How To Use Video For Instagram

In 2012, I joined Instagram for the very first time. Back then, the Instagram app was mainly used for exchanging pictures and not as a video marketing platform.

I was into the health and fitness industry and followed the top influencers in the industry. Even then, the first movers understood the power of Instagram. With a smartphone picture and a dash of hashtags, anyone could get high visibility on their content.

The health and fitness industry was perfect for the platform. It’s an industry focused on showing off aesthetics or athletic accomplishments. As the saying goes, the 500-pound deadlift didn’t happen unless it was captured by an image or photograph.

It seems Facebook also discovered the power of Instagram right around this time. They saw the app as a powerful complement in their aspirations to be THE premier marketing platform on the Internet. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for about $1 billion.

Since Instagram’s launch in 2010, the app has grown exponentially. According to Statista, it had 90 million users in 2013 and has reached a billion users in mid-2018. It’s easily the greatest acquisition in Facebook’s history.

Instagram user data
Source: Statista

Instagram started out as a platform for viewing images, but today, Facebook wants it to be more video as part of their overall strategy to become a video platform that will rival YouTube.

Why use Instagram for video marketing?

Instagram has about one billion active accounts and half of those are active on a daily basis. This fact alone should be sufficient reason to be active on Instagram. 

There’s a popular saying:

A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

video marketing on Instagram
Yours Truly – Author IG account

If that’s the case, then a video (which consists of 24 pictures a second) is priceless. Indeed, check out these reasons on why videos rock on Instagram:

Get discovered on Instagram

According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, about 66 percent of visitors to a brand’s Instagram profile are currently not following the brand. Moreover, Instagram users spend 20 percent of their time on the Explore tab. Thus, business or personal brands have high chance of getting discovered on Instagram.

These ingredients make Instagram a perfect environment for a viral video. With the right content and messaging, a good video has a great chance of getting viral status on the Instagram platform. Not only will current followers see the video, but the Instagram AI will put it at the top of the Explorer tab, where it will get even more views and engagements.

Users love video content on Instagram

According to Animoto, Instagram saw the largest increase (year-over-year growth) in purchases thanks to video. Moreover, users have indicated video as their number one preferred content.

It’s amazing how far Instagram has grown. It has evolved from primarily a photo sharing site to a video marketing haven. Here are more video marketing statistics from Animoto:

  • 73 percent of users have been impacted by social media videos when making a buying decision.
  • Consumers list video as the ultimate form of content from brands on social media.
  • As stated before, Instagram is the fastest growing platform for purchasing decisions driven by a brand video.

Since many users discover brands on Instagram, the platform is ripe for a savvy video marketer. With an entertaining and/or educational video, a new brand can easily boost its presence and build an audience on Instagram.

All it takes is to take advantage of the platform’s many features, such as geo tagging, hashtags mechanism, and user tagging. A great video will hit the top of the Explore tab, where it will be discovered by even more users… who will also share it to their audience. This is how viral videos are made on Instagram. User after user will engage and continue to share the videos to their followers.

Certain industries will really do well on Instagram with video. Anything that can be shown or has a visual element to their business should be on the platform. Here are some industries that would do well with Instagram videos:

  • Fashion and beauty
  • Real estate
  • Film and entertainment
  • Photography
  • Restaurants and anything related to food
  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • Cars
  • Coaching
  • Fitness & Health

The possibilities are endless. All it takes is to post entertaining and educational content consistently.

Instagram videos drive the most engagement

Engagements are what makes social media content go viral. The ideal situation occurs when a video gets featured on the Explore page. Then user after user will like and share the video to their followers. These followers will then share to their followers. Then on and on it goes, making the content go viral with a million views.

According to Quinty’s Instagram research, video receives up to 21 percent more engagements than still images on Instagram. Despite this fact, still photographs make up the majority of posts.

What this means is this…

There is an appetite for videos on Instagram. It creates a unique opportunity for brands to step in and make amazing videos for a platform that has grown tenfold in less than seven years.

Imagine being a first mover on YouTube back in 2005. This could be a momentous time for a savvy marketer or business brand to produce video content on one of the fastest growing communities on the Internet.

