Instagram Videos for Dummies: Best Formats, Optimal Lengths & More

Instagram is not a complicated platform to use, especially when it comes to video.

Instagram has been successful since its inception. The photo and video-sharing social media app, known commonly as IG, was created in 2010, and today has grown to be a billion dollar entity owned by the Facebook company. People from all over the world use Instagram, and, as of 2015, over 40 billion photos have been uploaded to the platform. One of the reasons why Instagram is so popular is because it’s user-friendly; in other words, it doesn’t take long at all before you get the hang of things. If you have photos and videos you want to share with friends, family, or total strangers (if that’s your thing), then Instagram is one of the best platforms to use. Moreover, if you want to browse content you haven’t seen and might be interested in, then IG is the place where you can do this. Instagram is adding new users every day, and this is largely thanks to app features like the one that lets users stream live video, make everyone their own video production company

There are a ton of great features on Instagram; however, this article will mainly focus on all aspects related to videos on Instagram. The platform didn’t always allow videos, but today they’re some of the most popular pieces of content out there. And with popularity comes the focus of those who are trying to gather stats and observe trends, which means research regarding how users receive and interact with Instagram videos has been developing.

What Are the Best Video Formats for Instagram?

You are going to want to be posting pieces of content to your Instagram that are only of the highest quality. Therefore, it’s good to know what video formats are best to use on the platform. MP4 format is the best for videos on Instagram; additionally, these technical specifications should be included as well:

  • H.264 Codec
  • AAC Audio
  • 3,500 kbps bitrate for video
  • 30 fps frame rate (fps = frames per second)
  • File shouldn’t exceed 15 mb
  • Video can’t exceed 60 seconds
  • Video width can’t exceed 1080 px (pixels)

When it comes to video dimensions, 864 pixels (width) by 1080 pixels (height), with an aspect ratio of 4:5, is ideal for IG. These dimensions and aspect ratio cater to users who are using mobile devices, and this is because the majority of people using Instagram are accessing it on their phones. Wide-screen video may be nice on other platforms, like Facebook and YouTube, but on Instagram, utilization of vertical space is the name of the game.

How to Convert a Video File for Instagram

Although most video files are published in the MP4 format, the time may come where you need to convert one of your video files in order to make it optimal for Instagram. Luckily, you don’t need to have an extensive knowledge of computers in order to convert your video files: there are a ton of websites that allow you to safely and successfully convert your video files so that they’re IG-ready. There are some online services that have been around for some time and they’re easy to use too. Simply upload the file you wish to convert, specify what format you’d like it to be converted to (in this case it’d be MP4), and your file should convert in no time at all!

How to Upload Good Quality Videos to Instagram

Another aspect to consider—if high-quality IG videos are what you’re after—is uploading conditions. Instagram has made it known to users that optimized videos are the only ones that will display favorably on the platform. If you’ve been wondering what an optimized video or ideal uploading conditions look like, here are some tips that should help you:

  • Always connect to a Wi-Fi source before and throughout the entire upload process
  • Affirm that you are using the ideal dimensions discussed above
  • Transfer your video files through Google Drive or Apple Airdrop
  • Record your videos with the best camera you have access to
  • Edit your videos with Instagram’s settings in mind

Be advised that when it comes to transferring video files, some services actually compress the video in order to get it to be transferred more easily; this ends up killing the quality of your video before it ever even had a chance to reach your phone.

To summarize: if you want to ensure that you’re uploading videos with only the highest quality, you will need to (1) use your best camera, (2) upload using a reliable internet connection, and (3) use the right video settings.

What is an Ideal Length for Instagram Videos?

Because of the way Instagram and its community have evolved, there are now a few ways to upload videos, each way being used for a specific purpose and intended to convey a specific message.

For example, ever since the introduction of a feature that allows users to upload up to 10 posts within one post, some individuals, celebrities especially, have used this feature as a way to go on long-winded rants on the platform. Posts like these get mixed reviews; regardless, they’re ideal for individuals who got something to say.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, are the individuals who consistently record IG videos that don’t exceed thirty seconds. Although these videos are only half as long as the time allowed for videos on the platform, they’re effective for this one specific reason: Instagram is an app where scrolling is the way by which users browse content. If you can’t get your message conveyed quickly, you’re going to lose a large portion of the individuals who use Instagram routinely. Video upload quality is relevant to this point too, and that’s because people aren’t going to sit around and wait for your video to load properly.

The takeaway point is this: videos on Instagram have become popular in 2018, so much so that IG recently unveiled that they’re going to now allow video uploads that may even exceed an hour in some instances. At that point, you may as well hire a documentary videographer!