Instagram Video: How Brands Should Use Instagram Now (2023)

Instagram Video got you reeling? This article clarifies everything and shows you how to ace your IG content strategy.
Fanbytes | Instagram Video

In 30 seconds:

  • Can’t tell your Reels, Instagram video or Instagram Stories apart? We have the low-down of all this and more.
  • In 2022, Instagram made a U-turn on their new UX and features. What does this mean for brands on the platform in 2023?
  • We’re spilling the beans on the 5 insider tips for a killer Instagram video strategy, and how brands can use them.

The world of Instagram video is changing. The Meta-owned social media platform celebrated its 12th birthday in 2022, and with its 1.2 billion users, Instagram is a powerful tool for brands looking to reach mass audiences. But moves from the social media company last year have left many marketers scratching their heads.  

In July 2022, Instagram revealed that “all video posts on Instagram will be shared as Reels”. Specifically, all video posts under 15-minutes long will be shared as a Reel, in a move that encourages users to adopt the short-form vertical video format in a “simplified” and “more immersive” experience.

Marketers need to understand what’s going on with this social media app and how you can tackle Instagram Video in the right way, right now. So let’s get things rolling.

What’s happening with Instagram right now?

The change to Instagram’s feed video UX came amidst a host of changes recently made by Meta to the social media platform

In 2020, TikTok became the most-downloaded app in the world, and its young user base began spending more time on it than Instagram and Facebook. In response, Instagram created its own short-form vertical video format, Instagram Reels, to compete with TikTok’s popular offering.

But that’s not the only change to Instagram in recent times.

  • Instagram users can now schedule posts within the Instagram app
  • Instagram introduced a grid pinning feature to keep posts at the top of your Instagram profile.
  • Instagram Stories became up to 60 seconds long, without any cuts (beforehand they were up to 15 seconds).
  • The app introduced ‘Instagram Map Search
  • The Instagram algorithm has changed, with Recommendations featuring more in users’ home feeds.
  • And of course, Instagram video posts became Reels only.


These last two changes have been felt more keenly by Instagram’s users. And boy, did some people have a problem with it. 

Users on the app said they felt that Meta was trying to move away from the photo-first original concept that they founded Instagram on. Even Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner spoke out to ‘plead’ with the social media platform to “make Instagram Instagram again”. 

Jenner’s Instagram Story protesting the platform’s update

Kylie Jenner’s Instagram Story protesting the platform’s update

Trivial this ain’t. The response from these influencers caused the social media giant to spring into action.

Instagram head and former Facebook exec Adam Mosseri shared a PSA on 26th July addressing the app’s updates for a “better experience.” 

About halfway through the video talking about the ‘TikTokification of Instagram’, Mosseri claimed the updates are still being tested to justify why feeds are either out of order and/or showing “recommended” content instead of peoples’ actual followings, impacting engagement

He added that the recommendations feature “is one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people.”

For marketers, this is vital insight. One: it showcases just how influential these social media stars are. The way influencers behave on social media platforms can change other users’ behaviour, and even the platforms themselves.

Two: the move towards Instagram Reels videos and Recommended content is part of a wider strategy to increase the reach and engagement of Instagram posts. And marketers that use these tools will see a huge boost in these KPIs.

Are all Instagram videos Reels?

Answer: kinda.

  • You can still share story videos within your Instagram Stories
  • You can still share videos as part of a Instagram Carousel post
  • If you choose to live stream, your live video will be an Instagram Live
  • Videos longer than 15 minutes will be shared as Instagram videos


… but if you’re otherwise posting a shorter video to your feed?

That’ll now be an Instagram Reel.

This has big implications for marketers, because it means that square and landscape footage is “out”. Instagram’s UI has changed, meaning that these videos will now be surrounded by black space, to make them fit on a full-screen vertical format.

What counts as a “Reel” has changed. It’s no longer just vertical videos that take this format – but vertical videos work best on it.

Let’s break it down.

What is an Instagram Reel in 2023?

Nowadays, all video posts on Instagram are automatically published as a Reel if they are under 15 minutes long. Instagram announced this:

“Since Reels offer a more immersive and entertaining way to watch and create videos on Instagram, we’re bringing the full-screen experience to your video posts, too. In the coming weeks, new video posts shorter than 15 minutes will be shared as Reels. Videos posted prior to this change will remain as videos and won’t become reels.”

