Keeping up with changes to Instagram video? Wondering how to update your strategy?
In this article, you’ll discover exactly how Instagram video is changing in 2022 and 14 ways to improve your strategy.
In late December 2021, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri tweeted a short video outlining the platform’s 2022 priorities. In the video, Mosseri explains that Instagram intends to do much more with video in the coming year, reaffirming that Instagram is “no longer just a photo-sharing app.”
So what does that mean exactly? Although the video doesn’t go into detail, Mosseri does confirm that Instagram plans to focus primarily on growing Reels, ultimately consolidating video content around the short-form product.
If you’ve been following Instagram’s evolution over the past year or so, then this announcement probably won’t surprise you. In recent months, the platform has quietly pulled back from longer-form content. Instagram abruptly retired the IGTV brand in October 2021, integrated videos up to 60 minutes long into the main feed, and shifted Instagram TV content to a separate app.
At the same time, Reels has quickly become central to the social media platform since the product’s debut in August 2020. The short-form video format has had a prominent spot on the Instagram home screen menu since late 2020 and reels have been frequently displaying in Instagram feeds since late 2021.
Neither Mosseri nor Instagram has shared specific video-related changes planned for 2022 but that doesn’t mean you should wait to start modifying your video strategy. Given the many recent Reels feature rollouts, the product’s similarity to TikTok, and the related focus areas mentioned in Mosseri’s video, you can start anticipating how the platform’s shift is likely to take effect.
If your business has historically focused on long-form video or used IGTV extensively, now’s the ideal time to get comfortable with short-form video. Rather than producing 5- or 10-minute videos with complex storylines, experiment with the types of storytelling that work well with Reels—essentially, fun and entertaining content.
How can you translate long-form video to short-form? You might test simpler narratives that you can cover in a single reel. Alternatively, you might try creating episodes or series that reveal a story in parts. Do you need inspiration? Tap the Reels icon in the Instagram app and scroll through trending content to fuel your brainstorming session.
For example, the @weaveystudio reel below shows the creator packaging a product, striking a balance between a behind-the-scenes video and a step-by-step crafting tutorial. It’s one of a series of popular @weaveystudio reels, each of which is a sort of reverse unboxing video that offers a glimpse of the small business’ products. This reel also features shoppable products, which allow users to purchase seamlessly via the creator’s linked store.
While the reel pictured above is less than 15 seconds long, your brand’s short-form videos don’t necessarily have to be quite so concise.
Over the course of the product’s brief lifespan, reels have quadrupled in length. Originally 15 seconds, reels doubled to 30 seconds in late 2020 and doubled again to 60 seconds in August 2021. If the product continues to emulate TikTok, reels may eventually be as long as 3 minutes.
Depending on your brand, content, and audience, shorter or longer reels may perform significantly better, and it’s important to get the timing right. To find the right length for your audience, experiment with different formats and closely review the results.
You can see what resonates with your audience by using Reels’ Insights, which include metrics like:
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- Reach and plays to gauge visibility and awareness
- Comments and likes to assess basic engagement
- Saves and shares to identify higher levels of interest
If your business currently publishes an even mix of videos, photos, and stories, then shifting toward a video-first approach may create some gaps in your strategy. For example, if you publish fewer stories, you may find that you get less website traffic from Instagram. Or your team may need more time to produce video content, resulting in less-frequent publishing.
You can’t anticipate every potential issue before it arises. But by regularly reviewing your Instagram, website, and revenue analytics, you can quickly identify and address concerns. For example, you may find that:
- You can efficiently repurpose reels as photos and stories, allowing you to stay top of mind with followers, no matter where they’re browsing in the Instagram app.
- Collaborating with influencers and brand ambassadors is critical for building relationships and maintaining a reasonable publishing schedule.
- It’s more important than ever to create a complementary paid social strategy to drive the traffic and revenue you need.
Trending content is a major factor in Reels’ focus on fun, entertaining videos. From dance challenges to audio clips, joining trends can help your brand maximize visibility and get your reels in front of more people.
Although you can certainly plan and produce much of your video content in advance, it’s a good idea to leave space in your publishing calendar for on-trend content. Fortunately, Instagram makes it relatively quick and easy to find trends.
To see what’s popular now, tap the Reels icon in the Instagram app, start scrolling, and either look for patterns in top content or watch for suggestions like the ones below. You can scroll through to see how some of the top reels are using a suggested feature or tap to save or use the trending audio clips and effects right away.
Whether you’re planning to use a trending audio clip or record your own original sound, on-screen text can help you get your message across more effectively, especially if your audience tends to watch without sound.
To get the most out of your reels, use the built-in text options to make points or create clear calls to action (CTAs) throughout the video. You can also use the automated captions sticker to caption your video in seconds.
Instagram’s short-form video content is designed for maximum engagement beyond likes and comments. Using the platform’s Remix tool, users can react to content or collaborate with creators, sparking conversations and extending the reach of a video.
