Video has been a big focus for marketers in recent years. But now, even the networks themselves are feeling the pressure to keep up with video-based social. Instagram said it themselves, it’s “no longer a photo-sharing app.” The company rebranded IGTV now simply as Instagram Video, consolidating all of the app’s video formats into a single feed (with the exception of Reels, which will remain its own snackable format), and prioritizing video content moving forward.
Instagram has already started to become a powerful channel for video storytelling. So if you’ve considered ramping up your video marketing strategy, think of what you can do on Instagram alone now.
This comprehensive article will give you a detailed breakdown of the reimagined Instagram Video feed, best video marketing practices and a little inspiration.
The new Instagram Video merges what was once IGTV’s long-form videos with in-feed videos. As for how long Instagram videos can be, video length was previously limited to 60 seconds, but in the rebrand all videos will have the option to run up to 60 minutes. Additionally, all videos live under one Video tab on users’ profiles and incorporate editing features like trimming, filters and location tagging.
The one exception to this is Instagram Reels, Instagram’s 15-60 second videos. Reels will remain in a short-form format and stay housed in their own tab, with their own editing features that compete with the likes of TikTok.
To also make it easier to understand how videos are performing, Instagram merged feed post insights and video insights into one combined metric for businesses and creators.
The change, Instagram says, will make it even easier to create and discover videos on the app.
Why Instagram video marketing is compelling
Fact: Videos on Instagram receive 49% more engagement than static photo posts.
Consumers today are binge-watchers. That’s exactly why brands prioritize video in their content strategies—racking up huge viewership in the process. But what separates Instagram video from that of competing social networks?
Consider the following as to why Instagram’s video platform is so brand friendly.
Instagram’s video formats are fair game for any brand
Instagram gives brands a ton of flexibility when it comes to formatting.
How so? The platform’s rebranded Video feed now works for everything from ads to bite-sized product tutorials to long-form content. Meanwhile, 15-second vertical videos are supported via Stories. Such videos require little in terms of production value and can be published in a matter of seconds. Leaving multiple ways for creators to tell stories and engage with their communities.
This is a nice added bonus for companies who already create video content for YouTube or Facebook. Repurposing your videos for the platform is a cinch and now there are plenty of opportunities to cross-post your videos on Instagram.
Instagram’s video platform encourages creativity
Creativity counts when it comes to your social content.
As noted in our examples below, brands are constantly experimenting with new video formats, editing features and styles to keep their video content fresh.
Time-lapse videos. Color explosions. Flashy filters. The list goes on. When it comes to creative content production, brands on Instagram are spoiled for choice in terms of what they can create.
Instagram video is accessible regardless of your budget
Despite popular belief, Instagram video doesn’t require a bloated budget or fancy editing equipment. Seriously, all you need is a smartphone.
Even brands with massive followings create compelling videos using simple shots and minimalist editing tricks. This approach also keeps content timely and relatable. Remember what we said a minute ago about getting creative?
5 ideas to create short-form Instagram videos
Now, let’s look at some real-world examples of Instagram video in action.
Below are five options that brands should consider integrating into their short-form video content strategies.
1. Show off your product or service in action
No surprises here! If you’re selling a physical product, producing video around what you’re selling is a solid starting point.
Time-lapse videos and product reels are as popular as ever for showing off your products from all angles, all without any complicated editing required, as Instagram Video offers native editing features for any on the spot needs.
2. Conduct a how-to or tutorial video
Educating your audience is a tried-and-tested tactic for brands looking to sell via video.
Brainstorm what you can teach your audience and how you can integrate your products into the process. For example, Pulp Riot uses Instagram Live to conduct how-tos featuring their haircare products…
…and then promotes the broadcasts in their feeds so followers can watch them later.
This is a shining example of how to get more mileage out of a Live video and effectively double-dip your content.
3. Give your followers sneak peeks
We’ll say it again: if you want to create video for Instagram, you don’t need to do anything complicated. Sneak peeks at product updates, events and other upcoming brand projects are low lift, personable and informative.
Just look at the popularity of video via Instagram Stories for reference.
From product launches to conferences and festivals, Stories are a low-hanging way to capture footage and encourage interaction with your followers via captions and stickers. The unpolished feel of Stories ultimately makes your content feel more off-the-cuff and authentic, definitely a welcome break from “professional” or commercial videos.
4. Conduct a Q&A session
Another strategy for using Stories is running a Q&A session with your followers.
Not only does doing so require no equipment and minimal editing, but also offers an opportunity to interact with your fans. You can either vet questions in real-time or source them in advance.
Q&As are awesome for hyping up events and product launches. You can likewise save them to your Stories Highlights so followers can check them out later.