Now, if you go to publish an Instagram post, if you’re sharing a short video rather than a photo or carousel post, Instagram will publish it as a Reel. Doing so will also automatically grant you access editing tools to enhance and change your video. 

What about IGTV?

In October 2021, Instagram combined IGTV and feed videos into one format – Instagram Video

This used to be under its own tab in your profile, but this has now changed. All video content is stored in the same place on your profile now. Whether it’s old IGTV content, longer videos or a Reel, Instagram will put it under the “Reels” tab on your account page. 

If you’re looking to post a longer video, you’re no longer making an IGTV. If it’s longer than 15 minutes, it will be an Instagram video.

How long can videos on Instagram be now?

Instagram Reels can now be up to 15 minutes long. This is a big jump from the original maximum of 60 seconds and shows the app is moving to include a wider range of video lengths within its Reels format. 

The maximum length of any video on Instagram is 60 minutes. If a video is between 15 and 60 minutes long, it will display as an “Instagram video”. 

And if you want to share a video on your Instagram story? You now have up to 60 seconds per segment – and, as one influencer found out, you can post up to 100 segments per day (although we’d recommend you don’t).

What’s the right size for an Instagram video now?

For Instagram, size matters.

Since most videos will be classed as a Reel, It’s now best to create videos that are under 15 minutes long with an aspect ratio of 9:16, and with a size of 1080 pixels x 1920 pixels.

What about Instagram Reel cover photo size?

The recommended size for Instagram Reels’ cover photos is 420px by 654px (or 1:1.55 ratio). At the moment, you can’t edit your cover photo after you’ve uploaded it.

Basically, your Reel should have the dimensions you see here. 👀


For videos longer than 15 minutes, social media marketers can use a wider range of dimensions. On Instagram, users can upload a video with an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 9:16.

Video resolution and file size

  • Videos should have a minimum frame rate of 30 FPS (frames per second) and minimum resolution of 720 pixels.
  • The maximum file size for videos that are 10 minutes or less is 650 MB. The maximum file size for videos up to 60 minutes is 3.6 GB.

What should brands use videos on Instagram for?

Video is a powerful tool for marketers on any social media platform, as it helps bring your story to life and gives users eye-catching, engaging content. 

But knowing what to use video on Instagram for becomes a whole lot easier when you look at the data – more of which you’ll find in our Instagram marketing statistics article.

Instagram average reach rate graph

If you’re looking to grow your reach on Instagram, then Reels are by far and away the best format to use.

Instagram average reach rate graph

If you want to engage your existing audience on Instagram, a mixture of Instagram Stories and different Instagram post video formats are the way to go.

Brands need to think about how to communicate their values through entertaining, thought-provoking and eye-catching content. How can you make your videos really pop? We’ve got some expert advice.

The top 5 insider tips for brands using video on Instagram

So now you know a little more about video formats on Instagram and the latest in Instagram news. But what makes a “good” Instagram video or Instagram Reel? This series of tips will help you nail your campaigns and maximise on your KPIs.  

1. Know your audience

The Instagram algorithm ranks content based on relationships between users, the viewer’s interest and the post’s relevancy (how new and on-trend it is). When individuals see content they like and interact with, the Instagram algorithm will push more similar videos their way. 

Being in sync with what your target audience is looking for gives you a better chance of building brand awareness and growing your audience organically. Whether it’s concise, funny videos or a tutorial, think about the kind of content your consumers would like to see and draw up a marketing strategy around this.

Once you know your audience well, you’ll find it a lot easier to select your topic.

Announce a product launch, answer questions from your community, share the story of your founder, or even give a tour of your store. Your video content doesn’t have to be complex – even “before and after” can make a great Reel!

2. Hook your viewers

You need your audience to listen before establishing a relationship. Younger generations can watch hours of content if you can get them interested in the first few seconds. That’s where a hook comes into the picture. In general, you have 3 seconds to engage your viewer in a video before they lose interest. 

Brands need to hook in their audience with engaging content that will get them clicking that “follow” button. You want to welcome people into your Instagram follower community, so they become loyal customers who keep coming back. A hook is the beginning of that story.  

Types of Instagram video hooks can include:

  • Asking a question
  • Beginning with a problem and offer a solution
  • Starting with a surprising fact
  • Choosing something visually arresting.


