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Instagram Video: The Ultimate Guide to Feed Videos, Stories, Lives, and Reels

Instagram video is having a massive moment right now, thanks to Reels, Stories, and Lives, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

Instagram’s Adam Mosseri shared that one of the platform’s priorities in 2022 will be to double-down on video, commenting that it’s “no longer just a photo-sharing app.” 

The takeaway? Video content on Instagram – love it or hate it – is here to stay. 

To help you create your own, we’re breaking down each Instagram video format along with tips and best practices.  

Instagram Video: Formats, Specs, and Dimensions (+ Infographic!)

There are four main Instagram video formats, each with its own recommended specs and dimensions:

  1. Instagram Stories
  2. Instagram Feed Videos
  3. Instagram Reels
  4. Instagram Lives 

Format 1: Instagram Stories – Specs and Dimensions

Instagram Stories are the shortest video format and disappear after 24 hours (unless you save them to an Instagram Stories Highlight).

Stories can be used for daily, informal, and conversational content. They also have an array of stickers you can use to interact with your community.

How long can Instagram Stories be?

  • 15 seconds. However, Instagram is currently testing extending them to 60 seconds

Specs and Dimensions:

  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Recommended Dimensions: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Format #2: Instagram Feed Videos – Specs and Dimensions

Instagram merged IGTV and Feed videos into one single format – providing a clearer distinction between Reels.

These videos live directly on your grid – and similar to Reels, they now have their own tab on your profile.

Depending on the type of content you’re sharing videos can be shared weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

How long can Instagram feed videos be?

  • 60 minutes! Perfect for long-form content.

Specs and Dimensions:

  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1.91:1 and 9:16
  • Maximum File Size: 650MB for videos 10 minutes or less
  • Maximum File Size: 3.6GB for videos up to 60 minutes

Format 3: Instagram Reels – Specs and Dimensions 

Instagram Reels are short, vertical videos that are great for reaching new eyes – especially via the dedicated Reels feed. 

As the newest Instagram video format, it’s the perfect testing ground! 

Start experimenting with Reels content once or twice a week to see what resonates with your target audience. Who knows, you might go viral.

How Long Can Instagram Reels be?

  • 60 seconds, but try to keep them on the shorter side. 

Specs and Dimensions:

  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Recommended Dimensions: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Format 4: Instagram Lives – Specs and Dimensions

Instagram Lives are unedited videos streamed in real-time that can then be saved and shared on your feed.

They’re great for connecting with your community on a more personal level, but depending on your capacity, could be done monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly.

How Long Can Instagram Lives be?

  • 4 hours – have fun!

Specs and Dimensions:

  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Recommended Dimensions: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Instagram Video: Tips and Best Practices 

Now that you know what dimensions you’ll need for each video format, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas, storyboarding, and filming content!

Tip 1: Create High Quality Video Content 

Whether it’s Instagram Stories or Reels, posting high-quality content is easier for users to consume. 

In other words: blurry, low-resolution videos are out. Luckily, you can film professional-looking videos right at home!

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • A good camera – this can be your smartphone, webcam, or laptop camera. Don’t forget a tripod too!
  • Bright lighting – sit somewhere that gets bright, natural light, or invest in a ring light.
  • Clear audio – record in a quiet area or buy an external microphone. 

Tip 2: Tell a Story 

The goal of every video on Instagram is to either: entertain, educate, or inspire your audience. 

But with short attention spans, you have to hook viewers in right away and keep them interested. 

Tip 3: Show Up On Camera 

We get it – showing up on camera can be nerve-wracking. 

But it can help to personalize your brand and build trust with viewers.

Start with Instagram Stories to grow your confidence. Stories can be informal and interactive, so think of yourself as having a conversation with a friend.

If you don’t want to do it solo, consider co-hosting an Instagram Live with another person to do a product demo, share industry news, or discuss a topic of interest.

TIP: Try storyboarding or drafting a loose script before you press record. You can also prep for your Instagram Lives with the new “Practice Mode” feature.

Tip 4: Use Captions and/or Subtitles

With many people watching videos without sound, using captions and subtitles is a no-brainer.

And even better, they make your videos more accessible to those who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

While Instagram Stories has an auto-captioning sticker, it isn’t perfect. So remember to review and edit them before you post.

TIP: Use clear font colors, or take it a step further and add a solid background color to your subtitles so they’re easier to read.

Conclusion

Instagram video content is slowly becoming more and more integrated on the platform – whether it feeds full of Reels, nonstop Stories, or monthly Lives. 

So if you want to build brand awareness, promote your products, or connect with your community, videos can be a surefire way to drum up engagement and reach more eyes. 

Chibueze Okonmah

Chibueze is the team lead at Thinkdigiads which was founded back in 2016 with the aim of helping small businesses sell their goods and services with over 5 years of experience in digital marketing and a speciality in paid advertisement and business strategy. After dropping out of school and left with no choice but to be creative, he started the company which has helped thousands of businesses sell out online and today is a certified Digital Marketing Strategist.

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