Creating engaging video content for Instagram requires thoughtful planning and strategic execution. With over 1 billion monthly active users on the platform, you have an immense opportunity to connect with a massive audience if you can consistently produce creative and compelling videos.
In this post, we’ll explore the key elements of engaging Instagram videos and provide actionable tips to help you make content that resonates with viewers and accomplishes your marketing objectives.
Tips to Boost Instagram Engagement and Views
Craft Stories That Captivate Viewers
The foundation of an engaging Instagram video is a compelling story. Take some time to brainstorm video ideas that will interest your target audience and inspire them to watch until the very end.
- Focus on creating relatable experiences and narratives that viewers will find amusing, fascinating or emotionally resonant. Tap into their feelings, challenges and interests.
- Build your storyline around a central theme or message you want to convey. This gives your video a sense of purpose beyond entertainment.
- Use elements of mystery or unexpected reveals to pique viewer curiosity and make them eager to see how your video unfolds.
- Incorporate humor when appropriate to your brand. Comedic videos tend to perform very well if executed thoughtfully.
The goal is to develop truly captivating video stories that hold attention rather than quick snippets of content people scroll past. Take your viewers on a journey that elicits reactions and leaves a lasting impression.
Optimize Your Video for Mobile
With the vast majority of Instagram engagement happening on mobile, it’s crucial to optimize your video for smaller screens.
- Frame shots in portrait mode and size your video to Instagram’s maximum resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels.
- Ensure important visual elements are toward the center and fill up significant portion of the screen.
- Use large text that is clearly legible on mobile. Avoid complex or small fonts.
- Add subtitles and captions not only for accessibility but increased watch time. Many viewers watch silently.
- Keep clips short, around 15 seconds maximum. Attention spans are lower on mobile.
- Use interesting transitions and effects between clips, but don’t overdo it. Keep the focus on your story.
Creating video content specifically tailored to a mobile experience will substantially boost watch time and engagement.
Hook Viewers Within the First 3 Seconds
You only have a tiny window to grab the viewer’s interest before they keep scrolling. Maximize the impact of your opening shot and scene to immediately draw them into your video.
- Start with eye-catching visuals in vibrant colors that stand out in the feed.
- Feature people’s faces rather than objects to forge an instant emotional connection.
- Use text overlays to present your key message or video purpose right up front.
- Add animations or visual effects to create movement and excitement.
- Incorporate upbeat music or energetic sounds to capture attention.
- Ask a compelling question or tease an appealing reward for watching.
Experiment with different opening hooks to determine what works best to seize your audience’s interest and incentivize them to keep watching your video.
Maintain Momentum With Smooth Transitions
Keep your Instagram videos feeling cohesive and energized by smoothly transitioning from one scene or topic to the next.
- Use basic editing transitions like fades, wipes or slides between clips and segments.
- Add motion graphics, animations or subtle effects when moving to a new section.
- Include establishing shots of settings or quick cutaways to related objects to link scenes.
- Change the music tempo, add sound effects or alter the voiceover tone when shifting gears.
- Overlay simple text on the transition clip summarizing the new topic or theme.
- Speed up the pace and use more cuts when transitioning into higher energy segments.
- Slow it down with longer cross-dissolves when moving into more emotional or serious content.
Polished transitions that complement your storyline will help videos flow naturally and prevent jarring jumps between disparate scenes.
Shoot Multiple Video Styles and Angles
Recording video clips from an assortment of angles with different framing approaches will provide you with diverse assets to intersperse throughout your video. This adds visual interest to your edit.
- Capture medium shots, close-ups, wide shots, pans and camera movement during filming.
- Shoot handheld, tripod and stabilizer footage for variety.
- Film different scenes and objects related to your topic beyond key characters.
- Gather B-roll clips of environments, textures, products etc. for cutaway shots.
- Record video selfie-style, as if sharing directly with the viewer.
- Mix vertical and horizontal orientations. Many apps allow this now.
Compiling a range of perspectives and video styles will help you avoid repetitive angles and create a more dynamic viewing experience.
