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Ultimate Guide To Instagram Video

Hélène Heath
November 28, 2023
Last Updated On
instagram video blog header

Video content has revolutionized the digital landscape, making a significant impact even on Instagram, a platform once dominated by photos. Integrating Instagram video, especially Reels, into your brand's content strategy is no longer just an option – it's a necessity. 

The rising popularity of lo-fi video content is a game-changer, creating a unique opportunity for brands. Now more than ever, audiences are connecting with simple, authentic videos, allowing you to invest less time and fewer resources – yes, save that budget! – while still making a significant impact. With minimal equipment, you can create content that truly resonates with your target demographic. To elevate your brand's presence on Instagram, we're diving into strategies for scaling your video production. Discover how to leverage the power of Instagram videos to expand your reach, boost engagement, and achieve remarkable success.

Our ultimate guide to Instagram video covers: 

  • How to download Instagram video.  
  • Types of video on Instagram.  
  • How to optimize video content.
  • Tips to boost Instagram engagement. 
  • How to leverage video analytics.
  • Instagram video brand examples.

How To Download Video From Instagram 

You might want to download Instagram videos for several reasons. One, it’s a great way to source inspiration in one location — whether this is to share with your boss who doesn’t want to open an overwhelming number of links or to include in a report (it’s much more fluid for a video to autoplay than take your audience out of your deck with a link). Two, you might want to repurpose UGC content to share with your own branded elements on different social platforms.  

Unfortunately, you cannot save Instagram videos directly from the native app — however, several third-party websites can help you download videos from Instagram straight to your device. 

Regardless of your reason, here’s how to download an Instagram video to your mobile device or desktop. 

How To Download Instagram Videos From Mobile  

Downloading Instagram videos from your mobile device is relatively simple but requires using a third-party website. If you’re up for that, here’s how to download a video from the Instagram app to your iPhone or Android device. 

  • Go to Instagram and select the video you want to download.
  • Click the three dots in the bottom right corner. 
  • Select ‘Copy Link’. 
  • Go to your internet browser and use a third-party download tool, like Inflact
  • Paste your link in the form field and press ‘Download Video.’
  • Your video will now be available in the Downloads folder on your iOS device or the Downloads folder in Default File Manager on Android. 

Alternatively, if you don’t mind slight quality degradation, you could take a screen recording of the video you wish to download. 

How To Download Instagram Videos From Desktop 

To download a video from your mobile device directly from the Instagram app to your desktop: 

  • Navigate to the Instagram app. 
  • Select the video you wish to download. 
  • Click the three dots ‘...’ in the bottom right corner. 
  • Select ‘Copy Link’
  • Go to an Instagram video download tool via a web browser, like Inflact. 
  • Select the ‘Downloader for Instagram’ option. 
  • Paste your link in the onscreen bar and click ‘Download photo.’ 
  • Your video will now be available in your downloads folder.  

How To Save Videos On Instagram

Saving Instagram videos directly to the app versus downloading them to your phone is simple. To save a video to Instagram:

  • Find the video or Reel you wish to save. 
  • If you’re in your feed, select the bookmark icon to the right of the Reel or post. 
  • You can save videos from Instagram to specific collections to sort and organize your saved content from there. 

Types of Instagram Video and Their Specifications

Instagram has gone through quite a journey with video — first, with IGTV, which shut down in March 2022, and now, with its focus on Reels and engaging short-form video content

However, there are several options beyond just Reels. Here are the different types of video content brands are considering for posting on Instagram, along with their ideal specifications.

Reels 

Let’s get Instagram Reels out of the way first. Instagram Reels are a powerful way to reach users and boost engagement with lo-fi, organic-feeling content. This content appears in both the Explore, Reels and native feed (this comes after Instagram phased out separate video publishing in July 2022). Although you can trim hi-fi content to use in Reels, marketing and video teams can save time and resources by tapping into video content filmed with phones and minimal editing. 

Additionally, our social media benchmarks reveal an intriguing trend: larger brands posting double the content weekly compared to their growing or established counterparts are notching higher Entertainment Scores. This uptick in engagement is particularly noticeable in brands with a robust visual content strategy

Instagram Reels Size

  • Reels should have an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 9:16. 
  • They should have a minimum frame rate of 30 FPS and a minimum 720px resolution.
  • Reels cover photo size should be 420px by 654px, or a 1:1.55 ratio. 

Livestreams

Livestreams are videos made when you or someone on your team decides to go live. Often, you can tease your audience and share when you’re going live and why they should tune in — this could be for a Q&A with a brand ambassador, a feature with the CEO or a live tutorial. Livestreams can be a great way to attract new users and connect with your audience in real-time. 

