How to use video on Instagram effectively

Back last year it was revealed that 87% of businesses were using video as part of their marketing campaign and even though 2020 has barely started, we’ve already discovered that Facebook and Instagram (not surprising considering that Instagram is owned by Facebook) together will account for about two-thirds of social video ad spend. Basically, more people are spending their money creating video for these platforms than for YouTube. Does this mean the future of video is Instagram? Who knows, but as it is increasingly becoming a popular platform for marketing, it’s important to know how to use it effectively.

Ok, first things first, there are three different ways in which you can publish video content on Instagram. If that wasn’t hard enough to get your head around, you can’t just publish the same thing on your IGTV as you can on your grid. So, here are a few tips to help you use Instagram effectively.

Instagram stories.

This is a great way to start with Instagram video content. Posts are 15 seconds or less (though, if you keep recording, the app will automatically split longer videos into sequential clips – no editing for you!) and by their very nature, they are supposed to be mobile quality. So, using the stories feature is pretty low pressure and also a casual and friendly way to introduce yourself and your campaign.

Example of an Instagram Story, the image in the middle can be replaced by a short video or gif.

Stories will stay on the app for 24 hours unless you pin them to your profile, which you can do with a nice cover if you like and if you’re managing an account with a significant following, you can easily put links to your website and individual products.

So, what to post on stories? Anything quick and off the cuff, demos, highlights, previews… These things all work well. You can repost other content there, which is useful for if you spot someone using your products on their story/grid or you can use it to preview a longer IGTV video…


IGTV, aka Instagram TV, is Instagram’s long form video format and as such, does require a little more time and effort. Depending again on how big an account you have, videos here can be up 15 minutes or an hour, so these need to be engaging and well produced.

Examples of content that works here are documentaries, tutorials, video tours or vlog style videos from product launches or awards shows.

One of the great things about using IGTV is that Instagram will let you post the first 60 seconds to your feed so you won’t have the create a separate preview to get your followers interested. One of the downsides about this is that your first minute has to really hook them in.

IGTV home page.

Videos on the Instagram feed.

Also known as a regular post on Instagram which happens to be a video. These can be up to one minute long and will stay on your profile grid as such, you’ll need to make sure that they are good for the Instagram algorithm, so unlike the others, you will need to make sure your tags are spot on.

Like we mentioned above, you can easily use the grid to preview an IGTV video, or you could do quick how to videos, behind the scenes videos, stop motion videos, something short and sweet that fits with your brand and the asthetics of your Instagram profile.

Visit Devon’s Instagram grid showing both images and video.

There is also Instagram Live Video…

You can also use Instagram for live streaming which are great for launching new products, hosting Q and As.

These are posted as a story and so, like them, last for 24 hours unless you save it to your profile as a highlight.

Now you know about the different ways in which you can use Instagram for video promotion, what sort of content should you be posting? Well, first and foremost, make sure the video is unique and engaging but here are a few other tips to help you get the most out of video on this platform.

  • Subtitles – Instagram is mostly viewed with the sound off, so include subtitles. Also it makes your videos more accessible to more people.
  • Preview them – post clips and snippets to your grid or stories teasing longer videos or upcoming content, especially if you’re about to upload an in-depth documentary or product launch.
  • Cross Promote – once your video is live, make sure to post about it in your stories (anyone can link to IGTV regardless of their follower count) and take advantage of the preview on your grid.

And finally, you know what is on offer for your video content on Instagram, you’ve got some ideas of the kind of content that works well on each of those areas and you’ve got some tips for making sure that your content is seen, now you just need to get creating!

One more thing, here are the current specs for the different videos on Instagram, you can thank us later.


  • Max length: 15 secs
  • Format: MP4
  • Ratio: 9:16 vertical
  • Min resolution: 720px

Feed Videos

  • Max length: 60 secs
  • Format: MP4
  • Ratio: 1.91:1 all the way to 4:5, these can be horizontal, vertical or square.)


  • Length: Up to 15 mins if uploaded from a mobile device or 60 mins if uploaded from the web.
  • Fomat: MP4
  • Ratio: 9:16 vertical or 16:9 horizontal
  • Minimum frame rate: 30FPS
  • Minimum resolution: 720px
  • Cover photo: 420x654px
  • Max size: 650 MB for anything under 10 mins or 3.65GB for those under 60 mins.

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