Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has evolved from an online photo-sharing app into a platform that empowers its users to easily create, edit, and share their own videos in a variety of forms.
These videos, whether shared as Instagram Stories or posts and Reels in your feed, add a new dimension to Instagram that static photos can’t achieve. Instagram videos don’t have to be expensive, complicated productions either.
In fact, videos shot on a budget can often appear more authentic (and be more effective) than high production videos. You can shoot compelling videos for your brand’s Instagram page on just a smartphone, with the option to use Instagram’s video editor, a computer, or a variety of useful mobile apps.
If you’re not already using Instagram to reach your audience or need help with a strategy, head over to this beginner’s guide to creating a social media marketing strategy to get started. If you’re already on Instagram, check this guide on how to get followers on Instagram.
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Why Instagram video matters
Instagram video is an important content format to incorporate into your marketing mix. More and more users are posting and watching videos on Instagram. More than 80% of users post video content. Reels alone have seen a 57.4% growth in usage in 2023 compared to 2022. If you post more Instagram videos, you’ll likely become more visible on the platform as well.
Videos are the most engaging content type on the network. One study found videos on Instagram earn an average of more than 24 comments per post—compared to just under 15 comments per each image post. Videos also get an average of nearly 1,098 likes. And according to Instagram, 91% of active users watch videos on the platform every week. It also says 58% of users are more interested in a brand or product after they’ve seen it in a Stories post.
Plus, shopping is becoming more commonplace on Instagram. Nearly 1 in 8 users have used Instagram shopping. Instagram Shops have shortened the purchase journey, and social commerce is also on the rise. This means it’s important to be visible on the platform and use it as a sales-driving tool.
3 types of Instagram videos for promoting your store
There are three main types of Instagram video formats: Live, Reels, and Stories.
1. Live videos on Instagram
If you have an impromptu video idea that doesn’t require editing, or you have an idea best executed in real time, you can use the Instagram Live video feature. According to data from HubSpot, Instagram Live videos drive the highest ROI.
Instagram Live is an approachable, authentic way to build hype and share big news with your followers—like the launch of a new product.
Want to thank your audience for reaching a milestone or react to something going on in the industry that requires speed? Live videos ensure you don’t miss out on sharing current happenings by taking the time to shoot, edit, and upload a polished video.
You can film directly in the app and notify your followers of your livestream by going to your story in the top left corner of the app and clicking the Record button.
Here are some tips and ideas for live Instagram videos:
- Capture live events like pop-up shops and show your followers what you’re up to right this second.
- Consider hosting workshops or live tutorials on how people can use your products in their own lives.
- Use Instagram Live to collaborate with influencers, having them take over your brand’s live feed for a set period of time.
- If you want the video you created to extend beyond the live broadcast, you can share the video to Instagram Stories afterward, so anyone who missed it can still enjoy it. You can also retrieve it from your Live Archive.
- Make your live video more of a conversation with your followers by turning commenting on.
Learn more: Check this guide on how to get verified on Instagram, as a verified account represents authenticity and builds trust.
2. Reels on your Instagram feed
All video feed posts are automatically formatted as Reels. These are actually the most engaging post type, earning an average engagement rate of 1.23%. They also lead to the most “saves.” Reels are more likely to go viral than other Instagram post types.
Reels are a great way to expand your reach and get in front of new audiences, as Instagram features these videos in the Reels tab, in users’ main feeds, and in the Explore tab.
Organic and “clean” clothing brand MATE the Label used Reels to show off its clothes in action, tagging the featured model and content creator in the example below.
Here are some tips and ideas for your Instagram Reels:
- Add sound effects, music, and stickers to your Instagram Reels so they stand out and represent your brand.
- Tag any featured products to make it easier for your audience to convert.
- Turn Reels videos into ads to boost visibility even further and maximize your content investment.
- Collaborate with influencers and customers to create Reels, shared to your own feed and to theirs.
Here are the specs for Instagram videos and Reels in your feed:
- File size: 4 GB max
- File type: MP4 or MOV recommended
- Max length: 90 seconds
- Orientation: square or landscape
- Aspect ratio: 1:91:1
3. Videos on Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are another powerful way to promote your brand. Unlike a regular Instagram post, Instagram Stories don’t post to your brand’s feed. Stories disappear after 24 hours unless you save them to your page’s highlights under your Instagram bio. You can access them in your archive if you want to use them later.
You can post a video you’ve previously shot to your Stories, or you can create a new Instagram video from the Stories tool in the app.
Your Stories can be simple in execution, like this example from Ziah:
Here are some tips and ideas for your Instagram Stories videos:
- Because individual Instagram Stories videos are under 15 seconds in length, the app will automatically break up longer videos into 15-second segments when you share them. To prevent an awkward cut at an important part of your video, cut segments that are 15 seconds or less beforehand.
- Add Instagram stickers, text, and filters before you share with your followers.
- Don’t worry about making your Stories videos perfect. They only live for 24 hours, so they won’t take up a permanent spot on your feed.
The specifications for story videos are as follows:
- Max length per segment: 15 seconds
- Aspect ratio: 9:16 at 1080 x 1920 pixels is the recommended resolution, however, you can resize your videos before posting them
How to create an Instagram video
You can film your video directly in the Instagram app, a different camera app, or using an actual camera, but the final video—whether edited or raw—should be under a minute in length.
Once you’re happy with your video, you can upload it the same way you upload a photo to your feed:
- Click the + sign in the app.
