How long has it been since you've reviewed your Instagram strategy? Have you adjusted for the latest Instagram video changes?
In this article, you’ll learn how to fine-tune your Instagram marketing strategy for the platform's video-centric experience.
Why Is Short-Form Video on Instagram Changing?
Over the past 2 years, Instagram has made a series of calculated shifts toward short-form video. Since launching Instagram Reels in August 2020, the platform has gradually enhanced its short-form video offering, from extending the maximum length to 90 seconds to introducing features like Remix and Dual.
In December 2021, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced the social media platform’s plan to double down on video. He confirmed that the platform would consolidate Instagram video formats around short-form content to continue to grow Instagram Reels.
In July 2022, Meta announced that Instagram had officially begun to consolidate Instagram video formats. Essentially, the immersive and interactive nature of Instagram reels makes them much more engaging so Instagram intends to guide users toward this format.
If you’ve been paying attention to Instagram’s move toward short-form video, then you may have already begun producing more Instagram reels. In that case, you’ve got a head start on reacting to these changes.
But an effective response requires more than just repeating your tried-and-true formula for short-form Instagram video. Here are a few additional aspects to consider as you continue to refine your strategy:
- Instagram Video posts: Instagram will begin phasing out the ability to create new Instagram video posts and start guiding users to create reels instead. That means it’s important to master reels and know how to leverage them for your brand.
- Instagram Profile tabs: Instagram will begin displaying all Instagram videos—including reels and video posts—on a single Profile tab. That means you may need to reconsider your Instagram video thumbnails and aesthetics.
- Instagram Discovery opportunities: Instagram may recommend reels from public accounts including business and creator accounts. That means with reels, you may uncover new ways to increase the reach of your short-form Instagram videos.
- Instagram Reels features: Instagram continues to roll out new tools for creating short-form Instagram video content. That means you’ll want to watch for new features so you can keep building on your results.
#1: How to Adjust Instagram Video Strategy Moving Forward
Instagram video format consolidation began in July 2022 and should affect every account within a few weeks of the initial rollout. Once it reaches your account, you’ll want to make two critical changes in response to the new Instagram video specs.
Consider Your Short-Form Video Grid
Going forward, all Instagram videos under 15 minutes will appear on a single tab, regardless of format. Although the new short-form video tab has a Reels icon, older video posts won’t convert into reels. Instead, all existing video content retains its original format.
Instagram has been testing various aspect ratios for grids. Many accounts’ profile grids continue to display square images with a 1:1 aspect ratio, yet their short-form Instagram video grids use a vertical 9:16 aspect ratio that’s compatible with Reels. So which aspect ratio should you use for Instagram video cover images?
For future video content, always use cover images with a 9:16 aspect ratio. That way, they’ll display correctly as reels and they’ll also look great on your short-form Instagram video grid. Although you can’t currently edit covers for existing Instagram video posts, you can make sure they display correctly going forward.
Center Your Strategy on Reels
While your existing Instagram video posts won’t go away, future Instagram video posts will be shared as reels. When you go to create new video content in the Instagram app, you’ll still have the option to create an Instagram video post. But once you film new video content or add an existing clip, Instagram will automatically convert your post into a reel.
If the video content you chose or filmed has an aspect ratio other than 9:16, you’ll see a prompt encouraging you to convert it to a full-screen Instagram video. You certainly have the option to keep the existing aspect ratio but your content may not perform well in the Reels feed. To switch your content to 9:16, tap the full-screen button in the upper-left corner.
Then spot-check your Instagram video to make sure it displays correctly in the new format. Unfortunately, you can’t move the frame to adjust what displays in the full-screen format. So if the full-screen conversion cuts off some key visual elements from your video, your best bet is to reshoot the content or use a third-party tool to edit the file.
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For future Instagram posts, it’s a good idea to focus on full-screen reels. That way, you can be confident your Instagram video marketing content will display correctly without extensive editing. If you need some new ideas for creating reels, keep an eye on what other brands in your space are producing and take a look at the short-form video tools below.
#2: Use These Instagram Short-Form Video Tools
Wondering how you can start producing more reels on a small budget or with limited resources? Let’s look at Instagram’s new options for creating and collaborating.
Reel and Video Remix
Want to share your brand’s take on a hot topic, provide helpful advice, or participate in a meme? With Instagram’s Remix tool, you can create content that responds to or builds on existing Instagram videos.
To create a remix, find an original video to use as a starting point. You can remix your own Instagram videos as well as other accounts’ content as long as the remix option is enabled. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the post and select Remix This Reel.
By default, remixes display the two Instagram videos side by side, with the original video on the left and the new one on the right. But you can tap the layout icon at the bottom of the menu to change the display. You can also use a green screen to film your response with the original content in the background or feature the original video in a dual-style window.
Once you record or upload your response, you can access all of the typical Reels editing tools. For example, you can add a voiceover, replace the original music, or mix the music with your own audio. Similar to a standard reel, you can also add text, stickers, and effects.
Although you can certainly tag the original creator in the remix or caption, you don’t necessarily need to do so. Instagram automatically credits the creator on published remixes so anyone can tap to view the original content.
After expanding its Remix tool to include all videos in January 2022, Instagram began rolling out Remix for photo posts in July 2022. Now you can remix photo posts, turning static content into short-form videos.
