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Instagram Video – [The Essential Guide 2020]


March 05, 2024

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First launched in 2010, Instagram started as a humble image-sharing site for individuals to post their own pictures. But its popularity increased rapidly, and today Instagram is the sixth-most popular social media site in the world.


In the last decade, Instagram has updated the site many times, and now it also supports such features as videos, live streaming, and direct messages.


While the vast majority of Instagram users are individuals who use the site for entertainment, there are a significant number of brands that also have a presence on the site and effectively use it to promote themselves and their products.


In particular, videos are an extremely effective tool for engaging and informing an audience, and more brands than ever are starting to produce promotional video content.


Keep reading below to find out what exactly the big deal about Instagram is, as well as the different types of video formats that Instagram hosts and what each of them is most suited for.


Why Brands Should Care About Instagram?

For any modern brand looking to build a presence on social media, Instagram is an essential platform to be on.


With over 1 billion active monthly users that upload over 100 million photos and videos each day, the popularity of Instagram cannot be overstated. Over 4.2 billion likes on photos and videos are given on Instagram each day. These are genuinely astronomical levels of engagement.


Not only that, but Instagram is an excellent platform for targeting a younger demographic. 65% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 and 35.


A survey conducted among American teenagers showed that 73% of them thought Instagram was the best way for brands to inform them about upcoming products or services.


While Instagram appeals mostly to the youth demographic, a significant number of both Gen-Xers and baby boomers are also active on social media.


A sizable percentage of each age group said that they were compelled to make purchases because of social media influence.


With over 25 million business profiles already active on Instagram, many companies have already made the jump to social media and are reaping the benefits.


But it’s not just having a presence on social media that is beneficial to a brand. The type of content that is being posted is also important.


Specifically, having an emphasis on video content over photo content can lead to greater levels of engagement.


While photos still generate higher engagement levels than videos, the annual increase in engagement of video content was greater than the increase in photo content engagement.

Aside from generating more engagement, videos are more versatile as a medium and are better at conveying complex messages.


With this in mind, let’s look at some tips and tricks for creating a useful and attention-grabbing Instagram video. We will also look at the different types of Instagram videos available and the advantages of each.


How to Create Engaging Instagram Videos?

There are multiple types of videos that brands can create and share, each of which functions slightly differently and has a somewhat different intent


However, there are some general tips to keep in mind when creating any kind of video. These tips will help brands to create videos that are appealing and entertaining to their target demographic.


The First Three Seconds Count the Most

Instagram users typically scroll through their feeds pretty quickly, so targeted ads have to be extremely eye-catching within the first few seconds of seeing them.


To this end, brands should make sure that they incorporate movement and flashy visuals into their videos’ first few seconds.


Also, ensuring that viewers are aware that it is a video at all is important. If the video doesn’t have enough movement right away, some users might believe it to be just another photo post and keep on scrolling by.


Add Text and Additional Visuals

When a viewer is scrolling through their feed, Instagram auto-plays each video but also automatically mutes them. Because of this, it is important to include captions and other visual aids in video ads.


Some viewers simply prefer to watch ads or other videos without sound, so the video must be able to still deliver its intended message without any audio cues.


Also, adding captions and visual aids can make the video more accessible to viewers with hearing loss. Accessibility is an important aspect to consider when creating content for an audience.


Dynamic effects applied to in-video text can also further enhance the message that the video intends to deliver.


However, it is important not to include too many captions or visual aids in your video. Overloading your video with extra content can make the viewer feel overwhelmed and unsure of what the video’s message is. Finding a balance between these aspects of video production is key.


Instagram comes with its own limited video editor, but numerous editing apps are compatible with Instagram that brands can use to take their videos to the next level.


Make the Video Have a Point

If a brand creates and uploads video content that is just dumb fluff, viewers will pick up on this and be immediately turned off. Any video needs to be able to connect with its audience correctly.


To this end, a video should do one of two things; either identify a problem that the user might have and offer a practical solution to it or inform users on a topic they might be curious about.


Doing either of these things can help brands connect with their audiences on a closer emotional level. Once that happens, audiences will have a greater interest in the brand and its content.


Focus on the Video

When making a video, it should be on one subject alone. Brands can make their videos to persuade, inform, or purely entertain their viewers, but it is ill-advised to try and do everything at once in a single video.


