Instagram is a dynamic platform with new updates and innovations, making its way onto the platform every few months. It grows at a pace that might be difficult for many marketers to stay abreast of.
But the way you create content for Instagram and adapt to its changing formats is important for your brand to stay relevant to your audience – whether it is a product or service or your blog.
For brands and creators on Instagram, finding the perfect balance and creating content that is on-trend but also engaging is a challenge that is worth taking up and working around.
Our generation has grown up on social media through discovering brands, buying products, and availing new services all through the ‘Explore’ tab and sponsored ads besides the ones that we follow.
We are well-aware of the power of social media, especially of Instagram, because we know how it can build up or break down a brand or an individual, start revolutions, and demand change.
While several different other social media platforms had tried to upstage Instagram with specific targeted features, it has taken all of it in its stride and, in fact, adapted these features into its platform.
For example, Snapchat came with a proposition of photos that disappeared in 24 hours, and Instagram swiftly adapted the Story feature, which not only smoked out the former but increased Instagram’s popularity manifold.
TikTok, with its jump cuts and interesting video editing propositions, captured a unique section of the society, growing in popularity among Gen-Z and even millennials.
However, Instagram’s latest innovation Reels takes on TikTok, packaging a similar video creation and editing feature in-app without needing to install another separate app!
What Should Brands Focus on Instagram – Photos vs. Video?
When Instagram launched back in 2010, all it aspired to be was your digital photo album – a repository of your best memories curated on a feed with funny, personal captions.
Ten years later, you can do everything through Instagram – talk to your friends on a video call, build a career, check out cute cat videos, find your next dream job, or discover a new hobby or product.
Needless to say, brands are set to capitalize on this social media revolution that Instagram has brought about. And they are not contemplating anymore; they are getting down to action.
But are photos still cutting it on the platform? The easy answer would be yes and no. A cleverly done digital creative, a smart illustration, or a static post with a relatable quote works for brands.
But the real traffic is where the video content is. Your Instagram feed is constantly populated by brands talking about their USPs or advertising their products, and this can get monotonous quickly.
What sets some brands apart from the others is the way they present their content. According to 71% of marketers, video content performs better than any other form of content when it comes to conversion rates.
Moreover, 46% of people say that they are more likely to seek further information after viewing branded content on social media platforms. On Instagram, 25% of all ads are single videos, and the shorter the video, the higher the engagement.
How to Select Your Video Format?
Given that videos perform better on Instagram than static images, it is an easy choice to get more video content in your social media plan for Instagram. Several online tutorials can give you easy ideas on how to make a video with pictures and music.
But Instagram has a whole host of different video formats for the platform, each with its unique purpose and target audience. How do you go about making videos that would be perfect for each of these formats?
When you seek out information on Instagram marketing and the nitty-gritty that comes with it, you would realize that there are five formats of Instagram videos which are non-promoted such as in-feed Instagram video post, Instagram story, IGTV, Instagram Live and the latest addition of Reels.
Depending on what you are creating content for – brand or individual – you can pick a video format that works out the best for you. Here is our breakdown of every format, their specifications, and the relevance of usage.
1. Instagram in-feed video
These are the oldest and the most common video formats on the ‘gram. They are universal and can be used for purposes of informing people about products, services, initiatives, etc., that you are undertaking.
The time-limit for these videos is capped at 60 secs, and hence, you cannot post anything long format. If you do, you can cut it up into multiple bits and post it as a carousel. Some apps would help you with this edit.
The most common size for a feed video is 1:1 or 1080×1080 pixels. But you can also have horizontal videos which are 1.9:1 or 1080×608 pixels.
Vertical feed videos, though uncommon, are not completely unknown. They are 4:5 or 1080×1350 pixels in size.
2. Instagram Stories and Live
This format of videos is the best place to engage with your audience. With interesting and quirky filters and fun widgets, Instagram stories are one of your primary touchpoints with your followers.
They are up to 15 seconds in length and can be recorded on the spot or created separately and uploaded on your stories feed. Your followers can check them out on-the-go.
According to a report, there are 250 million daily active users of Instagram stories on the platform. Therefore, maximizing this platform should be one of your goals as a brand or a creator.
Instagram Story videos are ideally vertical and have a dimension of 1920×1080 pixels or an aspect ratio of 16:9. These dimensions also work for Instagram Live, which can only be recorded in real-time.
Lives are great for interacting with your followers on-the-go and also gives them a sense of community and belonging. After you finish a Live, you can save and post it on your feed as an IGTV video!
The antidote to Instagram feed videos, which only allow you to post something that is 60 secs long, is IGTV videos. These are long-format (~10 minutes) and support aspect ratios that are the same as Stories, which is 16:9 or 1920×1080.
You can use these videos to upload videos that are longer and have more material. Make sure that the intro to these videos is eye-catching and interesting so that people click on the icon on the bottom left corner to watch the full video.
4. Instagram Reels
These are the latest fad, and much like its predecessor TikTok, Instagram Reels are short-format videos (~15 secs). They stay both on your feed and on Instagram’s Explore tab.
They are new and not yet launched across the world but have quickly caught on in India following the ban of TikTok. They are fun and short, and unlike Stories, they stay on in your profile!
They are also vertical and support an aspect ratio of 16:9.
Now that you have a broader understanding of what Instagram marketing packages would entail, you can make smarter decisions while using the app on a day to day basis. Instagram is ever-evolving, and if you have to stay with the times, it is essential that you explore the different video formats and stick to their size and quality specifications to make the most of it for your brand!