What You Need to Know to Create Compelling Instagram Videos
Like most social networks, video is dominating Instagram both in the newsfeed and in Instagram’s newish Snapchat copycat Instagram Stories. The latter is the latest platform to earn marketers’ hearts and time (at least while it’s hot and new)—and for good reason. Instagram Stories boast impressive engagement stats: according to Instagram, one in five Stories earn a direct message from viewers and one-third of the most viewed Stories come from businesses. And just this week the company released more creative video tools, like the rewind feature that automatically reverses a video so you can, for instance, share coffee being un-poured or confetti flying in reverse. As well as other discovery aids, like clickable hashtag stickers.
While it’s easier than ever to shoot and add fun flair to video directly in the Instagram app or upload clips from your camera roll to create simple videos for the newsfeed, Spark Video and Spark Post provide even more ways to help you stand out and look like a pro. You can add text to video clips with Spark Video or create polished graphic animations with Spark Video that help you stay on brand. Creating video content in Spark can also help you leverage the same piece of content for multiple networks—we love a good time-saver!
Plus, let’s be honest: even though it’s easier than ever to create video content, sharing good, compelling content that drives desired results still requires thought and know-how. In this post, we’re breaking down how to create awesome videos for Instagram’s Newsfeed and Stories, how to use Adobe Spark efficiently and effectively, and offering helpful Spark tips you might not know about.
First, the Basics
There are now two ways to share content on Instagram: Posts published to your Instagram page or profile appear in your followers’ Newsfeeds and act as the main window to your brand. As such, you want to reserve this space for your most polished, on-brand content. Here you might publish a video that explains your brand’s value or a process video that offers an inside peek into your craft, two essential pieces of content for small business marketing.
Check out how photo company Persnickety Prints did both with Spark Video. They also published the same content on Facebook and YouTube.
The second way to share content is in Instagram Stories. Unlike posts to your Instagram page, Instagram Stories last for 24 hours and users see them by clicking on the avatars at the top of their feed. Instagram Stories are cool because they offer fleeting inside looks that allow you to create more of a connection with your followers. Feel free to get a little less polished and little more real with live video and content that uses the built-in filters, stickers and emojis. Instagram Stories is the best place to start conversation with your customers or offer something special for your most engaged audience. We suggest posting content here that customers can’t get elsewhere from you in order to build a community on the platform. Think exclusive sales or access to giveaways.
What You Need to Know Before You Post
Like every social network, Instagram comes with its own rules and idiosyncrasies. Here are the basic parameters to keep in mind when creating video content for the newsfeed and IG Stories.
- Instagram imposes a one-minute time limit. If you have a longer piece of content that you still want to promote, you can post a portion as a teaser on Instagram and use the link in your bio to drive people to your website to see the whole thing. Pro-tip: Note this in your caption and add a tracking code to the link so you know how it performs.
- Videos can play in square, vertical, or landscape mode, but make sure you tap the “expand” button in the bottom left corner if you have a non-square video so it does not appear cropped.
- Video covers are important! Instagram allows you to select a video cover that shows as a thumbnail in the feed. Make sure you select an intriguing frame to compel people to watch.
- The best videos work with sound off. Instagram videos autoplay with the sound off so make sure your message is clear whether or not the viewer taps for sound.
- Instagram Stories last for 24 hours. Save the content or your whole story to your camera roll if you’d like to use the content, for instance, in a Spark Video, that can be leveraged far beyond your Story’s disappearance.
- You can shoot photo or video within the app, but if you’d like to edit your content before posting, simply swipe up in the Stories view to publish content from your camera roll. Keep in mind, the only content available will be videos or photos created within the last 24 hours.
- Each photo or video that you include in an Instagram Story is limited to 10 seconds. Live broadcasting from inside the app is limited to one hour. Live Video content disappears once the broadcast is over, but your followers get a notification every time you go live.
- You can post as much as you’d like without fear of annoying your followers because users have to opt-in to see the content.
- Tag other Instagram users in your video by typing their handle using the text feature in the top right corner. Tagged users will have a notification sent to their Instagram inbox. Use the new hashtag feature to aid discovery. (It’s an option in the sticker’s field in the top right.)
