A Beginners Guide to Instagram Video Marketing

Instagram Video Marketing

Last updated on November 11, 2020

Instagram continues to be one of the hippest, and fastest growing social media platforms.

People love the visual nature of Instagram and marketers love having access to the Facebook advertising tools on it.

Instagram has over 800 million active monthly users and experts expect it to reach 1 billion within the next year. Over 60% of its users login daily, giving it 500 million active daily users.

80% of all users follow at least one business or brand on Instagram.

Instagram video ads make up over 25% of all advertising on the platform. The amount of time users spends watching videos has increased 80% year-over-year.

The platform continues to innovate new ways for users to share videos, including the introduction of Instagram Stories. 

The popularity of the platform prompted this beginners guide to Instagram video marketing.

beginners guide to Instagram video

Video Options and Requirements

Instagram is a mobile first platform. You will need to post videos from the Instagram mobile app (will talk about IGTV later on). The desktop version of Instagram has extremely limited functionality.

You have three basic options for video on Instagram:

  1. Create a video ad
  2. Use a video in a post
  3. Post a video on Instagram Stories

You can record a video from the Instagram app or you can upload a pre-recorded video from your mobile device.

Video ads must be 60 seconds or shorter. Engagement on video ads drops off dramatically after 30 seconds.

If you are sharing live video you can share up to an hour of video at a time. If you are uploading a video to your profile the video has to be 60 seconds or shorter.

Videos you post to Instagram Stories can only be 15 seconds long.

Just like Twitter, by default, all videos are muted.


Key Instagram Video Marketing Strategies

Video marketing on Instagram is about making a fast impression. You don’t have time to convey a lot of information. In order to be effective your videos have to look amazing.

The most effective videos on Instagram tend to be entertaining instead of informative.

Instagram makes it hard to stand out organically. 80% of all Instagram posts are never seen by anyone.

If you are going to be posting videos to your profile, you need to first invest in getting a strong following that interacts with your posts.

Most brands find that paid video ads get the best results. You have more control over who is seeing your video and you show up in more feeds.

Like Facebook, Instagram is largely pay-to-play.

While some brands have had great results with Instagram Stories, most businesses are not getting as strong of a return on investment on these short videos.

Part of the reason is that 15 seconds isn’t enough time to get much of a message across.

Another issue is that Instagram Stories was meant to mimic Snapchat, and the videos disappear after 24 hours.

The best practice for Instagram video are to shoot videos with vibrant colors and to include unusual backdrops or props to catch the attention of viewers scrolling by.

The videos should have text subtitles because most users will not unmute videos. Make sure the video has a clear call to action that users can accomplish while on the app.

Putting Together an Instagram Video Marketing Campaign

The basic rules for creating an effective Instagram video marketing campaign are the same as the ones for Twitter, but the execution is a little different:

  1. Goal
  2. Best Practices
  3. Audience
  4. Script
  5. Shoot More
  6. Analyze and Iterate

Your goal for the video will determine what kind of video you shoot. Instagram is very limited on what actions you can have users take.

You cannot include a clickable link in your post or ad that sends users off of Facebook.

You can have them buy from you directly through the app if you have set that up beforehand or you can have one clickable link in your profile.

You have somewhere between 15 seconds and 60 seconds to get your message across.

Given people’s attention spans, you have to get them to commit to you in the first 3 sends of the video.

Make the first part of video interesting. You need to trigger a core emotion such as fear, happiness, greed, excitement, or curiosity in that first 3 seconds.

Because you have access to the Facebook targeting tools on Instagram, it is easier for you to drill down to your core audience with paid ads.

Paid ads generally have a higher rate of return over the short-term than any other Instagram video marketing options.

Your script has to be tight though because you have such a short window.. You have no room for wasted words.

Take the time to make sure you know what every second of the video is going to be like before you shoot.

Even though you only have 60 seconds, you should still make the most of every video shoot and take more footage than you need for a single video.

You can later share stills or GIFs from the video shoot on Instagram posts, Instagram Stories, or other platforms.

The difference between a failed video marketer and a successful marketer is in the data.

Successful video marketing always comes down to analyzing what went right and what went wrong, and then repeating what went right and trying something new when things go wrong.

An ad that did not yield the desired results is really an ad that showed you what didn’t work and there fore the information gathered should never be viewed as useless or a waste of money.

Examples of Great Instagram Video Marketing

Instagram is a great research tool.

Make sure you are following your competitors and brands that you admire. See how they are using video.

Imitate what resonates with you and breakdown what bothers you.

instagram Social network

Another way to find great examples of Instagram video marketing is on the HubSpot blog.

There you can see how brands as varied as Oreo and Buzzfeed have succeeded with video.

Bloom & Wild Shows You Don’t Need a Big Budget to Succeed with Instagram Video Ads

While looking at the Instagram videos of major brands is fun and educational, it can also be dispiriting.

Many businesses don’t have access to that kind of budget.

But, the brand Bloom & Wild shows that you can succeed with video marketing on Instagram without breaking the bank.

The brand took their existing email list and made a lookalike audience with the Facebook targeting tools.

They discovered that video ads on Instagram got the best response, so they focused on their efforts on that format.

They saw a 62% increase in bouquet orders and a large increase in first time customers as a result of their ads. The ads themselves were low budget ads.

One of the best performing ones was a simple video of someone putting one of the Bloom & Wild bouquets in a glass vase.

Bloom & Wild made up for a lack of marketing budget by zeroing in on their core audience and carefully analyzing the results of their campaigns and iterating.

To round off this post, we will talk a little about a new development, IGTV.

IGTV – A New Development for Video Marketers

Instagram TV (IGTV) is a new app for watching long-form, vertical videos.

IGTV is:

Mobile first: IGTV is built for how you actually use your phone: vertical and full screen.

Simple and intuitive: It starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search or browse to get started.

Curated: IGTV is focused on the creators you already follow on Instagram.


IGTV is a video-only platform, and you can’t record video directly within the IGTV app. You can only upload videos to your channel.

Videos need to be in vertical or portrait mode. The best ratio is 9:16, but a ratio as close to square as 4:5 is also supported. In anything other than a 9:16 ratio, the video won’t fill the screen.

Setting Up your IGTV Channel

You can either set up your channel via mobile or desktop.

For Mobile:

To set up your official IGTV channel on your phone, download the free IGTV app (iOS or Android). This is separate from Instagram App.

For Desktop:

Log into your Instagram account and sign in.

Below your bio, you’ll notice the IGTV tab and click Get Started.

IGTV Tips and Advice

To make the most of IGTV we suggest the following bits of advice:

  • Use hashtags. Like Instagram, IGTV is very responsive to them.
  • If you have 10k followers you are allowed to upload 60 minute videos. Less than that you can only upload 10 minute videos.
  • This is still social media so leave comments on videos you like as well as on your own videos. Encourage folk to comment on yours too helps.
  • Like creating a new YouTube channel, growth can be sluggish at first which leads many to quit. Patience is a virtue as is consistency if you want to see growth.
  • You can add links in your description and in your comment section and this includes affiliate links.

The only problem for marketers at the time of writing this post is that there are no ways to monetize IGTV. We are sure this will change so get in now and be ready for that opportunity when it arises.

Successful video marketing on Instagram comes down to knowing the platform, knowing your audience, connecting emotionally with your audience, and continuous testing and improving on your technique. Click To Tweet

The same principles that help you succeed on YouTube on a budget, also work for Instagram video marketing.

PS…If you enjoyed this post on Instagram video marketing, then we would appreciate a share on Facebook.

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