to compete with Snap, TikTok, and other platforms, the Facebook-owned company shares its parent’s “video first” strategy.

We analyzed Facebook videos for 2019 and found that in the years after adopting its video first strategy, the platform saw an increase in video uploads, engagements, and views. Now for the first time, we’re sharing our data on Instagram and seeing how “video first” has impacted the platform over the past three years.

Note: For this analysis, Pex measured any public video content that displayed in a user’s Instagram feed, including short-form video and IGTV. Because Instagram stories are removed after 24 hours, we did not include them in this analysis. All data is as of December 31, 2019.

Video upload growth has remained steady since 2017

Instagram videos saw the biggest jump in uploads from 2016 to 2017, increasing by 3.5 times. This massive growth hit a plateau in 2017, and uploads have remained steady since. Instagram introduced stories in 2016, in an effort to compete with Snapchat, and this move could have increased the apps popularity, thereby driving more content uploads overall.

Instagram released IGTV in 2018, but the feature did not drive additional uploads for the platform, and from 2018 to 2019, video uploads increased less than one percent.

Pex | 2019 Instagram data report: Instagram video uploads by year

Per-video views on Instagram have increased 159% over the past 3 years

While video uploads haven’t increased substantially for the past two years, average views per video have increased every year since 2016. In 2019, per video views increased by 10.75% when compared to 2018. Overall in the last 3 years, per video views grew by 159%.

Pex | 2019 Instagram data report: Instagram video views per upload

Cumulative views have also increased every year since 2016, showing video is increasing in value on the app, despite a steady upload rate. In 2018, overall views increased 119% and then increased another 10.86% in 2019.

Pex | 2019 Instagram data report: Instagram video views by year

83.7% of views on Instagram come from 3% of videos

Much like we’ve seen on YouTube and Facebook, a very limited number of videos make up the majority of views on Instagram. Only 3% of the videos on Instagram are driving 83.7% of the views. On Facebook, the top 2% of videos generated 86% of all views, while on YouTube the distribution is even more extreme, with just 0.77% of videos bringing in 82.83% of views.

Pex | 2019 Instagram data report: Percent of video views on Instagram by view tier

The majority of all views, 38.7%, came from the 100,000 to 1 million views tier. While overall views may be increasing on the platform, less than 1% came from videos with more than 100 million views.

Prevalence of music in Instagram videos

Instagram has grown into a multi-function platform that relies heavily on short-form video content. In turn, those videos rely heavily on music. 58% of videos on Instagram in 2019 contained at least 10 seconds of music, representing 43.8% of total views on the platform.

This means that interestingly, unlike on Facebook and YouTube, videos with music on Instagram don’t have higher views than those without music. In fact, in 2019 the average views per video with or without music were nearly the same.


Instagram video uploads experienced massive growth in 2017 but have stagnated since, and only grew marginally in 2019. Despite uploads hitting a plateau, videos still became more important to the platform last year, with views per video increasing nearly 11%. In 2019, more than half of videos contained music, and those videos made up 43.8% of all views, showing just how valuable music is to the platform.

Despite the amount of video on Instagram that contains music, there’s currently no way for all music rightsholders, aside from the majors, to easily license their catalogs to the platform and be compensated for uses of their work. 

At Pex, we’ve built a real-time licensing solution for rightsholders and platforms to allow all copyright in UGC to be licensed appropriately. It’s called the Attribution Engine, and it’s free for rightsholders to register their catalogs. Email us [email protected] to learn more.

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