What Kind of Videos Work Well?
Now that you understand how the platform hosts video content, let’s dive into what works, illustrated by Spark Videos and Posts created by our users.
Add Text to Video to Create a Cohesive Story
Spark Video allows you to combine a variety of media to create a cohesive video story. Below social media consultant Tami Ulrich combines stock footage and text to create a video that acts as a piece of content that both informs and markets her small business.
Or you could transform a classic #MotivationMonday post into a video by overlaying text on video clips or images, like below.
Publish a Video Slideshow to Your Newsfeed
Combine still images in Spark Video to turn photography into moving stories. For example, below, a photographer and PR manager teases a photo feature with a slideshow video.
Create a Pro-Looking Campaign with Spark Post Animations
Instagram Stories is a great place to promote a sale or an exclusive giveaway. But if you want something more polished and readable, creating the graphics in Spark Post is the way to go. Select the Instagram Stories size in Spark Post and create your graphics one thought at a time. (Keep it short; IG Stories move fast!) Apply an animation filter like slide-in, pan, zoom, or dissolve to instantly turn the content into a video. This is a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd on Instagram Stories since none of this functionality is offered in IG’s creative tools.
Check out an example below from one of Spark’s Instagram Stories. We loaded it into a Spark Video in order to embed it here, but the content was created in Spark Post.
Add Eye-Catching Movement with Graphic Animations
Video creation doesn’t get easier than applying an animation with one tap. Turn text graphics into video by using one of Spark Post’s pre-loaded movements. Just select from the animations category and save your graphic as a video. Then upload to Instagram.
Pro-Tip: String together Spark Post animations in Spark Video to create a text-based video.
How to Create Video with Spark
Are you still with us? You’re almost there! Now that we’ve covered Instagram best practices and effective content types, let’s dive into the steps of creating video with Spark.
- Start by creating a new Spark Video project.
Clicking the big plus button on web or in the iOS app will open a slide-based editor. No complicated timelines here! We suggest storyboarding out your video story within the app by selecting one of the preloaded story structures or creating your own by adding notes to slides, which will guide your creation. Each slide should represent just one point or thought.
- Add media to the slides.
Now it’s time to add media to your slides. Choose between images, video clips, icons, or text. You can search for free photos or icons within the tool or use your own images or video clips. Add up to 30 seconds of video at a time to each slide. We recommend using short video clips or images to visually represent your message.
- Select pre-designed layouts.
Present your media in a variety of layouts by selecting one of the preloaded placements in the top left corner labeled “layouts.”
- Use text to communicate key information or calls to action.
Text on screen makes sure those watching your video without the sound turned on get your full message. If you’d like to speak directly to your audience, simply record your voice by hitting the red button and speaking into your phone or computer.
- Spice it up with a theme and soundtrack.
Spark Video comes pre-loaded with themes that control the overall look and feel of your video. Themes power transitions between slides and the motion of elements. Simply tap the “Themes” category and choose from tk unique themes. You can also add music by uploading your own track or selecting one of the free songs in Spark Video.
- Publish and share.
Once you’ve finished the video, save the video to your camera roll as an mp4 and upload it to Instagram. Make sure you click the expand icon in the bottom left corner so your video plays in landscape mode. Select a cover image that shows your most engaging image so it looks great in your feed.
- Use Spark Post for iOS.
The iOS app comes pre-loaded with customizable templates for inspiration. Jumpstart your design there or start from scratch by tapping the green plus button.
- Add photos or backgrounds and choose your size.
You can choose from solid colors, patterns, search for free photos in the app, or uploading your own photos from your camera roll.
- Type in your message.
Short copy does best on social media graphics.
- Apply design filters and styles.
Change up your design dramatically by cycling through professionally designed filters.
- Apply an animation.
Once you’ve crafted your design, tap into the animation category from the editor and choose from movements such as fade, slide, grow, pan, zoom, and more.
- Save the Post as a video on your camera roll.
Upload the content natively to the platform of choice instead of creating a link.
- Duplicate your template to use over and over.
Like what you created? Simply duplicate the design and edit the content to give your feed a bit of visual consistency and save time.
Tag your Instagram posts with #AdobeSpark for a chance to be featured.