Instagram Video Tips
You felt that using video on Instagram would get more eyes on your content, so that you could increase engagement and fidelize more people to your brand.
Especially since you know that 20% of viewers respond to Stories with a Direct Message.
The next step is optimizing your video for the best Instagram experience.
And you are in the right place, because in this post we’re going to explain how to optimize your Instagram videos, bringing experts to the table.
But first, a refresher on Instagram videos for the newbies.
What Kind of Videos Can You Post on Instagram?
There are three types of videos you can post to Instagram: IGTV videos, Stories and Reels.
This video will be uploaded from your gallery and it must be between 1 and 15 minutes long.
You have the option to add your video to a series (that you previously created or a brand new one) and turn it into an episode, or leave it as a standalone video.
In addition, you can opt to have a Preview of your video in your IGTV feed.
While you’re still uploading the video, you can edit the Preview or change its cover. You can no longer do this after you’ve published the video.
Because IGTV videos are permanent and show up as posts in your feed and profile (under “IGTV”), you can make them evergreen by sharing tips, anecdote-based stories and creative videos that you can make into a series.
To record video Stories, first record a vertically oriented video (aspect ratio 9:16) on your smartphone — a short one, preferably under 5 minutes, that will be split into multiple 15-second parts — then tap the “+” on the top right corner of your Instagram profile and select “Story”.
You will be able to add text and video effects to the video before you publish it as a Story.
Because Stories only last 24 hours, you’ll want to make sure your video is timely and interesting (news, storytelling, tips, giveaways, and more).
Reels are a TikTok-like video format that lasts 15 seconds but doesn’t disappear after 24 hours like Stories, and Reels are posted to your Instagram feed like your every other post and IGTV video.
The handy thing about Reels is that, like Story videos, they can comprise multiple clips and you can apply effects, transitions, text and music. Reels are posted to your account as square-format video posts, like IGTV videos.
Once posted, you can no longer edit the video. Now, let’s see how you can optimize your videos for Instagram.
How to Optimize Video for Instagram: 4 Ways
There 4 ways to optimize your video for Instagram:
1. Video Format MP4
“The best Instagram video format is MP4,” says OA Design Services owner Oliver Andrews.
MP4 is a clean and accessible format, so it’s your best option for uploading to Instagram.
If your phone records video in other formats such as 3GP, you might need a video converter.
For Android, one such option is 3gp To Mp4 Converter by The AppGuru, available through Google’s Play Store.
2. 864 x 1080 Pixels (Stories) & Square Format (IGTV)
For stories, “the dimensions of the Instagram video should be 864 pixels (width) by 1080 pixels (height) with an aspect ratio of 4: 5,” says Oliver Andrews.
For IGTV videos and Reels, the video should have a square format, as Mia de Rauch, Video Strategist and Managing Director at Flipswitch Media, says:
“Our clients see better value when the video is formatted to the square shape, they are consistent with their messaging and they take the time to comment and talk to followers who have engaged with the post. They consider not only what is relevant and what their target audience likes, but how it will be seen – choosing a still frame that makes sense when the video is not running (as you would see when looking at their grid).”
3. High Video Quality
To increase video quality on Instagram, Oliver Andrews suggests to “Use a high-quality camera to create videos and you can use some applications to make changes to videos like filters and text layouts.”
Naturally, you could record your videos directly from your smartphone, but only if the smartphone has a high resolution camera. If the resolution is poor, it will affect the quality of the video and turn off viewers.
4. Smart Thumbnails
Oliver Andrews says to “Always choose thumbnail wisely” and that makes sense, because the thumbnail will give users the first impression about your video, and decide from there whether they’re going to watch it or not.
For IGTV videos, Instagram will automatically choose the first frame as your thumbnail, but you can either choose another frame or add one from your gallery (“Add from Gallery”).
Choosing the perfect thumbnail is a delicate matter, since you can’t change it once your video is uploaded and live. So pay it some extra care.
Creating an Instagram video is, above all, telling a story. Whether it’s news- or anecdote-based, it’s still a story that you’re telling viewers and getting them to watch it from the first to the last frame is your job as a content creator.
Ask yourself: why are you creating this video? Julin Jean, Founder of FOXFORCE, says:
You need to decide if you’re going to entertain, educate, or inspire. In order to get the best engagement, you also want to take people on a story-telling journey. Better engagement, better VSEO.
Julin recommends the following 7 steps, along with good storytelling that will surprise the viewer and lead to more engagement:
- Set-up, what are people watching?
- Ask or show a Question?
- Research, show them the journey you start to go on to get to the answer.
- Hypothesis, show them the point where you make the choice.
- Experiment, make the choice
- Observation, where did that choice lead you?
- In conclusion, what did you learn with that choice?
These elements will capture viewers’ attention because they appeal to their emotions.
- Fear/embarrassment expression
- High-quality or very raw natural
- A big facial expression (people love to see eyes and emotion)
- Costumes/set design
- Kids or babies