Video on Instagram is more important now than ever. Instagram rolled out features like Stories, live video, and direct video messaging all within a few months. Instagram’s total base amasses over 1 billion users, as of January 2020. And, as of 2020, 500 million people use Instagram Stories every single day.
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With all of this success, the company has continued to expand its video capabilities. So, how are people using Instagram video? And, more importantly, how can marketers weave Instagram video into their marketing plans?
Instagram And Video
Instagram video was first introduced in 2013. The original videos were capped at 15-seconds, but the videos have since been lengthened to 60-seconds. In 2016 especially, Instagram video innovation took off. Most of its newest innovations are similar to Snapchat’s content sharing features.
Instagram Stories were released in 2016. The Stories feature allows users to capture as many images and videos as they want to share with their followers. The photos or videos are then uploaded and stored in an icon at the top of the users’ feeds. Story content remains in the user’s Story for 24-hours until it is deleted. Sounds like Snapchat, doesn’t it?
The app is integrating its own — albeit similar — Story effects. Stickers and text can be applied to recorded or captured content that users can personalize. Instagram is further embracing the Snapchat model by integrating “Geostickers” into its Story sticker collection.
Measuring Instagram Video
Marketers are noticing the pull of audiences to Instagram video and are investing time — and money –– in paid video ads to reach them. Funneling this effort in isn’t cheap, so how can you determine the campaign’s payoff?
Video views are often the most reliable way of measuring online engagement. This form of measurement has been made much easier for marketers following the release of the video views feature. For a video to get a view, a user has to watch the video for at least three seconds. You can get multiple views from the same user as long as each time your video loops, they watch at least three seconds of it. In fact, watching your own Instagram video for longer than three seconds counts as a view, too.
In order to get video views, the video has to be watched on the Instagram app. Any views on posts outside of the app, such as videos embedded into blog posts or shared on other social media platforms, do not apply to your video view count.
“View counts have provided an ideal means for brand marketers for improvement.” (TG Daily)
Video view counts go beyond the number of watches, though. You can tap on the number of video views underneath a post, where the likes would normally be. After you tap, you can see who liked the post listed below. Though you’re given the number of times viewed and who liked the post, there still isn’t an exact science to determine how many times specific a user viewed the video, or who the viewers who didn’t like the post are.
This all changes with Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories allow you to see how many times your video was viewed and who watched it. Marketers can get a better idea of their interacting audience by having a more precise understanding of their viewers.
Executing A Successful Instagram Video Campaign
Using Instagram Stories is always a good method to consider in developing an execution strategy for your marketing plan. Where Instagram posts are often staged and edited with thorough attention, Instagram Stories have a more natural and authentic feel. The casual, off-the-cuff vibe Instagram Stories exude can make your brand more relatable to your audience. Younger generations are distrusting of advertising, so using the imperfect Story format can improve their trust levels with you. Use Instagram Stories to showcase your realness.
When creating an Instagram video — or Instagram post of any kind, for that matter — you need to think about hashtags. Hashtags can be extremely beneficial tools in crafting your video post. On average, hashtags increase chance of engagement by over 12 percent. Consider creating your own branded hashtags as well. In fact, 70 percent of the most popular Instagram hashtags are branded.
Hashtags, and tagging in general, can be a great way to check in with influencers and reach out to their followers. Using influencer marketing can often be a great way to get your brand out there. Influencers’ followers are extremely loyal and trusting of the influencer. If an influencer says they trust a product, the followers may perceive it as trustworthy as well.
“The visual-centric platform is known for its high engagement, and social videos are just as important here as they are on other platforms.” (Agorapulse)
There are also certain post logistics you should take into consideration. The best times to post on Instagram are Mondays and Thursdays, between 8-9am. Other best times include 5pm and any hour from 9pm to 8am. Around 7pm on Wednesdays can also be successful. But, generally posts that are published at 9pm get, on average, 34 percent more engagements. Sunday is usually a day of lowest engagement on Instagram, and posting any day between 3-4PM is not recommended. This isn’t always the case, though. Different brands mean different audiences. Each audience is unique, so what works for them may not work for you.
If you’re not getting the desired results, you can always consider paying for an Instagram ad. They may not be free, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pay off. Instagram ads can lead to getting more views more quickly than posting on your own page alone. Ads can open up to new audiences who may not already be following your page.
The most important thing in creating your Instagram video is remembering who you are. The key to creating a successful campaign and capturing an audience is in knowing your brand, regardless of your advertising outlet. Audiences can see right through hollow, pandering ads. Make sure your content reflects who you really are.
Updated on January 24, 2020
Katie Murray, Marketing and Communications at Green Buzz Agency. Emily Herman contributed to this post.