The Four Types of Videos to Use in your Instagram Marketing Strategy

Posting videos to Instagram is an essential part of any video marketing strategy. But before you start posting videos to Instagram, it's important to know what all your options are. Stories, Reels, Lives, and good old Instagram posts - these all have their right place and time. Read through this short guide to get the basics of Instagram video, and the best types types of videos and formats for each type!

Instagram is "no longer just a photo-sharing app." 

Those were the words of Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, as he outlined the priorities for Instagram in 2022

The new focus? Instagram videos.

This comes as no surprise, as Instagram video posts receive twice the engagement rate compared to other posts.

Instagram video marketing is no longer a nice-to-have. It's now a marketing priority—for B2C and B2B. 

If you are reading this article, you probably want to get up to speed on how to use Instagram video. If you already know how to use it - stop reading.

In this article, we’ll cover all the types of video you can post on Instagram and how to make the most of them:

  • Stories
  • Instagram Videos
  • Reels
  • Live Videos 

Types of Instagram Videos

Instead of just creating an Instagram video post and hoping for the best, it's crucial to understand the different types of videos you can post on Instagram.

Knowing the different Instagram video formats and the best types of content for each can take your Insta game from ‘ordinary’ to ‘extraordinary’. You'll increase engagement, shares, etc. while making the best use of your time and budget.

Instagram Stories

Aspect ratio of instagram stories and what they are best for

What Are Instagram Stories?

The Instagram story enables Instagram users to share videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours. A colorful ring pops up around your profile picture when you post a story, letting your followers know that by tapping on your profile photo, they can view what you’ve just posted. Once you post a story, your profile picture, with the colorful ring around it, will appear at the top of your follower’s home screen. 

This fun feature has gained a lot of popularity, and it's no surprise that 55% of marketers plan to increase their investment in Instagram video stories in 2022. 

Tech Specs & How-To 

Videos for Instagram stories are 15 seconds long and disappear after 24 hours. While Instagram stories can be saved to the Highlights section and remain on the Instagram profile, they are known for being temporary. 

Their resolution should be at least, 1080 × 1080 pixels. While ratios of 4:5 to 16:9 and 9:16 are supported, it is recommended to go full-screen with vertical videos that have a 9:16 ratio. 

Here are some of the the mark-ups and creative tools you can add:

  • Music
  • Filters
  • Stickers (location sticker, shopping sticker, countdown sticker etc.) 
  • GIFs
  • Polls
  • Quizzes

Stories can be recorded by swiping right from the home screen, but can also be uploaded from the photo library. 

When to Use Instagram Video Stories

Instagram stories are a great place for brands to experiment with different types of content. 

The short half-life of an Instagram video story lets you be more creative and crude. Users expect stories to be more raw than the posts on a brand's perfectly curated feed. 

Instead of strictly sticking to your brand guidelines, you can try posting a variety of types of stories. This lowers the bar for quality and lets you put out even more videos on Instagram. 

This ups the odds that one of your stories resonates with your followers and gets lots of engagement. You can then save it to your account's highlights, and build off it to develop higher quality in-feed Instagram video posts.

The authenticity of stories also humanizes your brand.

Instagram in-feed video posts

Aspect ratio of an instagram post and what they are best for

What are Instagram Video posts?

To helps users create and discover videos as simply as possible, Instagram introduced Instagram video in 2021. By merging IGTV videos and Instagram feed videos into one format, Instagram created a single place for longer-form content.

These are the features that were introduced to Instagram video as part of this change:

  • New video tab on profile
  • Trimming
  • People and location tagging 
  • Ability to upload captions
  • 60 second feed previews

Tech Specs & How-To

An Instagram feed video can be from 3 seconds to 60 minutes long. Moreover, video previews that are played in the feed are 60 seconds in general, but are restricted to 15 seconds if the video is considered an advertisement.

While ratios from 1.91:1 to 9:16 are supported, the recommended Instagram video size is 4:5. Besides, the videos should be at least 1080 × 1080 pixels. 

