Instagram Video Changes: Is Longer Better For Brands?

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It’s safe to say that many Instagram users have been in freak out mode lately.

First, the platform announced at the end of March that it will switch from chronological timelines to algorithmic ones. The panic showed in the form of a petition that attempted to stop the changes, attracting over 300,000 signatures.

Despite the backlash among a small subset of its 400 million users, Instagram will soon implement an algorithm that predicts which photos its users are mostly likely to double tap.

Shortly after that announcement, Instagram announced that it quadrupled the length of posted video clips, meaning they now will be able to last a full minute.

Since a lot has already been written about how Facebook’s change from a chronological timeline to an algorithmic one impacted brands, we wanted to focus on the impact of longer videos.


Longer Videos

Instagram had a 15-second limit since the platform’s adoption of video in June 2013.

Prior to the recent announcement, Instagram had previously let advertisers extend videos to 60 seconds, but now it’s anyone’s game.

In the blog post announcing the news, Instagram points out that the time people spent watching video increased 40 percent in the last six months.

According to Instagram’s announcement:

“We want to bring you fun, flexible and creative ways to create and watch video on Instagram. As part of our continued commitment, you’ll soon have the flexibility to tell your story in up to 60 seconds of video.”

A spokesperson said longer videos mean more diverse stories. But is that true?

Is Longer Better?


“We are bombarded with information. By the time you get to the office, you’ve been bombarded thousands of times. Billboards, people, advertisements, your friend, your boss. Our attention is constantly under attack. People are constantly trying to put information in front of us,” Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller, Microsoft.

Steve made a good point at Ragan’s “Social Media Conference for PR, Marketing and Corporate Communications” earlier this month. If we’re constantly being attacked, are longer videos really better?

At the same conference, Steve Crescenzo, CEO of Crescenzo Communications said that this social media win could also be a sin. Don’t create a long video UNLESS it serves a purpose.

He stressed that it’s important to stay away from longer videos that could, ultimately bore your viewers unless they are worthy of the time. The below UPS video, for example, that Steve shared is worthy of being longer because there is a story to tell.

What Does This Mean For Your Brand?

  • Do not exhaust time and effort creating longer videos just because you can. This goes double since the video may not even appear on feeds due to the recent algorithm changes.
  • Keep your videos short and sweet unless you have an announcement or story worthy of taking up the full 60 second slot. Think tutorials, campaign kickoffs and product launches.
  • Get to the point. Remember, people’s attention span is short. If you’re opting for a longer video, don’t waste the first 15 seconds on an intro. Grab their attention from the beginning.

What To Expect Next

The company said the new feature will be available to some users on March 29 and will roll out to all Instagrammers in the coming months.

They also closed out their blog post announcement by stating that the video change is one stop of many we will see this year. Oh boy… get ready for change, folks.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2

Tags : social media

About Michelle Dziuban

Michelle Dziuban is the Social Media Manager for Cision, where she has worked since 2012. With a background in marketing and advertising, she loves keeping tabs on emerging industry trends. Most recently, she appeared on one of the most popular marketing podcasts in the world, Jay Baer’s Social Pros Podcast (How B2B’s Can Rock Facebook Live Video) and authored a byline on CMO.Com (What CMO’s Need to Know About Live-Streaming). In her free time, Michelle enjoys yoga, running and being outdoors. Find her on Twitter @dziubs.

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