Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Video (Part 2)

Instagram video content is all the rage and becoming pivotal in social media marketing. With that in mind, we decided to dig into this phenom to find out what the deal is with Instagram clips. The result is a 3-part series dedicated to the rise of recorded visual content on social media.

Last time, we ruminated over the highest performing video categories on Instagram. In this second installment, we cover everything relating to video content types and what kind of edits tend to resonate with audiences. This is going to be like candy to all you smart marketers out there.

Ready, set, play! (volume up)


If Gigi's in the game, you know it's a hot one.

There's no two ways about it, video is in the midst of a social renaissance (vidaissance?), being hailed as the medium of the future. We have YouTube and Snapchat to thank for that, and Instagram most certainly does NOT want to be left behind on this one, no sir, no ma'am. The app has made huge strides to let the world know that video is of top priority thanks to a ton of new updates that benefit the use of clips (cough, Stories, cough).

While the first part of our series focused on engagement, this second episode narrows in on the most popular formats we see being employed across the board. What kind of video edits are being used most by companies and resonating best with users? We're about to find out.

In part 1, we discovered that extreme sports, beauty, and fitness were the industries whose fan base was most keen on traditional video content. On the flip side, we're discovering that brands from all other categories are using various video formats to tell their story. While they may not see engagement rates as high as the aforementioned, the use of supershort motion pictures for these companies are nonetheless an integral part of their social strategies, and have reaped many a double tap thanks to them.

In order to figure out which video edits are the most popular on Instagram, we excavated data from their respective hashtags (cause hashtags make the world go 'round, in case you haven't heard), and learned which ones had the edge in terms of reach. This allowed us to suss out high quality, high performing brand content from the past summer to determine just how it all plays in to social media content strategy.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

The 3 most popular video formats based on hashtag reach are:

1. #Boomerang - 467 M impressions in the past 4 weeks

In case you haven’t noticed, this little video-loop app has taken the world by storm since Instagram launched it last year. Boomerang produces fun 1 second video loops, which are the perfect length (aka short) to get users watching in this nonexistent attention span day and age. There are a few other apps that provide this effect, but there's no arguing that this style is #1.

Boom to the rang, the following examples crushed it in terms of view rate:

@balmain
View Rate: 5.3%

ON THE MOVE @KylieJenner wearing a #BALMAINPF16 top in Los Angeles. #BALMAINARMY

A video posted by BALMAIN (@balmain) on

Krushing it like only a Kardashian Jenner kan.


@netflix
View Rate: 2.7%

Drop the needle on #TheGetDown!

A video posted by Netflix US (@netflix) on

DJ spin that sh*t!


2. #StopMotion – 7M impressions in the past 4 weeks

These quick and eye-catching clips provide movement, but are generally employed in more product-focused scenarios. They use the same principle as a cartoon, where it's a series of photos looped quickly one after the other to make the image progress and transform.

High-performing stop motions are always centered around product:

@sothebys
View Rate: 3.28%

A short and sweet moment with Kate.

@urbanoutfitters
View Rate: 2.2%

Stack 'em up! All books are now 20% off in stores and online for a limited time. 📚 #UOHome

A video posted by Urban Outfitters (@urbanoutfitters) on

This is one way to make back-to-school fun.


3. #Cinemagraph - 4M impressions in the past 4 weeks

If you’re looking for a motion format that is not only attention-grabbing (@airbnb has been known to dabble), but also visually stunning, the cinemagraph is the one for you. At first, the cinemagraph appears to be a static image, until you suddenly notice a little detail flickering in the photo. Prepare to be mesmerized.

Less common but oh so bang-on, you'll never look at photos the same way again:

@onekingslane
View Rate: 8.2%

Bring the wanderlust indoors. ✨Tap the link in our profile to shop this well-traveled look.✨ #OKLCollections

A video posted by One Kings Lane (@onekingslane) on

Let the globes take a hold of you.


@airbnb
View Rate: 5.2%

Note to self: never post a crappy pic of fireworks again, ever.


What's been interesting to note when digging into the motion format varieties is that we didn’t see the same industry leaders that we did in part 1. The brands featured above don't warrant how-to videos and are not expected to provide instructional content to their audience, as they are more focused on aesthetics.

This enables more flexibility with Instagram content, particularly video. It allows those brands to cast a wider net in terms of experimentation to better break down what type of recorded visuals should be weaved into their social media strategy to make it more robust. The many eye-catching (yet short and soundless!) ways to bring content to life are there for the taking, brands just need give them a go to determine what their followers are responding positively to.

Want more? Check out our full video series 📽


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