Video Marketing for Instagram in 2021

July 26, 2021

Video Marketing for Instagram

This article is part of our Social Media Video Marketing Guide Series.

Video content on social media grabs eyeballs and boosts engagement rates.

We have compelling stats to back up this claim. Research by The Word shows that videos garner more views and conversions on social media than other content types. 

If we talk about Instagram, 25% of all ads are videos and 250 million people watch video Stories daily. In 2019, Instagrammers spent 80% more time watching videos than they did in 2018.

And that’s not all. Video ads give maximum returns on all social channels. 36% of consumers trust video ads and adding videos to ads can increase engagement rates by 22%.

It’s no surprise that 96% of marketers invested in video marketing in 2019 and this number is projected to keep rising year-on-year. 

We've created a series of articles that outline a video marketing strategy for each of the 3 major social channels, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram

In this article you'll find strategic tips to learn how to make the most of Instagram video stories, reels, and IGTV. Let's get started.

Video Marketing (1)

The Value of Video Marketing

In addition to the hundreds of thousands of hours that people spend watching videos each day, video marketing can also help to drive brand growth and solid ROI. Here are just a few of the findings from HubSpot's recent video studies.

  • YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network.

  • YouTube does all this with just mobile traffic! 

  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to purchase a product online.

  • Conversions may increase by as much as 80% with a video on a landing page.

  • Visitors spend 88% more time on a website that includes video.

Dr. James McQuivey did calculated frames per second and length of video to find that the value of a 1-minute video is worth 1.8 million words.

Video Marketing for Instagram

Instagram Video Stories

Instagram Stories are hugely popular with brands and marketers because they are fun, entertaining, and profitable. You can not only tell your brand story effectively through Stories but also boost your sales by making your Stories shoppable.

Stories are ideal for creating brand recognition and can be used in many different ways. They can be used for everything from sneak peeks of upcoming events to behind the scenes content to reinforce your work culture.

Here is what you need to know when adding videos to your Instagram Stories.


  • Aspect Ratio 4:5 or 9:16
  • Orientation: Square, vertical, & horizontal
  • Recommended Resolution: 1080 x 1920
  • File Format: mp4
  • length: 1-15 sec.

Instagram Stories—a camera-first fullscreen visual format that disappears after 24 hours, modeled after Snapchat—doesn’t show up in the Instagram news feed. This means that users can post easily and rapidly to their followers without worrying about overloading them.

Also, compared to the polished reputation of the Instagram aesthetic, the vibe is definitely a little more rough around the edges. This is good news for novices: diving in doesn’t require hiring a videographer. Even billion-dollar companies are posting iPhone videos of office dogs.

How to post a story:

  1. In the app, click the plus icon in the top right corner to access the Instagram camera
  2. Choose the Story option
  3. Press and hold the white circle to record video, OR
  4. Swipe up (or select the square gallery icon on the left) to use pre-existing visuals

Stickers are fun visual additions that also happen to be a crucial tool for your brand’s aesthetic. They’re constantly changing, but the best way to stay up to date with new developments is to use them. Just don’t feel obligated to use all of them.

You can add hashtags and stickers to your video stories to enhance them and make them discoverable to a wider audience. Instagram allows up to 10 hashtags in your stories and you can add these either in the caption or using the hashtag sticker.

Like hashtags, adding a location to your Story expands its potential reach beyond your follower list. Often, businesses have a Location Page (which users can find by tapping a hashtag or searching in the Explore tab). If your Story ends up there, you could end up with a lot more views.

Meanwhile, if you have a brick-and-mortar business, your location page is where your happy customers can showcase their experience with you, and potential customers can check you out. 

To use a location sticker on an Instagram Story:

  1. Tap the sticker icon at the top of your screen
  2. Select the location sticker
  3. Choose your preferred location from the list (could be a store, a street, a city, get as broad or as specific as you like)
  4. Adjust the sticker’s color and size and location so it complements your Story’s vibe

You can change the look of your location tag by tapping it.

Stories are also an amazing tool for engagement. You can add polls to stories (found under the stickers), where viewers get to vote on two different options. This can help followers feel like they get to voice their opinions. You can also use stories to get more open-ended engagement by adding a "Question" sticker. You can pose a specific question to your audience, or you can ask for questions FROM your audience (this is often referred to as an AMA, or Ask Me Anything) and then you can spend more time answering those questions in more stories. This gives your audience a great opportunity to learn more about you, and gives your business an opportunity to find out what your potential customers are interested in!

Instagram Video Reels

Reels are Instagram's newest way to record clips set to music or other sounds. If Reels seem a bit familiar, it might be because the format is modeled after the popular social media platform, TikTok.

The great thing about Instagram Reels is that they are shown to audiences based on Instagram's algorithm, so you are able to expand your reach outside of your immediate followers.


  • Aspect Ratio 4:5 & 9:16
  • Orientation: Square, vertical, & horizontal
  • Recommended Resolution: 1080 x 1920
  • File Format: mp4
  • length: 1-15 sec.

To create a Reel follow the same steps as you would for a story but choose the Reel option during step 2. You have the option of adding audio, changing the speed and adding from Instagram's library of effects on this screen. 

When you are happy with your video you can add stickers and text to compliment it before you publish. 

If you’re creating a video with a voiceover or dialogue, be sure to add closed captions to your videos. This is helpful to those watching your videos without sound, and it's important to keep accessibility in mind when creating content.

When adding text to your videos, keep the text placement in mind. This is because when you share an Instagram Reel to the feed, Instagram crops it to 4:5 dimensions (meaning the top and bottom bit of the video gets cut off, making the video shorter). To avoid important text from being cropped, keep your text close to the middle of the screen.

When finished, you can edit the cover photo with a video thumbnail or add a cover from your camera roll. If you’d like to keep your Instagram aesthetic in place, opt for uploading an on-brand image from your camera roll.


IGTV is longer-form video that can also be found on Instagram profiles and in the regular feed, but there is also a standalone IGTV app that can be downloaded separately from Instagram. It's essentially Instagram's answer to YouTube in that it's designed for the mobile-optimized viewing of long-form videos.

Any user can set up their own channel and share video content that’s up to an hour long. It’s up to the user or brand whether or not they want to create channel-specific content here, or if they are interested in connecting it to videos they’re already posting on Instagram.

The main difference between IGTV and Stories is that these videos are typically several minutes to even an hour in length. At this time, only the most popular, verified users are allowed to create the one-hour videos.

For users, the app features an easy-to-navigate interface with various tabs including “for you,” “following," and "popular.” The search bar comes up with personalized suggestions for you. In addition, while you’re using the app, you’re also automatically connected with existing Instagram followers who are intentionally using the app.

You can also continue watching an earlier video if you had to stop, a feature which is only recently a part of people’s “TV” experience.

In short, it brings the feeling of “flipping channels on a TV” to life, without (yet) having to deal with ads, but also without (yet) having the variety and versatility of YouTube.

The Wrap Up

The key takeaway from all of this is that video marketing is an incredible way to create new and interesting content that will drive engagement on all social media, specifically Instagram. Now is the perfect time to begin experimenting with video and figuring out what your audience enjoys most!

Social video is continually evolving, so it's up to your marketing team to keep up.

If you’re interested in working with our marketing specialists to come up with a strategy for your brand, reach out today.

Topics: Social Media Marketing, Marketing