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The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Video

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Video

Fab Giovanetti

Video content has really shaken up social media: professionals, experts, and companies alike. IGTV was Instagram’s late video platform, which was sadly overshadowed by its cooler cousin, Instagram Reels. Most recently, Instagram merged IGTV and feed videos in quite a bold move.

Instagram is introducing several new features for Instagram Video including trimming, the ability to upload video captions, people and location tagging and 60-second feed previews. The new Video tab has now replaced the old IGTV tab on users’ profiles, with a new “play button” icon.

If you are looking to see how your videos perform, you will be able to access a new range of insights under a new “Videos” tab in Instagram Insights, rather than in separate displays. By combining IGTV with other forms of video content (excluding Reels) the app is creating one place for longer-form storytelling (Instagram Videos can be up to 60 minutes in length).

Looking to show up more on video? You now have four formats to tap into:

  1. Stories – fleeting, 15-second videos that disappear after 24 hours
  2. Reels – short 15 to 60-second videos showing in Feed and Reel tab
  3. Videos – longer-form video, can last up to 60 minutes
  4. Instagram Live – live streaming videos, up to four hours long

New videos come with a new host of analytics. 

Make time to see what works and what doesn’t, just like you would do on Reels and Instagram Live. Head back to analytics to check your video performance. Click on the “…” button and select “View Insights”. When you click on “View Insights” you’ll be able to see your views, likes, comments as well as audience retention rate (how many people watched your video all the way to the end). According to Instagram, a “view” on a video is the number of times people watched at least 3 seconds of your video. You can even see the ‘average percentage watched.

Don’t underestimate the power of analytics. There you can have a clear look at your followers’ habits, and see which days and times they are live more often. You can also test the effectiveness of your calls to action, with metrics like ‘website taps’ and ‘follows’.

A few metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Percentage of video viewed
  • Saves and comments
  • Website taps & follows

Video specs and best practices

We all know mobiles are now making us as resourceful as videographers – and this is such a great thing about Instagram video. Naturally, the best solution for creating video content would be to go vertical where possible.

Remember that now you can also share a 60-second preview, so make sure that the first minute of your video is truly exciting, and ideally, you would start to create some intrigue or cliffhanger around the 1-minute mark, to get your viewers to tap over to the video to keep watching.

The original vertical video naturally encourages you to record on your phone, making for a better mobile experience, because you don’t have to rotate your phone or watch a smaller version. This will require you to adapt the size of the videos to different platforms (such as Facebook), just be mindful of the time limit. Yet, the best videos tend to be between one and three minutes in length.

  • Instagram videos are at least 60 seconds long and can run up to 60 minutes. If you’re wondering what size vertical videos are, they’re a 16:9 aspect ratio (the same as Instagram Stories) You’ll save time on production, editing and fancier tools.
  • With the new formats, titles are no longer required for your videos, so make sure you add any relevant keywords to your description to make it easier for people to find your videos in the Explore feed.
  • When it comes to your cover, you can upload still your own custom cover, or choose a thumbnail from your video.
  • You can even add captions automatically through your advanced settings.

Taking your videos to the next level

More and more of us find ourselves totally immersed in some tearful jaw-dropping hair-rising video story of a cat saving a dog from a fire, or a yogi stepping far beyond what is considered normal human body stretching capabilities.

The good news is that you too can use the enormous potential of Instagram videos to connect your own audience today, and here are some tips which we hope will be useful.

You don’t need a huge budget or professional video editing skills to create video content that you can post on Instagram. In fact, you might’ve noticed how many of the most popular videos you’ve watched are taken with shaking hands using a smartphone and in poor light conditions. An iPhone and simple editing software are all you need, though of course, that is not to say that you shouldn’t start making beautiful short films of your own, should you wish to.

Quality videos are being created from smartphones not only because smartphone-camera technology has advanced, but also because users enjoy the convenience they bring to their lives.

Keep videos short and simple.

There are too many other things to watch out there, so make sure you grab attention and deliver your message in a very contained time. 4 to 6 minutes are the best length – despite having a maximum length of 10 minutes. It is particularly important to include a wow-image in the first few seconds so your lovely fans stop and watch it, rather than just scroll right through.

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If you are looking for help, resort to an app. For example, Impresso was developed specifically to make social media promo videos – optimized for Instagram.  When you capture video content on your smartphone, you are able to make and upload high-quality & engaging videos straight from your phone to your social media platform.

If you’re looking to repurpose your video footage to use across your Instagram Stories and posts, and add some filters to match your Instagram aesthetic, InShot Video Editor is a photo and video editing app specially designed to make your content fits in with both your feed and your Instagram Stories posts.

You know your followers better than anyone else and you what they like and what they need – make a video that responds to those needs so as to make it worth watching and sharing. Beach season approaching? – Why not make a video on fresh Summer recipes. Cold and rainy? – Share some tips on some of the best warming and immune-boosting drinks. A great app for this is Jumprope, which allows you to create engaging and beautiful how-tos for your channel. Below you can find a few more ideas for your content:

  • Create ad hoc content showcasing your expertise
  • Joint interviews or Q&As
  • Repurpose content from other platforms

Combine graphics, photos, text

Ok, everyone wants to see your pretty face – there is no doubt about it. But do try to incorporate texts, images, graphics, animation, etc. to make your video more informative and engaging. One important reason why to do so is that they are a smaller format, and easier to digest. As a result, videos with your pretty “talking head” only might not do so well, rather than those that deliver some information even when watched on silent.

We recommend you look at creating consistent branding for your videos – may that be covers or specific look and feel: branding increases revenue by up to 23% and overall brand recognition by three to four times.

Use your existing branding to shape up your videos: if you have always been focusing on low-key and behind the scene content, you want to keep that consistent feeling. VSCO, one of the most popular Instagram editing app allows you to edit Instagram video content in the app as well. The lesser-known feature lets you add any of your favourite VSCO filters to your video content to help you maintain a cohesive aesthetic — no matter what you’re posting.

The future of Instagram is rooted in video content

As of 2021, mobile video has accounted for 78% of total mobile data traffic. So video is the way to go, it seems. Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has been hinting at a more “simplified video experience” on the platform, which also highlights how the app is truly capitalising on Reels at this stage. Use a variety of video formats to create a compelling strategy for your social media content.