As previously mentioned, viewers respond better to ads that connect with them as individuals. Focusing the video on a particular subject, particularly one that the audience is really interested in, helps make the video seem more personal and less like a sales pitch.


Don’t Make the Ad Look Like an Ad

Viewers are much less receptive to ad content that looks like ad content. In general, consumers tend to be receptive to ads that appear together with organic content and shun paid ads. This is why various ad-blocking programs exist; consumers usually find paid ads to be intrusive and annoying.


Creating ads that blend in with the rest of the user’s Instagram feed is better at capturing the consumer’s attention than creating ads that stand out.


Of course, in order to be effective, video ads still need to stand out in some way. But making the video look more like a personal project, and less like an actual advertisement goes a long way in capturing the target audience’s attention.


Choose the Right Aspect Ratio

Since regular Instagram videos are oriented vertically and don’t take up the whole screen, it is crucial to film a video correctly so that none of it is unintentionally cut off. Using a video editor can help brands create videos in the correct size.


Different types of Instagram videos are sized differently, however. For example, Instagram Stories take up the entire screen and are usually shot vertically, whereas IGTV videos take up the whole screen but can either be shot vertically or horizontally.


Consider the Thumbnail When Filming

Unlike Facebook or YouTube, one disadvantage of Instagram is that it does not allow the use of custom thumbnails for videos.


The thumbnail is one of the most important aspects of any video because it gives viewers a preview of the video’s subject matter and tone before they decide to watch it.


Since Instagram does not support custom thumbnails, video creators have to directly select a thumbnail from their own videos.


It means that video creators, especially those wanting to develop a consistent visual style, need to be very mindful when filming their content.


Deciding in advance what the thumbnail will be and filming the video around is an excellent way to have a thumbnail that accurately represents the video’s content.


Develop a Unique Visual Style

For a brand to really stand out, it needs to have its own clear identity. One way to promote such an identity is to have a unique and consistent visual flair that can be applied to all of a brand’s videos.


It can include the way each video is shot, the colors present in each video, or the music used. Whatever combination of artistic elements a brand uses, it is important that each ad’s look and feel remain consistent. Consistency leads to stronger brand identity.


Match the Content to the Right Type of Video

Instagram hosts many different options for uploading videos. The type of content being presented in the video is what dictates the video format that should be used.


Certain formats are better for more formal, professionally edited content, whereas some are better for more casual, unedited videos.


The type of format you upload in not only affects the aspect ratio of your video, but also the length. Some formats are more suited to short content, while others are better for uploading long-form videos.


The rest of this article will go into further detail about each type of video format available on Instagram. We will discuss what each format is best suited for as well as the technical limitations of each format.


Regular Instagram Videos

The “regular” Instagram video is the original video format that Instagram launched back in 2013. In those days, Instagram’s video capabilities were extremely limited.


The “regular” Instagram video is the original video format that Instagram launched back in 2013. In those days, Instagram’s video capabilities were extremely limited. Videos were restricted to a maximum of 15 seconds in length. You could use a simple built-in editor to trim your video content, and Instagram included 13 filters to use over videos. But aside from these features, the Instagram video had basically nothing.


Today, Instagram’s regular videos are a much more versatile way to create and upload videos. The maximum video length has been raised to 60 seconds, and users can now upload multiple videos or photos within the same individual post.


Users can either film and edit videos directly through the Instagram app or upload pre-made videos.


Because of its 60 second time length, the regular Instagram video format is most suitable for edited, professional ads.


Regular Instagram videos are an excellent way for brands to promote one or more of their products. Having 60 seconds to work with can also help brands produce videos containing a lot of information.


Aside from promoting individual products, Instagram videos can be used to promote the brand itself. Posting content that informs users about the brand without promoting any specific products is a great way to engage an audience.


Basically, regular Instagram videos are great for producing informative, topic-based content.


Technical Specs:


 â— Video format: MP4

 â— Length: Up to 60 seconds

 â— File size: Up to 4 gb

 â— Orientation: Square, portrait, and landscape

 â— Aspect ratio: Minimum of 1.91:1, maximum of 4:5


Stories Videos

The Stories feature was first added to Instagram in 2016. Unlike regular videos, Stories are limited to 15 seconds in length and are generally intended for more casual, spur-of-the-moment types of videos. Stories videos are automatically deleted 24 hours after they are first posted.


