What’s With Video on Instagram?

All I talk about these days is video- GIFs, Boomerangs, live streaming, informational, funny, unexpected, social quality, 360 degree, and more. We are creating a ton of amazing videos for our clients and for ourselves and our organic reach and engagement is better than ever on Facebook. But what is happening on Instagram?

Our strategists blanche when I ask them to post more video on Instagram. Their reluctance comes from some strong data points- video just doesn’t perform as well as photos on Instagram. I get that Instagram was developed around the concept of posting really amazing photos for those that appreciate high-quality visuals. It was the opposite of Facebook and Twitter which were developed based on sharing text. Facebook posts still have text on top and photos or videos below, while Instagram prioritizes the visual on top with text below.

But, Instagram has since been acquired by Facebook and we have seen a bevy of new features that prioritize Facebook features- advertising, the addition of video and increasing videos from :15 to 1:00, and multi-photo/video posts to name a few. Facebook clearly prioritizes video and it has higher organic reach than any other post type. Mark Zuckerberg has said that the majority of Facebook content will by video by 2021. He has also made it clear that Facebook is investing in Facebook Live (have you seen the commercials and advertising?) and immersive content/VR (360 degree videos). Both forms of video provide for much higher organic reach for our clients. SO…

Why hasn’t Facebook prioritized video in their Instagram algorithm? Is it because of the nature of how people use Instagram? People generally scroll through Instagram pretty quickly- they either like the post or not. Quick double tap and there is a heart and then I move on.

I decided to dig into this some more- my strategists feel like the videos they post on Instagram aren’t as well liked based on “likes,” but we know there can be a lot more to social than likes. What about comments, what about views (and 3 seconds counts as a view)? A recent review of top publishers on Instagram by NewsWhip found that video might actually elicit more comments rather than likes which may indicate deeper engagement. I also suspect that shorter form videos like video memes, Boomerangs, and GIFs might be better suited for Instagram, so that users can still scroll quickly. Some of these top performing videos in the review were short or you got the point immediately.

We will continue to watch and analyze video on Instagram and we will definitely continue to create engaging video content for our clients. I think strategy will continue to be refined as algorithms change and tastes evolve. So more to come!

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