For the most part, the photo Remix tool works the same as the reel and video Remix tool. But there’s one key difference. Currently, photo remixes don’t allow layout changes. That means photo remixes always display content side by side, with the original photo on the left and the new content on the right.
When you create a photo remix, you have the option to add photos or videos to the conversation. Instagram automatically displays photos for 5 seconds but you can trim them so they display for a much shorter period.
Like reel and Instagram video remixes, photo remixes let you choose from all of the standard Reels editing tools. You can choose audio, write text overlays, add stickers, and apply effects. When you publish a photo remix, Instagram automatically tags and notifies the original creator.
Remixes aren’t your only option for joining a conversation or responding to a situation. With Instagram’s Dual Camera feature, you can film new content while filming yourself providing commentary.
Dual uses your device’s main camera and selfie camera simultaneously. One displays in the main part of your reel, and the other displays in a window in the upper-right corner of your reel. You can tap the camera icon in the lower-right corner to change which Instagram feed displays in the window. Like remixes, reels that use dual can access all of the standard editing tools.
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Want to create original Reels content but don’t want to figure out the pacing or audio yourself? Reels templates make it much easier to get started. There are two places to find Reels templates. You can tap the Use Template button on Reels in your Instagram feed or select Templates from the Reels creation screen.
When you find one you want to use, you’ll see a prompt to add your own media to various timed spots in the template. Select a photo or Instagram video for each spot and trim them as necessary to fit the template. Then use the standard Reels editing tools to add finishing touches to your short-form Instagram video marketing content.
While Reels doesn’t have as many sticker options as Instagram Stories, the balance is changing as Instagram continues to roll out interactive options for Reels. In addition to captions and GIFs, you can add emoji slides to prompt viewers to react to your reel.
To encourage them to choose an option, you can use multiple-choice polls or quizzes. The Add Yours sticker is also a good option for getting viewers to respond by contributing their own photo content.
#3: How to Analyze Traditional Short-Form Video vs. Reels Video
If you’re used to monitoring metrics for Instagram video marketing posts, you’ll need to shift your approach to fit Instagram’s new emphasis on Reels. As of August 2022, Reels Insights are pretty limited compared to Post Insights. However, that could change, given the platform’s continued focus on Reels.
First, let’s cover the metrics you can track for Reels. Although Creator Studio recently started supporting published reels, the available metrics are limited to likes and comments. (It’s still better than Meta Business Suite, which doesn’t provide Reels metrics at all.)
For more detail, check the Reels Insights in the Instagram app. In addition to likes and comments, you can view shares and saves for your reels. You can also see the total number of plays and accounts your reel reached, which can help you track how many people are seeing and watching your content.
These in-app Reels Insights also break down the metrics for Facebook and Instagram. If you’ve opted to share your reel across both platforms, these insights can help you understand which is best for your content. Using these insights, you can make better decisions about where to focus your energy.
Video Post Metrics
As helpful as Instagram’s Reels metrics may be, they’re a far cry from the platform’s Post Insights. Historically, Instagram Post Insights have gone far beyond basic reach and engagement metrics.
In-app post insights reveal who engaged with a breakdown of followers and non-followers so you can understand the type of content that helps you reach a wider audience. They also reflect profile activity including visits, follows, contact button taps, and link taps so you can see what helps you grow your audience and move prospects through your funnel.
Creator Studio metrics have historically provided even more discovery-related insights. For example, you can see the source of your impressions, which can help you understand how your audience finds your content.
Since individual reels don’t offer these more in-depth insights, how can you access this type of data? Although it isn’t exact, the Instagram app does offer a workaround. From your Instagram profile, tap Insights and select one of the timeframe options.
In the Insights Overview section, tap to focus on Reach, Engagement, or Followers. Each of these tabs offers a follower vs. non-follower breakdown so you can get a better sense of who’s viewing your content.
On the Reach tab, you can see a follower vs. non-follower breakdown for each content type. Although it doesn’t separate the reach into individual reels, it does help you assess whether reels are truly helping you reach new users.
You can also access profile activity insights from this interface. You can see how many profile visits, follows, and link or button taps your account has accumulated during the time period but you can’t see specific posts that contributed to the activity.
To find what works best for your account and your audience, continue to test new types of content including the new tools we covered above. Then compare performance every week to see if you can identify what type of content is best for reaching your goals.
3 Examples of Effective Short-Form Video
Looking for inspiration to improve your brand’s short-form video strategy? Take a look at a few great examples of effective reels.
This @leadpages reel seamlessly walks users through the landing page builder’s image manager. By using branded graphics and explanatory text overlays, the short-form video introduces a new feature and points viewers toward additional resources.
Below, the @aldiusa reel encourages viewers to participate in a unique promotion: a wedding at an Aldi store. The short-form video keeps viewers engaged with a mix of video and photo clips and directs them to enter the contest via the link in the brand’s bio.
The @counterculturecoffee reel below includes photos rather than Instagram videos, displaying them at a rapid clip to keep viewers engaged. This short-form video takes advantage of the platform’s Template feature, which viewers can tap to reuse with their own content.
As Instagram continues to consolidate the platform around short-form video, it’s essential to adapt your Instagram video marketing strategies. From leveraging the new tools to monitoring the right metrics, use the tips above to create an Instagram video strategy that works for your business.
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