While initially a fun platform to showcase your photographer side, Instagram allowed users to unleash all their creativity with videos soon after. And since its inception back in 2013, Instagram videos have evolved quite a bit.
Its dynamic features and multiple formats to experiment with make the platform a favorite for inventive creators out there. Through all kinds of content—whether entertainment, educational, culinary recipes, or anything that can be captured on video—they engage users of all backgrounds and tastes.
An Instagram video strategy can potentially open doors for you to leverage your value proposal and reach new users to converse with. But to attract a crowd that interacts and looks forward to your content, you must wow them with videos that drive their interest and foster trust.
To give you a sense of the items to watch for a video content strategy, we’re going to tell you all about the five key elements of Instagram videos. We’ll show you many options and tips you can use to maximize your performance.
Choose Your Format
One of the key decisions you need to make on Instagram video is the format in which to upload your content. Each has unique specifications and strengths, but you can bring greater visibility to your message if used in combination.
In-Feed. Up to one minute long, the videos on your timeline are your first introduction to users and where you can expect more comments and interactions. You can choose to upload individual posts or split them for the gallery view.
Stories. The place for which you want to brainstorm new ideas each day. You can use your stories to record in-house videos to interact with followers, but also to cross-promote content, whether by sharing your other videos or by adapting longer pieces into clips that fit 15-second story cards.
Reels. Another cool way to interact with audiences. In a matter of seconds, you can show your audience handy DIY videos for them to take home or join the latest trend to show your fun side!
IGTV. You can think of this as a library to store longer videos. If you have high-production videos that deserve to be seen in full or offered a live workshop or interview that would be of interest to your viewers, be sure to upload them to your IGTV channel.
Most Popular Types of Video on Instagram
Just as you have a range of formats to upload your content, there are different classes of videos that you can use to share your message. Some of the most welcome among users include:
Teaser videos. Give your followers a taste of the range of your brand’s offerings. Create short videos where you show different aspects of your solution, such as your product features or sneak previews of what it is intended for.
Behind-the-scenes. Take your followers backstage to give them an exclusive view of what goes on in your company. For example, give users a tour of your offices, warehouse, or studio, or rather show them your team working in action.
How-to videos. Teach users how to make new recipes, crafts, or even give them new ideas for their training routines through video tutorials. These pieces are not only attractive and useful to users: you can also leverage them to offer a video demonstration of your products and highlight their functions.
User-generated videos. Nothing fosters more trust among followers than the content created by other users. If you have friendly relationships with past customers, kindly ask them to post testimonials showing their endorsement of your products. Then, share these pieces in your stories where followers can see them.
Anticipate for Sound Off
By default, Instagram videos autoplay without sound, and users have to activate them manually. Therefore, it’s important to strive not only to make your piece look visually stunning during the first few seconds—it’s just as essential to make your message intelligible at first sight.
When editing your piece, try to add text to help the user better grasp what your video is about. There are a couple of ways you can do this, such as:
Adding moving graphic titles, to engage them with flowing, colorful text that tells them about the video’s content.
Including text-only images, as frames that feature a written message on a plain background, so you can directly state your video’s purpose.
Closed-captioning your piece, to help the viewer follow the progress of narration or dialogue without having to listen.
Similarly, when your stories depend on sound, you should indicate this to your followers. For this, a “Sound On” GIF can be useful and eye-catching for them to activate their audio.
Make Your Thumbnails Stand!
To come across as a trustworthy brand, it’s vital to take care of your Instagram profile’s esthetics. Not only will an optimized profile give a good glimpse of your professionalism, but if it looks interesting, it will motivate users to explore your content.
In practice, that means paying attention to your bio, profile pic, and handle. But perhaps nothing is as important as creating attractive custom thumbnails for your videos.
A cool thumbnail will tell your followers that your video is worth watching. But to produce a design that cries “click me!” to users, you need to consider these elements:
Use powerful imagery. Show what your audience wants to see and don’t settle for randomly chosen stills. For example, if your video is a cupcake recipe, the thumbnail should feature the most appetizing picture of the finished product.
Keep it clutter-free. Add text overlays only to let followers know about the value of the video, but nothing more.
Use contrasting colors. Standout backgrounds are not only useful for making the text readable but also for directing users’ attention to a focal point.
Grow Your Influence Through Instagram Analytics
By using Instagram for a while, you’ll become familiar with the platform’s features and your audience’s behavior. Increasingly, you’ll have a better idea about what kind of content generates the most impressions and what your followers like and engage with.