- Select either STORY or REEL from the sliding menu at the bottom of the screen.
- Choose the video from the appropriate folder on your device.
- Review the video and test filters, turn the audio on or off, trim the length of the clip, add music, tag other users, and select a frame that will act as the cover image for the post.
Lastly, you’ll be able to add a caption and do location tagging before you post. At this final step, you’re also able to share the video to your other linked social channels. If you’ve ever posted a photo to your Instagram feed, this final stage is the same as it is for photos.
Creating live videos for Instagram
Broadcasting live from Instagram is relatively straightforward. First, it’s important to ensure you have a strong and reliable network connection.
- Click the + sign in the app.
- Select LIVE from the sliding menu on the bottom.
- Add a title and tag any relevant brand partners.
- Do a test broadcast by limiting your audience.
- Hit the big circular button in the middle when you’re ready to go live.
Because Instagram Live is shot in real time, you won’t be able to edit it or add captions at this point. However, you can create a “room” by inviting others to join your Instagram Live and broadcast alongside you, check out who has tuned in, read and share viewer questions for an interactive experience, and add filters and control camera and audio settings. Audience members can also request to join during your Live—it’s up to you whether you’d like to add them. You can also make creative adjustments later on before resharing it to your profile.
Instagram video best practices
Now let’s jump into some best practices for using Instagram videos to promote your brand and products.
Be authentic instead of overly produced and promotional
Businesses often share two main styles of videos on Instagram:
- Polished high-quality videos for advertising and brand awareness
- Amateur videos that give viewers a peek behind the curtain so they can get to know the people that use the products or make up the brand.
You’ll be happy to know most viewers have come to expect the second format—quick and easy videos you make yourself. Whether the footage is shot at your office, on location at your latest pop-up shop, or at an event that your brand is attending, lightly edited videos filmed on your mobile device are the perfect way to let your audience know your brand is authentic and approachable.
You can see how plant-based supplement brand Ora Organic takes this approach with the Instagram video below. No over-the-top production, just a “homemade” video with a simple text overlay.
Post Instagram videos regularly
Consistency is key when it comes to Instagram videos. Regularly posting helps you not only refine your creative process, it also keeps your brand top of mind. Mix up the types of Instagram videos you share, as well as what you feature in each video. Some videos may be more product-focused, while others may be aimed more at sharing your brand story and building authentic audience connections.
If you’re light on content, try sourcing videos from your customers. See what kinds of posts and Stories they’ve tagged your brand in. Whether it’s customer reviews or their own video content where they’ve just tagged your product because it’s visible, your audience can be a huge source of user-generated video content. Just be sure to give proper credit to the creator anytime you’re sharing user-generated content. It’s also a good move to ask for permission first.
Tell a compelling brand story
Instagram videos are an excellent medium for sharing your brand story. Highlighting your story is especially effective today, as consumers increasingly seek to build emotional connections with brands that share their values.
Fashion brand Kūla, for example, has humble but ethically motivated origins. Founder and designer Stephanie Fuentes-Aponte set out to create a sustainable handmade fashion brand with clothes that suit her personal style.
It has shared its journey on Instagram from the beginning, offering behind-the-scenes glimpses, inspiration behind the brand, information about the fabrics, and milestones the budding entrepreneur has hit along the way. And when it participated in a local fashion show, Kūla had no shortage of videos to share to its feed and Stories to post to bring the experience to its followers.
Promote your brand and products
Instagram videos can help you make sales directly. With half of Instagram’s users seeking to discover new brands and products on the platform, tagging your products through Shopping on Instagram can help you turn video views into sales.
With Instagram’s in-app shopping feature, users can complete a purchase without actually leaving Instagram, so it’s important you’re set up to make sales. You can also drive viewers back to your website by guiding them to a link in bio on your business’s Instagram page.
And when you use the Instagram–Shopify integration, the whole process is seamless. You can easily tag products in your Instagram videos, match your website’s aesthetic, and offer one-tap checkout—all while inventory syncs across your various commerce channels.
If you’re already making sales through Instagram, consider buying video ads to amplify your results. You can buy Instagram ads as either Stories or posts that appear in users’ feeds. The easiest way to buy ads is to use content you’ve already shared organically and target a new audience by demographic, location, interest, or behavior.
Instagram video tools
While Instagram has lots of built-in tools to help you incorporate video into your content mix, there are also third-party tools to help you shoot, edit, and share to make the most of your investment.
- Adobe Premiere Rush. This mobile and desktop video editing software allows you to create professional-quality videos with powerful editing tools, transitions, and effects. It seamlessly integrates with Instagram and has lots of capabilities. It costs $9.99/month.
- Animoto. Animoto is a free web-based video creation tool that simplifies the process of turning photos and video clips into engaging Instagram videos. You can also pay to upgrade for more features.
- Canva. Canva is a popular design platform that also offers video editing capabilities. It provides templates, animations, and tools to create Instagram videos. There are free and paid versions available.
- InShot. InShot is a user-friendly mobile video editor that offers basic editing tools, filters, music, and effects. It’s perfect for making quick video edits and formatting videos for Instagram.
Ready to incorporate video into your Instagram marketing?
It’s never too late to start experimenting with your Instagram video marketing strategy. You don’t need fancy camera equipment or a big budget to hire a production crew. Some of the best and most effective brand Instagram videos were shot with a smartphone by a person with no video background. And when you use the Shopify–Instagram integration, you can create a seamless checkout experience that builds customer relationships and drives sales.