What video format is best for Instagram

The best video format for Instagram is “MPEG-4” or more commonly known as MP4. For the tech people or editors, here are more specifics:

  • H.264 codec
  • AAC audio
  • 3500 kbps bitrate
  • Frame rate of 30 fps (frames per second)
  • Video can be a maximum of 60 seconds
  • Maximum video width is 1080 px (pixels) wide
  • Videos should be 920 pixels tall

There are 4 main dimensions for sharing videos on Instagram:

  • Square video min resolution is 600 x 600 (max is 1080 x 1080)
  • Portrait video min resolution is 600 x 750 (max is 1080 x 1350)
  • Landscape video min resolution is 600 x 315 (max is 1080 x 608)
  • Stories video min resolution is 600 x 1067 (max is 1080 x 1920)

Why use vertical videos on Instagram

As discussed in our video marketing guide for Facebook, vertical videos are the way to go. Traditional television are based on a  landscape dimension. However, in today’s digital world, most people hold their smartphones or tablets “upright” or vertical.

vertical video for Instagram sample
Source: Gary V Video from LinkedIn

According to Quartz, 80 percent of internet access by 2019 will be mobile based. Since Instagram is primarily a mobile (smartphone) app, it’s important to pay attention to the mobile user experience.

Vertical videos take up more real estate on a user’s smartphone. Thus, it enhances the video experience for the user. And the friendlier the experience, the higher likelihood the viewer will stay to watch the video and share with their friends and family.

Finally, there is growing statistics to support the use of vertical videos on social media. Here are some we mentioned in our best content for Facebook write-up:

  • 94 percent of people use their smartphones vertically
  • About 7 billion video clips are watched vertically on Snapchat (an Instagram competitor)
  • Marketers will like the fact cost per click were 26 percent less expensive with vertical video. Cost per view was 68 percent less expensive.
  • Millennials rarely watch traditional TV (landscape based) and prefer watching on mobile devices, like a smartphone or tablet.

Vertical videos work well on Facebook. Since Instagram is part of the same company, it’s not a surprise that vertical videos work well with Instagram.

What Videos to Produce for Instagram

Instagram Stories

Unless you’re new to Instagram or have been living in an isolated island in the Pacific for the past ten years, then you’ve likely heard of Instagram.

Launched in August 2016, Instagram Stories is an Instagram features capture and post related images and video in a slideshow format. IG Stories can be edited, using the familiar features found in the Instagram app.

Instagram Stories was meant to compete with the popular “My Story” feature in Snapchat. Like in both apps, the content is available for only 24 hours and disappears forever when the time limit is up. Like with Snapchat’s feature, Stories allows for drawings and emoticons to be edited onto the footage or photograph. The photo or video(s) can then be arranged in a way to tell a unique “story” about the Instagram user.

For the average user, Stories can be used to update family and friends about one’s life and world adventures. For companies, they use Stories to promote their products or perhaps showcase a limited time deal. 

The 24 hour feature creates a sort of exclusivity: if you don’t engage with the poster on a consistent basis you could be missing out on something cool or missing out on a great deal.

Unlike Snapchat, Instagram users can initiate live videos on the app, save their content and later use the entire video for their Stories.

For many, Stories seems like a gimmicky feature on Instagram. Why even use it?

Here are some incredible statistics (thanks to 99Firms):

  • Approximately 1.7 billion users use Stories daily.
  • 25 percent of Millenials and Gen Z-ers peruse Stories for interesting products to buy.
  • 15 to 25 percent of people swipe up on a link in branded Stories.
  • About 33% of the most viewed Stories are from businesses.
  • 59 percent of brands link Instagram Stories to a shopping landing page.
  • Instagram Stories represent 34 percent of all sponsored content found on Instagram.

Like with everything Instagram and Facebook, Stories has amazing engagement rates. More importantly for businesses, consumers use Stories to make purchasing decisions.

If you’re a new brand with a small following, one way to start using stories is create behind-the-scenes videos. As a restaurant, show how the product is made. As a real estate agency, show cool clips of properties.

Respond to comments from your Instagram posts with a Stories video. Instagram is a community, like all social media platforms. Show you pay attention to your followers by engaging with them.

Need social proof? Create Stories about people saying cool stuff about your products. Look for comments and highlight them in Stories videos. If they visit your store or your place of business, take pictures of them or make selfie videos with them with the product and lots of happy, smiley faces.

Create discounts or limited time offers. The best part about Stories is how it takes advantage of the exclusive mindset. People want “in” on the best deals and the best products. If you consistently provide unique deals and offers, users will more likely to pay attention to what you post and engage with your account. Again, this helps build your following and your audience on the Instagram platform.

Finally, as with all content on social media, post consistently. Instagram users don’t like to follow “dead” or inactive accounts. Be social. Post regular content. Engage!

Collaboration Videos with Influencers

One of the best ways to get a quick boost to your Instagram profile is to work with an influencer on Instagram. Influencers have a large following, often in the hundreds of thousands. More importantly, they have a high engagement rate.

