Instagram Videos: How to Optimize Your Posts For Maximum Impact.

With a little extra work, videos can be optimized for Instagram.

To Make Your Instagram Videos Really Stand Out, Convert to a 4 x 5 Vertical Format. Here's How.

I've written before about the advantages of social media videos. How they're the number one way businesses find new customers and generate leads.

The basic idea is to post short videos that grab people's attention, get liked, reposted and shared. 

All that reposting and sharing expands your reach and helps you find new audiences.

The first step, of course, is to grab people's attention, and I've learned a little trick to help do that on Instagram. It's called vertical video.

Vertical videos appear larger on mobile.Vertical Videos

Vertical videos are common among mobile phone users—It's how most people shoot video with their phone. 

But you don't see many business videos with a vertical format. 

That's because corporate videos are typically produced with a "landscape" format. Specifically, they're 1,920 pixels wide and 1,080 pixels deep. 

But Instagram allows uploads of vertical content—which opens up many new creative possibilities.

Which of the videos shown here get your attention? The one on the right has been re-edited into a 4 x 5 vertical format.

Formatting for Instagram

Important to know—Instagram has some specific guidelines you have to adhere to:

  • H.264 Codec
  • Maximum 60 seconds in length
  • Video bitrate under 5 Mbps
  • Maximum file size of 15 Mb.

Since most corporate videos are 1080p (meaning 1,080 pixels deep), I edit Instagram videos using an 864 x 1080 frame size. 

To do that in Premiere Pro, you simply create a new project, then under settings, enter 864 as the width and 1080 as the height. If the aspect ratio is locked, click the chain icon to unlock.

It's also a good idea to save this as a preset. Mine is called "Instagram."

Use these settings to edit an Instagram video in Premiere Pro.Editing for Instagram

To reformat an existing video, you don't have to start from scratch. Just open the existing Premiere file, copy the elements on the timeline, then create a new project with the Instagram settings, and paste.

All the shots will appear in the timeline, along with the linked footage and files.

At this point, reformatting is relatively easy. Just reframe shots as needed to fit the new shape.

Close-up shots will probably seem too close, and need to be widened. You'll also need to adjust any titles or supers.

And don't forget the 60-second max. Longer edits will need to be trimmed down for the upload to work.

When the reformatting is complete, export the media:

  • Format:  H.264
  • Target Bitrate:  4
  • Maximum Bitrate: 5

Posting to Instagram

While there are different ways to upload the finished video to Instagram, I believe the simplest way is to use your phone.

I output the video to iCloud, then access that folder from my phone. Once I find the video, I save it to my photos.

Then to post to Instagram, you just

  • Select the video and click "Next"
  • Click "Cover" at the bottom of the screen
  • Drag the timeline to choose the best poster image—very important
  • Write a caption about the video and why you're posting it. You can also tag people, locations, etc.
  • Click "Share."

If you'd like to see examples, check out Content Puppy's Instagram Video page. Here's the link.

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