Livestream Video Size

  • The best size for a livestream is a 9x16 aspect ratio. 
  • Live stream video software should support a 720x1280 resolution and 30 FPS. 
  • The audio should use a 44.1 KHz sample rate, Stereo channel layout and a bit rate up to 256 Kbps. 
  • The max file size is 4GB. 

Instagram Stories 

Instagram stories are a great way to encourage video engagement and communicate with your audience via polls, Q&As, countdowns and other interactive elements, like stickers. While Instagram stories expire from the top of the app after 24 hours, they can be added to highlights in your profile — use this opportunity to boost your brand awareness and identity. Start a series and categorize past polls, Q&As and more so your audience can watch again.  

Instagram Story Size

  • Videos on Instagram Stories should be sized 1080px by 1920px with a 9:16 aspect ratio. 
  • If images are larger than this, a portion of your video will be cut off. 

Video Ads

Reels and Stories are a great way to boost organic engagement, but if your brand has budgeted paid ads for social media, video ads on Instagram might be an excellent fit for your strategy. Brands can create the following types of Instagram video ads

  • Video ads: These ads range from short, in-feed video ads to ads that play in other videos on Instagram and Facebook. 
  • Boosted posts: Users can boost Reels or Stories in the Ads Manager or from your account’s feed. 
  • Carousel: Share a variety of two or more videos or photos to showcase multiple visuals. 
  • Collections: Pair a video with product posts to draw attention to specific products in your shop. 
  • Instant experiences: Capture your audience's attention with punchy, full-screen video ads for mobile. 
  • Playables: For brands promoting gamified experiences, give users an interactive preview and the chance to test drive your game. 
  • Slideshow: Transform images and text posts into a short video slideshow ad. 

Instagram Video Sizes

The best size for these depends on your ideal ad placement — here are the best sizes for Instagram video ads:

  • Instagram Profile Feed: MP4, MOV or GIF, 4:5 aspect ratio, and a 1080x1080px resolution. 
  • Instagram Feed: Minimum 500 pixels, maximum 4 GB file size, from one second to 60 minutes in duration.
  • Instagram Reels: MP4, MOV or GIF, 9:16 aspect ratio, 500x888 px and H.264 compression with square pixels and a fixed frame rate. 
  • Instagram Explore: MP4, MOV or GIF, 4:5 aspect ratio, 1080x1080px and H.264 compression with square pixels.
  • Instagram Stories: MP4, MOV or GIF, 9:16 aspect ratio, 1080x1080px and H.264 compression with square pixels and a fixed frame rate. 

Optimizing Instagram Video Content

Creating captivating video content on Instagram that captures wide attention starts with optimization. But what exactly does it mean to optimize your Instagram video content? Let's delve into some key strategies to effectively enhance your video presence on Instagram.

Use The Right Keywords

Your content team probably uses specific keywords to improve your website's search rankings. These same practices, especially the strategic use of optimal keywords, can also significantly benefit your Instagram videos. To discover the best keywords to use in your Instagram video content, first, look at what terms competitors use in video titles, captions, hashtags and even text overlays in a video itself. This step could also take place during your competitor analysis or even during your social media audit.

Create an SEO-Friendly Profile and Posts

Now that you’ve identified which terms to include in your video, it’s time to implement them. Keywords are one vital aspect of creating SEO-friendly content — here are some other search engine optimization (SEO) considerations to keep in mind when creating SEO-friendly content: 

  • Hashtags: Use a small mix of trending and branded hashtags (if appropriate) to indicate what your content is about and help your videos be found among similar content.  
  • Add trending sounds: Adding trending Instagram Reels songs is another great way to increase your chances of being featured on relevant users’ Explore page.  
  • Incorporate Instagram trends: Adding Instagram trends to your content will help your content be seen by users viewing similar trends. 
  • Use the correct video specifications: Using the right Instagram video length and sizes will help users better view your content — using the best-performing video sizes also helps increase your video’s discoverability.  
  • Post at the best times: Scheduling your content during the best time to post on Instagram will help your desired audience see your videos. Do your posts get more engagement in the morning? Is your target audience more active at night? Sharing content during these peak times is vital to increase engagement. 

Understand the Instagram Algorithm

Understanding the Instagram Reels algorithm and the general Instagram algorithm is paramount to finding success and boosting your presence on Instagram. By understanding which factors the algorithm uses to feature your content on the Explore page, you can craft your content with these factors in mind to increase your chances of being noticed by your target audience. 

How To Boost Instagram Video Engagement 

Beyond content optimization, there are additional crucial steps brands should consider when prioritizing Instagram engagement growth.