The last point is especially important for growing your reach. In an influencer briefing, Instagram themselves actually revealed that videos that have something visually arresting – yep arresting, not just appealing – at the beginning get prioritised in the Discovery feed. This is an important insight for getting on the right side of the Instagram algorithm and reaching new audiences. But it also makes sense for the way people think, too. After all, if a video’s visual makes you do a double take, you’re engaging with it for longer.

But if you’re looking to increase consideration or otherwise push customers further down the marketing funnel, making the contents of your video clear from the outset is more powerful. Paula’s Choice does it brilliantly in this video that raked up 195k views. 

If you want to see more on how Paula’s Choice is killing it on social media, check out our case study. We worked with them to skyrocket their TikTok presence and over-delivered our campaign KPIs by 50%.

3. Use sound and music to your advantage

On Instagram Reels’ in-app editing tool, it’s possible to add music from Instagram’s library of music, or record a voiceover in the video editor itself.

While fewer users keep their sound on for Instagram vs. TikTok, sound is becoming increasingly important on the platform. In fact, 70% of Instagram Stories are watched with the sound on now. 

To use the sound capabilities of Instagram Reels, you can:

  • Use Audio Import to add existing audio, like real customer testimonials, directly from videos saved on your camera roll. 
  • Add your own commentary via voiceover to record audio on top of the Reel you are creating. To turn your voiceover to text, use the Captions sticker.


Soundtrack your video with a trending song via Instagram’s sound library. Be mindful of licensing, however. This is especially important in video ads.

4. Elevate Reels with effects, stickers, tags and covers

Experiment with interactive stickers in Reels to keep viewers engaged. For example, you can use the poll sticker to ask your audience to weigh in on which product to launch next or what city they’d like to see your next event in. You should also consider adding an effect, like transitions. Instagram will be more likely to promote your content if you make use of these tools – plus it’ll make your video content pop.

Another great tip for marketers? Reinforce your message with Timed text. Do you have an FAQs page on your website? Try making a reel with Timed Text to bring an FAQ to life, bringing your community closer together.

Once you’ve completed these steps, add a caption and tag any products, so they’re easy to find and shop. Then remember to add your cover photo (optimal dimensions listed above) so make sure your video looks its best on your profile grid.

5. Use influencers

Partnering with Instagram influencers nurtures trust with your viewers and boosts your reach. 62% of social media users trust influencers more than celebrities, making them a more cost-effective option for social media marketing strategies

Instagram is the network of choice for influencer marketing campaigns, with 79% of brands considering it the most important platform for them. With this many marketers using the channel, you need your influencer campaigns to stand out. How?

Brands need to collaborate with creators who truly get their brand. That means using influencers who align with your values and understand your products (and actually use them too). When planning a campaign for our clients, we use our award-winning data and insights tool Bytesights to find the perfect influencer for their message. This kind of deep understanding of creators is essential for a successful campaign. 

Gone are the days of simply gifting influencers products to get great quality videos and excellent marketing material. Audiences easily see through this, and brands need to collaborate with influencers who can genuinely represent your brand and tell a compelling story. Only then can you get an effective ROI. 

Work with influencers to create Reels on their own channels, and repost them on your own. And remember to engage in the comments – this is where you’ll get high-quality insights about their audience and yours.

Get your strategy in full motion

Now you understand a bit more about Instagram Video and Instagram Reels, you need to get a fool-proof Instagram video content strategy ready. No matter what channel you choose for your campaigns, it’s essential to make your content engaging, entertaining and to give it a clear goal. That means thinking creatively, strategically and intelligently about each video you make. 

Your audience will come back again and again for valuable content. So, make sure you’re providing it as a brand. Don’t just create promotional videos: aim to create video content that your ideal customer would enjoy. 

After all, your videos – and your Instagram Reels especially – will be the face of your brand on Instagram, so developing a content strategy that’s varied yet fits within your brand tone is essential.

If you want some help with that, we can create campaigns that deliver on your KPIs every time. Our agency is made up of the brightest minds to get social media video content singing through creative prowess and savvy social media marketing know-how. Get in touch to find out how we can transform your presence and impact on Instagram.

Need a little more inspo? Take a look at these articles for more information on Instagram, TikTok and beyond. 

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