Instagram Video: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Engaging Content (1/2)

Last Updated on December 11th, 2019 at 11:12 am

Instagram story

Instagram video is an absolute must-have in your brand’s social media strategy. However, it is a lot simpler said than done.

In 2019, 87% of businesses were utilizing video as a marketing tool, and 90% of them said that they felt competition and noise are on the rise.

Meanwhile, eMarketer just concluded that in 2020, Fb and Instagram together will account for about two-thirds of social video ad spend. That is more than YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter combined.

What does that mean? That nearly everyone is posting videos—whether organic or paid—on Instagram, and the pressure is on to make an incredible video that rises above the noise.

Not to mention that, with so many different types of video on Instagram, how do you know which one to concentrate on?

We will look at the different types of video—Stories, video posts, Instagram Live, and IGTV.

Let’s get started.

Kinds of Instagram videos

Not all Instagram video is born equal. Depending on your needs—and your budget, frankly—your brand may be compelled to walk before you run, and concentrate on one kind over another. Stories, feed posts, IGTV and live video all have different looks, feels and uses.

Let’s check out the benefits of each.

Instagram Stories

When you are looking for an entry point to posting a video on Instagram, beginning with Stories is a good call.

This format is short (15 seconds or less, although Instagram will split longer movies into sequential clips automatically) and as far as aesthetics go, audiences are not miffed by DIY, born-mobile quality. Instagram Stories tend to be friendly, casual and low-pressure.

Additionally, they disappear after 24 hours (unless you pin them as a highlight on your profile with a great cover), which makes them appealing when you are experimenting with your audience’s favorite content.

That mentioned, if you are using them right, Stories might well act as a person’s first or second take a look at your brand’s Instagram presence. So, maintaining a consistent tone and style is necessary. You want your Stories to be subtly, or not-so-subtly, branded in a method that your followers will instantly recognize them as yours.

So, what kind of video should you publish on your Instagram Stories? Listed below are some examples to get you began:

  • An evergreen introduction to your brand (save this to your highlights to catch new eyes)
  • Quick, off-the-cuff product demos
  • Reposted user-generated content from followers (and by followers we mean your mom, or Khloe Kardashian, or whoever is posting about you)
Instagram Story where Khloe Kardashian is spotted wearing a jumpsuit by Michi
Supply: @michi_ny

Instagram feed video

Next up is feed video—a.k.a. a regular video post on Instagram. These might be wherever between Three and 60 seconds lengthy, making them the second-shortest kind of Instagram video.

And whereas it’s positively doable to hit report and begin shooting from your phone, audiences may expect a bit more polish from Instagram video posts these days. After all, posts live on your profile grid in perpetuity, and they are one of your greatest tickets to getting love from the Instagram algorithm. (And just think about what occurs in case your video makes it to the Instagram Explore tab.)

As you add potential video posts to your content calendar, think about your audience’s needs. What type of snackable, on-brand videos will get them to stop thumbing the eternal scroll and pay attention?

Listed below are some go-to ideas for Instagram video posts:

  • Quick how-tos and tutorials (more in-depth than a Story how-to, however, less detailed than an IGTV seminar)
  • Behind-the-scenes looks around your brand’s natural habitat
  • Stop-motion or time-lapse videos
  • Seasonal topics (this could range from fluffy, however, relatable content like the start of spring, to the more explicitly salesy Black Friday)

For example, Tesla’s social media group made a Halloween video that’s topical, creepy, and also occurs to showcase a cool product function.

Screenshot of Tesla Halloween video
Source: @teslamotors

Instagram live video

Every social platform has a live streaming option, and Instagram is no exception.

Why? People say they love it. (According to one research, 80% of you would rather be watching one right now than reading this post—and my feelings are only 80% hurt.) `

However, live streaming could be a little intimidating at first. You are talking on your feet, fielding questions, watching your viewer count, trying to earn these hearts and comments. It could take some getting used to.

And in the meantime, listed below are some ideas that can assist you to get began with Instagram live video:

  • Host a Q&A with an expert, celebrity, influencer, or other related voice
  • Livestream a one-off event for people who cannot attend: like an industry conference, a talk, or a performance
  • Launch your new product or service, and be sure that people who tune in to the live stream get an exclusive discount (or particular information, and so on.)

Of course, the video does not have to be ephemeral: you could post your live video to your Stories so it will live on for 24 hours, and then even post that Story to your highlights so it could live on indefinitely.

IGTV (Instagram TV)

Instagram’s long-form video format—previously vertical-only, however, now horizontal too—might well require the largest investment of effort and time of any type of Instagram video.

However, it also gives the depth and connection that only long-form video can: a Google advert experiment, for example, found that longer videos are better able to make the emotional connections essential to get people to change how they think.

However, the pressure is on. With a lot more room to discover your topic—up to 15 minutes or 60, depending (see our Instagram video specs below)—IGTV audiences may also expect a more polished video than they would for a Story or live video.

And now that Instagram permits you to post the first 60 seconds of your IGTV video to your feed, you really need to be sure that minute is compelling enough that your audience wants to keep watching.

Wondering what type of videos you need to publish to IGTV? Think about things such as:

  • A documentary that explores your brand’s story in detail
  • In-depth tutorials or how-tos (with IGTV you have the room to bake a six-tiered wedding cake, so save the cookies for Stories)
  • Video tours (i.e., your office, your desk, your closet, a space makeover,…)
  • A very serious and prestigious awards show

Instagram video specs

All fired up and ready to begin filming? Hold these horses and read these details on Instagram video formats and file specs, first.

Instagram Stories video specs

  • Maximum length: 15 seconds
  • File format: MP4
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (vertical)
  • Recommended resolution: 1080 x 1920px
  • Minimum resolution: 720px

Instagram feed video specs

  • Length: 3 to 60 seconds
  • File format: MP4
  • Aspect ratio: 1.91:1 all the way up to 4:5 (i.e., you are free to choose horizontal, vertical or square)

Instagram live video specs

Because Instagram live is filmed directly, in real-time, on your smartphone, you have only got some specs to worry about. (And no, you cannot add video afterward and say it was live.)

  • Length: Three seconds to 60 minutes
  • File format: MP4
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (vertical)

IGTV video specs

  • Length: minimum 1 minute; maximum 15 minutes if uploaded from mobile, or maximum 60 minutes if uploaded from the web, according to Instagram.
  • File format: MP4
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (vertical) or 16:9 (horizontal)*
  • Minimum frame rate: 30FPS
  • Minimum resolution: 720px
  • Cover picture size: 420x654px (or 1:1.55)
  • Maximum file size: 650 MB (for videos under 10 minutes) ; 3.6GB (for videos under 60 minutes)

*IGTV began off as vertical-only, however, in May 2019 Instagram branched out on aspect ratios and permitted creators to add horizontal video, too.

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