Originally a Reels-only tool, remixes now work with all Instagram video content as of January 2022. To make your organization’s videos as engaging as possible, make remixes an integral part of your brand’s strategy.
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For example, you can spark engagement by enabling the tool on your account’s videos and encouraging followers to react with their own remixes. (Note that you can disable remixes on individual videos any time you want to retain more control over your content.)
You can also create your own remixes to react to or highlight video content by other creators or industry leaders. That way, you can join key conversations in your space while contributing your brand’s unique take on a popular issue.
Whether you want to get more engagement or rack up more plays, remixes aren’t the only available option for increasing visibility. Sharing reels and video posts to Instagram Stories is a simple, yet effective, way to give your short-form videos a boost.
To start leveraging this tactic now, establish a workflow so your team can share video content to Stories efficiently. Then experiment with tactics that prompt followers to tap through and watch the full version of the video. For example, you can add GIFs, stickers, and text overlays that drive the outcome you want.
To get even more eyes on your video content, explore Instagram’s expanded collaboration tool. Originally available only for feed posts, this tool now works with Reels as of October 2021. To use it, tap the Tag People button, select Invite Collaborator, and search for an account.
What’s so great about this tool? When you invite a collaborator to a reel, the content posts on both creators’ accounts, which can significantly improve visibility. When a collaborator accepts an invitation, both accounts are featured as creators. That means this tool can be great for improving brand awareness and expanding your organization’s audience.
To get more mileage out of engagement on your reels, make a habit of replying to comments. With Reels’ Visual Replies feature that launched in December 2021, you can reply to any comment with a new short-form video. When you reply with a reel, it appears as an interactive sticker, which could be a great way to create deeper connections with your audience.
Keep in mind that not every comment deserves a reply, let alone a unique reel. If your account tends to receive a lot of spammy comments, you’ll want to pay close attention to Instagram’s enhanced options for filtering your DMs and hiding certain types of engagement, which Mosseri briefly mentioned in his 2022 priorities video.
If your brand already uses Instagram’s shopping tools to tag products in feed posts or add shoppable stickers to stories, then you can use similar features in reels. But driving revenue with reels may require some experimentation.
While product tags and stickers easily stand out in feed posts and stories, shoppable products tend to be much less obvious in reels. If you find that your reels aren’t prompting purchases, you may need to try other tactics to get followers to browse and buy.
For example, in the @treatbeauty reel below, the beauty brand uses a combination of text overlays, graphics, and a product reveal to highlight a popular item. To shop the product and other similar items, customers can tap the View Product tag and browse the brand’s Instagram shop.
No matter your marketing goals, engagement has always been important on Instagram. After all, high engagement rates can influence the algorithm to display your reels and posts more often. But in 2022, making memorable, engaging video content is likely to become even more important.
In January 2022, Mosseri announced Instagram’s plans for a new feed that features a user’s favorite accounts. As Mosseri explains in the video, the feed will allow users to view content from a select group of accounts rather than letting the Instagram algorithm determine what they see.
Naturally, the more your followers appreciate your content, the more likely they are to add you to their favorites feed. To position your account for the new feed rollout, review your brand’s video strategy plan and make sure the reels you’re planning to produce truly provide value and feature unique content that your audience can’t find elsewhere.
Getting a coveted spot in the favorites feed could be a great way to improve your video metrics and achieve your marketing goals. But it isn’t the only way to increase your views. Instagram has also teased a revived chronological feed, which would display content in order of publication. The platform intends to make all three options—chronological, favorites, and home—available sometime in 2022.
To make the most of the chronological feed, it’s more important than ever to publish short-form video content at the optimal time for your audience. To find the best time to post, use your Instagram Insights to see when your audience tends to be online.
Then experiment with publishing videos at the most popular times of day. Continue reviewing your content insights to pinpoint the perfect times to publish and then keep your output consistent.
In addition to a shift toward Reels in 2022, Mosseri has also expressed a renewed focus on creators. In January 2022, he announced that the platform is trying out a new Subscriptions feature. It allows creators to build better relationships with followers while monetizing content via livestreams, Stories, and badges.
If you intend to use this monetization opportunity when it’s widely available, now is a great time to start thinking about the exclusive content you could create for subscribers. For example, you might plan exclusive behind-the-scenes reels or livestreams with question-and-answer opportunities.
Despite the new emphasis on Reels, ads using this format remain much less common than feed or story ads. If you want to get your target audience’s attention as they browse short-form video content, there’s no better time to start running Instagram Reels ads.
For example, the @stoketalent reel ad below features a product demo video that walks users through how the freelancer management platform works. By highlighting clear benefits in text overlays, creating a clear CTA, and using detailed audience targeting, this reel ad can capture attention and get results in a relatively exclusive advertising space.
As Instagram increasingly focuses on Reels and creators, it’s important to shift your brand’s social media marketing strategy for 2022. Optimizing short-form video content, maximizing collaborations, and being prepared to experiment with new Reels features will better position you to increase visibility and grow your brand on Instagram.
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