Plan and Script Your Video
While some types of content depend on being unscripted or ad-hoc, most creators will benefit from planning their videos so that they feel more structured and organized.
Audiences tend to prefer videos with a clear beginning, middle, and end, but this is especially important for narrative videos that are trying to tell a story. It’s also essential if you are trying to communicate a specific message, such as a call to action that encourages viewers to check out a product or service.
Whether you’re making educational content or crafting direct video advertisements, don’t forget to plan for Instagram’s ideal technical specifications. Details ranging from video resolution and frame rate to Instagram ad size and aspect ratio should be planned in advance to avoid wasting precious time and resources.
Maintain Consistent Branding and Aesthetics
While you want variety within your video content, it should still align with your core brand identity and style. Maintain cohesive aesthetics through your visuals, music, editing and other elements.
- Use your brand colors, fonts and logo throughout the video for instant recognition.
- Feature your products/services and other brand touchpoints where possible.
- Select music that fits your brand personality – energizing, serious, fun etc.
- Edit with standard transitions and effects you use regularly in videos.
- Show team members, locations and brand imagery to reinforce your identity.
- Adhere to the overall tone and style of your brand’s content across channels.
Consistent branding enhances familiarity while creative videos provide fresh, engaging experiences for your audience. Find the right balance.
An often overlooked tactic for boosting engagement is to add captions to your videos. A surprising number of Instagram and other social media platform users explore content with the sound turned off, and captions are a relatively simple way to increase the odds that someone who sees your video will stop scrolling long enough for you to get your message across.
Captions also make your content more accessible, and because the text can be crawled and indexed by search engines, they can even give your videos an SEO advantage.
Close With a Clear Call-To-Action
Every Instagram video should direct the viewer toward one strategic call-to-action at the end that supports your goals.
- Have an explicit CTA overlay like “Shop this look!” or prompt to follow your page.
- Direct people to click your link in bio for more information.
- Suggest viewers take a specific step like sign up, share or enter a contest.
- Loop back to your original hook and reinforce your key message.
- End on a cliffhanger that leaves them eager for more.
Solidify what you want viewers to do next and make your CTA overlay simple and obvious. Track click-throughs to optimize.
By taking a thoughtful approach to Instagram video content with compelling stories, strategic formatting, hooks, transitions, diverse angles, consistent branding and clear calls-to-action, you can produce truly engaging videos that connect with your target audience and accomplish business objectives. Test and refine based on performance data. With the right creative strategy and execution, Instagram offers immense potential to build your brand and customer base through video.
Frequently Asked Questions
What video length tends to perform best on Instagram?
- 15-30 seconds is the recommended sweet spot. You can go up to 60 seconds maximum but shorter videos often get more full watches.
How much video content should I post to Instagram weekly?
- 1-2 videos per week is a solid goal. You can do more but avoid flooding followers’ feeds. Quality over quantity.
What’s better -IGTV videos or Reels?
- Currently Reels see much higher engagement and reach. Focus there. Use IGTV for extended videos or repurposed YouTube content.
Should I spend money promoting Instagram videos?
- Yes, it’s worth testing boosted posts and ads especially for high-value videos. Measure results to optimize your targeting and costs.
How can I drive more traffic from Instagram videos to my website?
- Include your website URL prominently on video components. Text overlays, captions and your profile link all help direct traffic.
What types of videos generate the most engagement on Instagram?
- Funny, entertaining content and “behind the scenes” videos tend to perform very well and garner high engagement.
How important are subtitles and captions on Instagram videos?
- Extremely important not just for accessibility but increased watch time. Enable auto-captioning at minimum or add manually.
What apps do you recommend for easily creating quality Instagram videos?
- Quik, Splice, iMovie, Adobe Premiere Rush and InShot are great options with lots of capabilities for mobile video editing.
Should I use hashtags in the captions for my Instagram videos?
- Yes, relevant hashtags help more users discover your videos. Research top hashtags in your niche and include a mix of popular and specific tags.