With around 800 million monthly active users (500 million daily!), Instagram is a clear choice for entrepreneurs and marketers looking to get exposure and share their content. It’s particularly popular with Millennials and Gen Z, who have been gravitating away from Facebook (even though Facebook owns Instagram) for some time.
While the platform was obviously originally known for its nostalgic filters and for pioneering the “square aesthetic,” today it’s so much more than filtered photos. Instagram has seen the most drastic changes in the last year and a half, where it has made a huge push into video. This post will dive deeper into Instagram video marketing and explore and explain new(ish) features and how you can best use them to promote your video content.
1. Instagram Stories
A copycat of Snapchat, this feature launched in the summer of 2016 allows you to upload short video clips of up to 15 seconds each. You can string stories together to create a narrative. Each story disappears after 24 hours.
2. Instagram Video Posts
Regular video posts inside an Instagram feed, the length limit increased last year from 15 seconds to 60.
3. Video Ads
A paid option to promote photo or video content inside the regular Instagram Feed.
4. Story Ads
A paid option to promote photo or video content in the vertical format inside of Instagram Stories.
5. Live Video
You can also now live stream video content (events, interviews, Q&A, etc.). Once a live video has ended, it won’t be seen in the stories stream unless you enable the “Replay” function. With longer video limits, Instagram Stories, secondary video apps, and promoted video ads, Instagram is the place to be for video marketers.
Instagram is a very visual platform that works best for “brand building” content. Beautiful, engaging, and easily digestible video content works best as part of your feed. Videos inside the feed auto play on silent, and there is a 60 second limit. Instagram is a great place to share “teasers” for longer pieces of video content. The goal is to entice users to continue on to watch the full version on your website or other platforms where it’s uploaded.
To get your videos discovered by people outside of your audience, you’ll need to leverage and experiment with popular hashtags that describe your content. You can also give sponsored posts a try, which we’ll look at in more detail further along in this post. It’s important to note that Instagram doesn’t allow for clickable links on individual posts, only one featured link in your profile bio. You can direct people to your full video or landing page with a “link in bio” message or a shortened link that’s easy to type and remember.
When Instagram released their Snapchat-clone feature Instagram Stories, it changed the game and put them back on equal footing with Snap. Stories allows users and brands to share 15 second video clips and images that disappear within 24 hours. When these temporary videos or photos are strung together, they form a story, hence the name.
Unlike your Instagram feed where aesthetics and curation are a key consideration, Instagram Stories are typically used for more fun, spontaneous content. Think: behind the scenes, office tours, exclusive promo codes, humorous/bizarre day in the life footage and snippets.
If you have some room in your social media budget, consider advertising on Instagram in addition to posting on your feed and stories. Instagram video ads offer the same visually immersive quality as photo ads on Instagram — with the power of sight, sound and motion to help you better tell your brand story. You can share videos up to 60 seconds long and in landscape or square format.
Unlike regular posts in your feed which don’t support clickable links, sponsored posts provide the option to direct people to important sections of your website or to an app installation. Instagram ads are created using the same tools you use to create Facebook ads. You can create ads for Instagram using ad creation, Power Editor or the Facebook Ads API.
Instagram is making a big push into video. With longer video limits, Instagram Stories, secondary video apps, and promoted video ads, Instagram marketing is becoming more and more accessible.