It’s important to pay attention to engagement rate. There are Instagram users who puff up their user account by buying followers. Although this practice artificially makes them look important, it’s easy to separate the true influencers from the pretenders. The best way to do that is look at their engagement rates.

Here’s a quick way to do it:

Calculate the average number of likes and comments (comments can be tedious but it’s engagement) from the last 10 posts. These posts should not be older than a month. You want the most recent posts.

Finally, divide the average number of likes and comments with the total followers.

This will give you a percentage that estimates engagement rate. The average engagement rate for a normal user is between 5-10 percent. Anything above 10 percent is exceptional. Anything above 20 percent is certainly an Influencer.

An influencer with a 20 percent engagement rate means their users not only view their posts, but also engage with it (i.e like or comment). If you post a video on this user’s profile, you will have a higher chance of getting engagements and eventually sales from your video.

Reach out to influencers with high engagement rates. Offer to send free samples of your product or service and have them review it. Hopefully, it’s a positive review which will increase your chances of getting sales from videos posted on their Instagram feed.

Moreover, gaining the support of an influencer is instant social proof for your brand. This again will result in more engagements and eventually sales.

Working with the top Instagram Influencers can be expensive, but if they have ridiculous engagement rates (20 percent or more), it might be worth working with them.

Animated Text & Graphical Videos

Instagram users tend to be on the forefront of technology. They love techie stuff, and this is why many of them like to discover brands and products via Instagram.

One way to appeal to this tech culture is to create interesting animation videos. This can be done using voice narration in the background with interesting text and graphics.

This particular type of video can be as simple as a whiteboard video. But if you want to stand out, you will definitely need the help of a skilled video production specialist.

The budget for this type of video depends on the project and what you’re willing to spend for a quality product.

Selfie Videos

One of the best ways to come across as an authentic brand is to create selfie videos. It’s also one of the least expensive videos, when you already own a mobile device.

Moreover, these type of videos tend to be vertical videos, as you’ll likely be holding your camera upright and shooting videos of yourself.

These type of videos can be in the style of day-in-the-life video or a behind-the-scenes video of your place of business.

It also works very well for events and conferences. You can provide a behind-the-scenes view of a large event, like Comic Con or an industry conference at the Javits Center. Since these are often annual events, it works very well with the exclusive (24 hour limit) feature of Instagram Stories. Finally, by providing social proof of your presence at the top events, you showcase yourself as an expert in your industry.

People want to follow the leaders or the cool people who get into the top and exclusive events. Establish yourself as an Influencer in your industry by providing an inside look at all the top events in your industry.

Short Clips from Longer Videos

At 2Bridges, we help clients create a video strategy for all their social media platforms. One way to kill your engagement in social media is to just post the same video across all platforms.

YouTube works well with longer videos, but you can’t upload the same video to Instagram. If you have a two to four minute highlight video, it’s okay to put the longer version on YouTube and on your company, Facebook page.

However, it will make more sense to create several 15-second clips of the same video – sort of like teasers of the whole video.

Here’s an example of a short video (of me speaking about using video for sales) from a longer clip:

Here’s the original brand video (longer version):

Indeed, you can shoot and edit your own videos for all your social media platforms. However, there is a great advantage to have a professional video production team to shoot lots of b-roll from your company event. They can then make a master video for your LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube profiles. Then they can splice that same video for other social media platforms that cater to shorter video content, like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Video Marketing on Instagram for the win

With approximately a billion users, your business cannot ignore Instagram. Moreover, Instagram has been intertwined with Facebook. It’s very easy now to automatically post on Instagram and have the same post appear instantly on Facebook.

If your business or personal brand is active on Facebook, then you certainly need to have a presence on Instagram. 

Users engage and make buying decisions on Instagram. They use it to discover new brands and cool deals. By posting consistently on Instagram, you raise your chances of reaching a new audience.

In this “short guide,” you can start thinking about video strategy on Instagram. Use Instagram Stories. Post cool deals with Stories. Collaborate with influencers with high engagement rates. Create unique behind-the-scenes, selfie video of your place in business. Post consistently and build an online community that will generate organic leads and sales.

To stand out further from the crowd, contact us at 2Bridges for professional video marketing services. We offer the whole gamut when it comes to video production:

Whether it’s a personal branding video or an animated video, we can help you stand out on Instagram. Use video. Attract new audiences. Win market share with video marketing on Instagram.

(Pictures from Wiki Commons or Pexels) Protection Status