But with Instagram Analytics you have a reliable tool to track your progress and plan your video strategy forward. This function offers data on your profile’s overall performance over time, giving you accurate information of what’s worked for you in the past.
If you run an Instagram Business profile, some of the key metrics you’ll find are:
Engagement rate. To see how well your content resonates with your viewers.
Audience demographics. Knowing where most of your followers come from can help you figure out the best times of the day to post videos.
Hashtag performance. To review whether you’re using relevant keywords to attract new viewers.
Instagram story metrics. You want to get a sense of how your daily stories perform in terms of replies, taps back and forth, and exits to optimize your content there.
As you’ve seen, there is no shortcut to success with Instagram videos. At every turn, you must make crucial choices about every aspect of your strategy. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new formulas: your experience and imagination are your best assets for creating a memorable presence on the platform!
“It’s hard to hire; it’s hard to train; it’s hard to keep people from burning out. To make matters worse, these challenges have intensified so swiftly that leaders have hardly had time to digest them, let alone mount a defense.”
That’s the main takeaway from “The State of Marketing Operations: 2022,” a new report from junior marketing ops training platform Highway Education and ABM leader Demandbase. The findings were based primarily on a survey of 800 marketing operations professionals from organizations of all sizes, more than half from mid-sized companies.
The demand for talent. The vastly accelerated shift to digital marketing — not to mention sales and service — has led inflated demand for MOps talent, a demand the market can’t keep up with. Two results: burnout as too much is demanded of MOps professionals; and turnover, as it’s easy to find alternative opportunities. The outcome for companies is the growing burden of hiring and training replacements.
Use of marketing software has grown two and a half times in less than ten years, according to the report, and the number of marketing operations professionals, across organizations of all sizes, has increased by two-thirds. Use of marketing automation alone has grown 228% since 2016, and there has been a 66% growth in the size of MOps teams just since 2020.
Perhaps most remarkable, 93% of MOps professionals learned on the job.
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Why we care. Providing beginner MOps training services, Highway Education clearly has an interest in this data. At the same time, there can be little doubt that the demand for MOps talent is real and growing. If there’s a surprising figure here, it’s that use of marketing software has grown only two and a half times in the last decade.
AWS MOps leader Darrell Alfonso, quoted in the report, says: “There’s a disconnect between marketing strategy and the actual execution — what it takes to actually operationalize and bring a strategy to life. Leadership, especially the ‘old guard,’ will be more familiar with traditional methods like field marketing and commercials. But now, during the pandemic and post, there’s an entire digital world that needs to be managed by people who know what they’re doing.”
Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.
A new Senate antitrust bill could make Google, Facebook and Amazon divest portions of their ad businesses.
The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act (S4285) would prevent large ad companies from participating on different sides of the ad transaction chain. It would ban them from operating more than one of these functions: supply-side brokers selling publisher ad space, demand-side brokers selling ads, or ad exchanges connecting buyers and sellers.
The bill, introduced yesterday by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), bans companies earning more than $20 billion in annual digital advertising revenue from participating in the online ad ecosystem in a way that creates conflicting interests.
It also imposes consumer protection rules similar to ones governing financial trading. Under the law, businesses with more than $5 billion in digital ad transactions annually would have to:
Act in the best interest of customers by getting the best bids for ads.
Provide transparency customers can verify that.
Create firewalls between their buying and selling operations if they are allowed to operate both.
Treat all customers the same concerning performance and information related to transactions, exchange processes, and functionality.
“Digital advertising is dominated by Google and Facebook,” Sen. Lee said in a statement. “Google, in particular, is the leading or dominant player in every part of the ad tech stack: buy-side, sell-side, and the exchange that connects them. For example, Google Ad Manager is used by 90% of large publishers, and in the third quarter of 2018 it served 75% of all online display ad impressions. Google uses its pervasive market power across the digital advertising ecosystem, and exploits numerous conflicts of interest, to extract monopoly rents and stack the deck in its favor. These monopoly rents function as a tax — upwards of 40% — on every ad supported website and every business that advertises online, collectively a huge segment of the modern economy.”
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The new law is a response to the anti-competitive practices Google has been accused of. These include Project Bernanke, the focus of an antitrust lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of more than a dozen states. The suit claims Google ensured ads booked via its AdX system would win ad space auctions.
“The conflicts of interest are so glaring that one Google employee described Google’s ad business as being like ‘if Goldman or Citibank owned the NYSE,’” Sen. Lee said.
Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.