Incorporate UGC Video 

Incorporating UGC video into your Instagram content is a great way to nurture relationships and identify potential creators for collaborating or Instagram influencer trends to use. Repurpose UGC by sharing it on Stories and Reels to build connections and reach new users. To further optimize your content, tag the original creator in a Collab Post so they appear as a co-author. The post will also appear on their feed and profile — especially useful to gain more followers on Instagram if the original creator has significantly more than you. 

Engage With Your Audience 

Engaging with your Instagram community is a great way to encourage engagement. If you’re new to Instagram or your brand is new or less recognizable, this is a great way to generate brand awareness and establish your brand voice.

Share Instagram Stories 

Sharing Instagram Stories presents an easy way to connect with your audience. Stories let you add interactive elements to your posts, like polls and Q&As, that users can quickly interact with. This is often easier and more timely than writing a comment, so your Stories can earn more engagement. 

Conduct An Instagram Competitor Analysis 

Conducting an Instagram competitive analysis is a great way to benchmark your performance against competitors to help you set goals. A competitive analysis also helps your team identify gaps in your content, where your competition finds success and more insights to help you tweak your strategy accordingly. 

How To Leverage Instagram Video Analytics 

Understanding your Instagram video performance metrics is also invaluable to improving your strategy. Teams can use data to refine their social media strategy, uncover opportunities and improve engagement. Here are some common Instagram metrics and how to use them to refine your tactics and strategy. 

  • Discover metrics — Reach, Impressions: These metrics speak to how users find your content and how many people your content reaches. Brands can use impressions to determine whether users found their content through a tag or hashtag. To leverage this, use the data to refine which hashtags and tags you use, make an effort to show where you receive the most impressions, or hone your tactics to show up where you haven’t received enough impressions.
  • Engagement metrics — Views, Likes, Comments, Shares: These metrics show how users interact with your content. Brands can leverage these video metrics to discover which content resonates best with their audience and tweak the content that doesn’t perform as well. 
  • Live metrics — Viewers, Likes, Comments: These metrics show how many people watch and engage with your lives. Teams can leverage live streaming metrics to determine if going live suits their video strategy and which viewers are tuning in.  

3 Instagram Video Brand Examples

Brands are embracing the versatility of video on Instagram in many creative ways. Let's explore a few standout examples of how successful brands skillfully weave video into their Instagram content strategy.

1. Gagosian (@gagosian

The Gagosian Gallery uses a timelapse video to demonstrate an art installation at their gallery. This gives their audience a behind-the-scenes look at an installation process, generates interest in an upcoming feature exhibit and provides education for viewers.

roy lichtenstein installation gagosian ig reels screenshot
Image credit: @gagosian

2. IGK Hair (@igkhair)

IGK Hair uses beauty and fashion influencer Hayley Bui (@hayley_bui) to promote their at-home hair coloring kits with a tutorial Reel. This tactic helps educate their audience on how to use a new product and helps expand their reach by exposing their brand and product to Hayley’s followers. 

girl with red dyed hair holding up igk hair color ig reels screenshot
Image credit: @igkhair

3. Outdoor Voices (@outdoorvoices)

Outdoor Voices adopts a unique approach, crafting a compelling video montage from past events to promote their annual Tiny Turkey Trot. Their engaging caption not only includes a call-to-action inviting viewers to sign up via the link in bio but also effectively highlights the brand's core values: staying active, embracing participation, and embodying the spirit of #DoingThings.

outdoor voices turkey trot ig reels screenshot
Image credit: @outdoorvoices

Elevate Instagram Video with Dash Hudson

A vital part of a robust Instagram video strategy is understanding competitors and which content your audience prefers. Social media teams can use Competitive Insights and Benchmarking to benchmark your competition against competitors and identify video trends and custom metrics so you can focus on what matters most to your team. 

To understand your audience better, Social Listening helps your team identify how your audience talks about your brand, products and competitors. Social listening also helps your team determine which themes resonate with your audience the most — Where are they talking about your brand? How are they talking about you? Which memes do they search for? This is a small selection of questions social listening can help your team answer, which can inform what you include in your Reels content. 

FAQs

How to save Instagram videos?

You can save Instagram videos by selecting the ‘bookmark’ icon, typically featured to the right of the Reel. 

How long can Instagram videos be?

An Instagram Reel can be up to 90 seconds, a Story can be up to 60 seconds long, and an Instagram live session can be up to four hours.

Can you see who views your Instagram videos?

To see who viewed your Stories, simply scroll up on the video — this produces a list of viewers. However, you can’t currently see who viewed your Reels. You can use social analytics or native insights on the app to see how many people viewed your Reel. 

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