(This advanced blog summarizes real growth insights Demand Curve has acquired from running marketing for hundreds of companies.)
The maximum length for an Instagram Story video is 15 seconds.
How does that compare to other Instagram placements?
Instagram Story videos are shorter than the “story” format of other social media networks:
Here’s a trick to get around the 15-second limit: You can string multiple 15-second clips together to make a longer video. But, is it better to use long videos or short videos?
Let’s take a look at how to make either format work for you. You’ll also learn how to make an Instagram Story video that gets people to click.
How to post longer videos: If you want to post a video to Instagram Stories that’s longer than 15 seconds, you may not need to do any video editing yourself. Instagram splits the first minute of your video into 15-second segments automatically. If your video is any longer than a minute, you’ll need to use a third-party tool like CutStory.
Stringing several Instagram Story videos together gives you more space to share your message. The challenge? If the first video doesn't hook a user in the sequence, they will likely swipe past your Story and move on to the next one.
That first video has to really grab their attention.
See how Doritos does that here:
This Instagram Story video opens with explosions and quick movement, immediately grabbing your attention. The hook in the first second of the video determines whether or not a user is sticking around to watch the rest of the Story. Because of the long-form format, Doritos can create a more in-depth experience. It feels like you’re watching a sporting event in 45 seconds.
Vine videos were 6 seconds long and could tell entire stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Shorter Instagram videos can be highly effective and addictive too.
The key is remembering they need to stop a user in their casual Story swiping. You have to grab their attention.
Let’s look at an example and see why it works.
Pro tip: Most people don’t watch Instagram with sound on. Be sure that your content doesn’t require sound to understand. Use captions when needed.
Within the first second, the video promises that you’ll know how to use Transferwise by the end of it. Telling a user exactly what they’re going to get by watching your ad is a great way to have the relevant people stick around. In less than 15 seconds, we’re walked through the exact steps to send money to someone in another country. And because it was such a short ad, it feels like the process to use Transferwise is easy.
Stop-motion: One way to make an engaging Story video is by using stop-motion. By quickly running through several photos and split-second videos, you create movement that immediately grabs a user’s attention. You can use Instagram’s native stop-motion function to achieve this effect.
There are several ways to do it. Here’s the easiest:
Step 1: Tap the “Your Story” icon in the top left of the Instagram app on iPhone or Android. You’ll jump straight into the camera.
Step 2: Shoot a video in the default “Normal” mode or drag the bottom menu to any of the following video modes:
Shoot live video and add it to your Story.
Videos that play forward. Then play backward. Then forward again.
Videos with a “zoom” effect.
Focus on what’s in the foreground. Blur the background.
Record without holding the button down.
Or, select a video from your camera roll, simply by swiping up.
Step 3: Your video should now be looping. Tap the “Your Story” icon in the bottom left of the video to instantly post the video to your Instagram Story.
There’s no right way to make an Instagram Story video. But here are some tips to help you get started:
Instagram Story videos are always vertical. They’re designed to be watched on your phone. So when you’re creating content, be sure that it’s also natively vertical. If it isn’t, Instagram automatically adapts it to the Story format. But vertical videos that are designed for the platform tend to have higher engagement than non-native videos.
You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on expensive video equipment. Video recorded from a smartphone works just fine. In fact, many times phone footage outperforms high-production video because it feels more natural and less like marketing.
There are infinite ways you can deck out your Instagram Story videos. Draw all over them. Use hashtags, emojis, polls, and text to spice them up. These make your videos pop and make them more engaging. And they fit how Instagram users use the Stories placement.
Instagram Story videos last for 24 hours. Then they’re gone. But you can turn your Story videos into highlights that stick around on your profile forever. This is a great way to feature your best Story content.
If you’re tagged in another user’s Instagram post, you can re-share their post to your Story. This is a great way to feature happy customers shouting out your brand. And sharing that enthusiasm with the rest of your audience.
If you want to learn advanced tactics to make your business more money with Instagram, Demand Curve’s Growth Training may be right for you.