Users can add Instagram video posts in the same way as they would regular Instagram posts — by using Instagram’s built-in camera or by uploading it from the photo library. 

When to Use Instagram Feed Videos

Since Instagram videos can be longer than stories, they're great for sharing insightful and educational content. 

Besides, a posted Instagram video can be shared in private messages or stories, so they are perfect for presenting your products or services. From announcing launches to highlighting existing products, an Instagram feed video is a great way to inform your followers and increase brand awareness. 

Instagram Reels

Aspect ratio of instagram reels and what they are best for

What Are Instagram Reels?

Similar to TikToks, Instagram Reels are multi-clip videos that offer the possibility to include AR effects, music, transitions, and more.  Like TikTok’s ‘For You’ page, the designated reels feed makes this new Instagram video format perfect for reaching new audiences and increasing visibility. 

Tech Specs & How-To

Instagram Reels can be up to 90 seconds long. While ratios from 4:5 to 191:100 are supported, the recommended ratio is 9:16 since these videos are designed to be viewed full-screen and vertically. Besides, the resolution should be at least 500 × 888 pixels. 

Unlike stories or videos, Reels cannot be viewed or uploaded from a desktop. 

Aside from editing tools such as AR effects or transitions, Reels also include audio attribution. For example, if a user uploads a Reel with his or her audio, other users will be able to utilize the sound in their videos and the Instagram app will credit the original user’s account.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Instagram’s algorithm will not prioritize content that is recycled from other apps (contains watermarks or logos). Similarly, you should avoid having the majority of your video covered by text or uploading a video with a border around it, as this will also affect your reel’s performance. 

If you want to create a reel, you must tap the camera icon from the top right corner once you're on the reels tab. You can also go to the home screen and press the ‘+’ on the top right and choose ‘reel.’

When to Use Instagram Reels

From jumping on trends to educating your audience through tutorials, Instagram Reels are a great way for businesses to switch things up and reach new people. Besides, on the Reels tab, users see Reels from all Instagram accounts, rather than just those they follow.

In fact, a study by Markerly found that brands perform better on Reels than on TikTok.

Moreover, you can capitalize on the different trends and challenges that are usually shared on Reels. For example, the official account for Instagram's creators, @creators, posts weekly trend roundups that you can use as inspiration for shareable Instagram video content that has the potential to go viral.

Instagram Live Videos

Aspect ratio of instagram live videos and what they are best for

What Are Instagram Live Videos?

Instagram live videos allow brands to communicate in real time with their followers. In fact, 82% of consumers would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a standard social media post. 

Tech Specs & How-To

How to add a live video, you ask?

You can either go to the home screen and press the ‘+’ on the top right and then choose ‘live’, or you can swipe left and then scroll to the left until you see the ‘live’ option. Once you go live, the number of viewers will be shown at the top of the screen. Besides, your audience can engage with you by adding emoji reactions or comments. 

Nonetheless, you can turn off or hide comments that contain specific works. 

If you want to gain more engagement, you can also invite other people to join your live video. For example, you could invite other brand owners, influencers, co-workers, or even a follower.

You can also repurpose your live video after it ends by sharing it on Instagram.

The maximum length for Instagram lives is 4 hours, and the recommended ratio is 9:16

When to Use Instagram Live Videos

Instagram lives are a great way to connect with your community as you can start Q & As, organize workshops, and even create fundraisers. 

Besides, like Instagram stories, lives are a great way to humanize your brand as it essentially eliminates the barrier between you and your audience. 

An Instagram live will also help with increasing visibility. Not only is it placed at the top of your followers’ home screen, but, unlike stories, it also appears at the front of the storyline. Besides, this video format has push notifications enabled. So if your followers have notifications turned on in their settings, they will get notified when you go live. 

Upgrade Your Instagram Game!

Incorporating Instagram videos into your video marketing and content strategy will not only increase brand awareness but will also contribute to humanizing your brand and generating engagement. 

Let us take your Instagram video content to the next level!

We are eager to find out more about your ideas, so what are you waiting for? Contact us today!