Not only has Instagram announced it will be introducing a new feed algorithm, it is also rolling out the ability for creators to upload videos of up to 1 minute. That’s a game-changing four times the length of the current allowance. While Instagram, along with Vine, and Snapchat, has challenged brands to tell their stories in the shortest timeframes, this move will position the platform in an interesting middle ground that will give creators much more flexibility for the type of content that can published. My first reaction to this change is that it is a great one for both marketers, your average users and other content creators.
In the last six months, the time people spent watching video on Instagram has increased by more than 40%, so with the introduction of new functionality on the platform, we take a look at 4 easy ways video marketers can benefit even further from the changes.
#1 Add a Call to Action to Instagram Video Content
One of my biggest concerns with the change to the feed algorithm in Instagram is the importance of having a high level of engagement, driven by successful calls to action. The previous length for Instagram videos would have required a bit of a sacrifice in order to make a call to action work, but with the longer videos, there is now plenty of time to not only make a CTA, but get creative with it as well. This should allow content creators to have the time they need to make the videos they are used to, while still allowing some time for a meaningful call to action that should keep their content at the top of the new feed.
#2 Make the Most of the New Video Length
Reel SEO has already highlighted some key metrics around video engagement. For the data we studied, there was a peak for both Facebook and YouTube videos between 30 seconds and 60 seconds for the ratio of views to engagements. By expanding to a 60 second limit for video, Instagram should be increasing their level of exposure to its optimal limits, while leaving longer forms of video to the likes of Facebook and YouTube, for now. At that one-minute mark, I expect Instagram will get the optimal amount of engagement and exposure that makes it worth your time and effort to invest in the platform. For those who have been avoiding the limits on Vine and Snapchat, Instagram now provides a unique service that advertisers are much more comfortable working with, similar to traditional TV spots.
For brands like Ben & Jerry’s, the opportunity to create longer Instagram videos allows it to pack the content with even more compelling visuals. According to Tubular, the ice cream wizards generate an average 33% engagement for its Instagram uploads, so it’s obvious that fans and followers have an appetite for more (see what we did there?).
#3 Test Different Video Lengths to Find Sweet Spot
One danger to this increase could be users bailing out of the feed. Pictures and short videos are great at keeping users rolling from one piece of content to the next. Increasing the limit much farther than 60s could have had an adverse effect, causing users to abandon the feed. Targeting it at 60 seconds looks like a calculated move that shouldn’t adversely impact user experience, while still giving creators more time to work with their videos. Consider easing your viewers up to the 60 second limit, rather than pushing it all at once. While having the extra time is great to work with, it may take audiences a bit to get used to the idea.
#4 Take Time to Tell Your Brand’s Story
Certainly there is an art form and a challenge to making a good video. But at 60 seconds the editing process is much more forgiving than at 15 seconds. This change leaves room for a quality CTA, but more importantly it gives you more time to tell your story and connect with viewers. While brands could just dump 30 second and 60 second spots on Instagram, this is not very likely to be as successful as creating content with the audience in mind. There is flexibility now to repurpose content, but platform-specific content will usually elicit much better results from viewers. Mini have uploaded some incredibly engaging content to Instagram, but imagine how many more features it can now show off in future Instavids:
All users may not have these new features just yet, but they should be able to utilise them in the coming months if not sooner. Remember, Facebook is behind Instagram and they are pushing hard in online video. That success will be built on ad dollars if they continue down this path and as such I expect us to see more and more features that support advertisers. If Instagram can get their user’s approval on a longer video format that compliments their new feed algorithm, we should see users staying on the site longer and interacting with sponsored content more often.