The Stories feature was first added to Instagram in 2016. Unlike regular videos, Stories are limited to 15 seconds in length and are generally intended for more casual, spur-of-the-moment types of videos. Stories videos are automatically deleted 24 hours after they are first posted. Like the regular videos, users can either film Stories directly through the app or upload a pre-existing video. If the user uploads a video to Stories that are longer than 15 seconds, Instagram automatically splits the video into multiple Stories.


Filming and uploading a Stories video through Instagram is intended to be easier than filming and uploading a regular video. There is no option to edit Stories beyond inserting captions or stickers.


Stories are still an excellent way for brands to create promotional material but with more of an emphasis on fun, lightheartedness, and spontaneity.


Also, unlike regular videos, Stories do not appear in the Instagram feed. Rather, they are displayed in a separate section that is always at the top of the feed. It means that Stories are always right up front when the user opens Instagram.


Technical Specs:


 â— Video format: MP4

 â— Length: Up to 15 seconds

 â— File size: Up to 4 gb

 â— Orientation: Square, portrait, and landscape

 â— Aspect ratio: Minimum of 1.91:1, maximum of 9:16 (for Stories, Instagram recommends using either a 4:5 or 9:16 aspect ratio)


Live Videos

As the name implies, Live videos are unedited videos that are streamed in real-time. Live videos can only be filmed from a mobile device like a cell phone or a tablet.


The advantage that Live videos have over other types of videos is that the audience has a much higher level of interaction with the broadcaster.


Viewers who are watching the broadcast in real-time can submit questions and comments to the broadcaster at any time.


For brands, Live videos can be particularly useful for teasing new products or hosting limited-time promotions and sales.


It can help generate positive attention for your brand, since viewers may feel more compelled to watch a Live video in return for an exclusive benefit or discount.


Like Stories, Live broadcasts only remain on Instagram for 24 hours after filming. However, the broadcaster can save the live video to their own device and re-upload it if they wish.


Technical Specs:


 â— Video format: MP4

 â— Length: Up to 60 minutes

 â— File size: Up to 4 gb

 â— Orientation: Portrait

 â— Aspect ratio: 9:16


IGTV Videos

IGTV was launched in 2018 and is intended to be a semi-standalone offshoot of Instagram. Combining elements from the other Instagram video formats, IGTV is intended for vertically oriented long-form videos.


IGTV was launched in 2018 and is intended to be a semi-standalone offshoot of Instagram. Combining elements from the other Instagram video formats, IGTV is intended for vertically oriented long-form videos.IGTV can be accessed from within the Instagram app, but it also has its own dedicated app available for download.


IGTV functions as an extension of the Stories format; the videos are intended to be casual, lighthearted, and more entertaining in nature, but the extended video length will allow brands to produce an even greater variety of content.


IGTV is essentially a competitor to YouTube in this regard. Content is brought to the viewer via “Channels,” which are user profiles ran by content creators.


Basically, IGTV is just another version of Instagram with a greater focus on video content and increased freedom for content creators.


Technical Specs:


 â— Video format: MP4

 â— Length: Up to 10 minutes for unverified Instagram accounts, up to 60 minutes for verified Instagram accounts

 â— File size: Up to 4 gb

 â— Orientation: Portrait or landscape

 â— Aspect ratio: 9:16 for portrait videos, 16:9 for landscape videos



As we’ve seen, Instagram is an incredible tool for any brand looking to promote themselves on social media.


And with the different video formats that Instagram offers, it is a versatile platform for delivering a variety of information in various ways.


It is a convenient and secure platform to use for anyone and should not be overlooked when it comes to the question of how to build brand awareness.


Any company that wants to make the jump to the modern era of advertising should make joining Instagram one of their top priorities.















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Article written by

Linda Martin

I'm Linda Martin. I lead the Vivipins team in the custom bags department. Together, we specialize in creating masterpieces that tell your brand or fashion uniqueness, and in the most personalized manner possible. As diverse as bag styles can be, so are we at Vivipins when it comes to giving you that one type of bag you desire so badly. Material, style, and quality do not limit us. We are the bag industry specialist delivering to each of our customers the exceptional bag thrill they are looking for.

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