Holding these sorts of digital events signals that you want to actually interact with your fans versus just talk “at” them.
5. Ask followers to create videos on your behalf
Much like any other type of user-generated content such as customer photos, don’t be shy about asking followers to create video content on your behalf.
For example, GoPro uses their #GoProLiveIt to encourage customers to produce and share video creations for their weekly Stories contest. You could do the exact same with in-feed video as well.
Rather than always show off your own products in action, give your customers the opportunity to do the same. This allows you to both expand the reach of your ads via customer content and create a sense of community among your followers.
5 ideas to create long-form Instagram videos
Though you may want to jump into Instagram Video’s long-form format immediately, put a proper plan in place before diving in. To make sure you get the most out of your strategy, it’s important to first get an idea of the type of content you should post. Creating a plan will give you some sense of direction on where to focus your time and energy.
Here are a few ideas that you could include in your Instagram Video strategy:
1. Create a video series
One of the most popular uses of the long-form format is for publishing a series of episodic videos on a specific topic or theme. This allows you to go more in-depth with your content strategy and maintain consistency with your posting schedule. It’s also a great way to keep your audience coming back for more.
For instance, Madewell’s Sofa Show series features artists hosting mini-performances from their homes and the Sunday Supper series features other influential personalities in the food industry sharing recipes.
2. Provide in-depth tutorials
Instagram Video makes that possible since it allows you to upload longer videos. You can easily share detailed videos showing your audience how to use your product.
Lightroom’s Instagram account uses long-form video to share #LrInsiderTips, a series of tutorial videos providing tips on how to utilize certain features using Lightroom. These tutorials are thorough enough that they allow users to build on their current skill set or provide a new and creative way to use their product.
3. Take your audience behind the scenes
Beyond a sneak peek, give your audience a full look at what goes on behind the scenes with longer videos. Show them what goes into making your products, where and how your employees work, bloopers and more. This is a great way to maintain transparency and build trust with your customers.
LEGO, for instance, uses longer videos to show their followers behind the scenes of the LEGO DUPLO Factory.
4. Stream an event
If you’re hosting an important event, like a seminar or a convention, Instagram Video is a great way to enable virtual attendance. Consider even streaming the event live to engage those who can’t attend it physically.
The Stella McCartney Instagram account used Instagram’s longer format to showcase highlights from its Summer 2020 fashion show.
5. Publish intriguing interviews
Interviews also make an excellent addition to your video strategy. Invite influential people relevant to your industry and have them share intriguing insights or answer pressing questions from your audience.
Elle USA, for instance, regularly features interviews with celebrities such as Camila Cabello and Billie Eilish as well as notable personalities such as Representative Lauren Underwood on their Instagram feed.
How to make sure your Instagram video marketing works
No matter what sort of video content you’re looking to create, it’s crucial that your efforts mesh with the big picture of your social strategy.
To wrap things up, let’s review some tips and tactics that can help.
Determine how video fits into your content calendar
Given the effort involved with producing video, you shouldn’t create it “just because.” Instead, think about the goals behind your video content.
For example, are you looking to drive more traffic to your store? Create brand awareness? Increase followers and views?
There is no “wrong” answer here. What matters is that the video you create has some sort of purpose behind it.
Meanwhile, consider where your Instagram video sits with the rest of your content calendar. This includes your visual content (think: static photos, user-generated content) on Instagram and the rest of your social profiles (think: YouTube, Facebook, TikTok).
This is where a publishing tool like Sprout Social comes in handy. Our platform allows you to keep all of your brand’s video assets in one place, making it easy to cross-post video when necessary. You also have a more comprehensive view of your Instagram content and whether or not it’s too photo-dominant.
Don’t confine yourself to mobile publishing
Many of the various Instagram video formats are mobile-friendly.
However, restricting yourself to mobile-only video means you’re losing out on opportunities to upload polished, professional productions.
If you’re looking to go beyond off-the-cuff videos, make sure to invest in desktop publishing with the help of tools like Sprout.
Keep an eye on your Instagram video analytics
We noted earlier that videos on Instagram are prime for engagement.
That said, videos aren’t guaranteed Likes or comments by default. It’s important to keep an eye on your Instagram analytics to assess the following as you roll out your campaigns:
- How does your video content perform against your photos?
- Which photos or videos are most popular on your profile?
- How long are people watching your videos? What does your average view count look like?
Features such as Instagram analytics via Sprout can break down all of the above to understand whether or not your videos are moving the needle.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
How will your Instagram video marketing strategy change now?
Instagram is already a powerful, visual-sharing space. Its video rebranding will undoubtedly be a big part of your overall video and Instagram marketing strategy.
If you’re eager for more ideas, make sure to check out our guides to social media video for some inspiration.