I got more Reels views while on vacation than while here

More while leaving it alone than while I was uploading. Why?

William Chernoff upright bass Reel
Always free advertising for Steel & Oak

Before I took a vacation, two weeks ago, I made ten Reels on a nascent williamchernoff Instagram account.

Those Reels were an implementation of what we talked about in these two Updates:

Instagram thoughts
Revised and republished: 3 reasons why it’s not great for music
9 concepts for Instagram
For musicians, Reels has changed Instagram for the better

Now, here's an interesting result to wrap up the story.

While I made the ten Reels, they got almost zero views – only a couple hundred each. On YouTube, from a standing start, that'd be worth something: not on Instagram.

But during the vacation, while I was making no new Reels, two of the ten received some small-scale boosts from Instagram.

On the first Saturday that I was away (July 30), one of those reels found more views than all the others combined, up to that point.

And then over the next few days, another one followed, and it got more engagements – though fewer views – than the previous one.

The other eight reels received no boost and accumulated roughly no more views.

Takeaways

The most important one...

Don't judge your content's performance immediately!

Give some time through a routine of making new things, before you write off your efforts. Some of what you make will probably get that boost later.

And here are some other takeaways

  • I believe that if I was making new Reels around July 30-31, one of my new ones would get an equal or bigger boost to those two. As long as Instagram analyzed it to be of similar quality, the platform was in a sense hungry for my content at that time. This is the same experience that I took from my lengthy, well-read Spotify editorial playlist anecdote.
  • This is all small potatoes; truly meaningful Reels views are in the tens and hundreds of thousands.
  • Reels views, though they are key to driving overall impressions within Instagram, can't correlate to off-platform results at all. They just don't mean enough – a view is literally any amount of milliseconds spent on the Reel.

Sidebar: it is so funny how people who talk a big game about, "Social media vanity metrics mean nothing to me, I'm all about real engagement!" melt into a puddle when they get a little bit of Reels views and start gushing about how well they did...

Finally, this might be a nice one to end on

Instagram doesn't seem to punish you for taking a break.

That's good, because I won't spend much time on it this week at all!