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How to Use Videos on Instagram to Get More Engagement

Instagram has gone on the record to say that videos and photos carry the same weight in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm. 

This means that neither photos nor videos will automatically be shown to more people based only on their format.

However, consider how the Instagram algorithm works.

While no one really knows how the Instagram algorithm works other than Instagram, we at least know that one important factor is Relationship.

Basically, Instagram prioritizes showing you posts in your feed from people that it considers to be close to you.

The algorithm determines if someone is close to you based not just on what you’ve looked at and engaged with in the past, but also how long you looked at it for.

For example, if you are constantly looking at, Liking, and leaving comments on Person A’s posts, then the algorithm will prioritize showing you posts from Person A in your feed.

With that in mind, the longer you can get someone to engage with your post, the higher your chances of Instagram prioritizing your posts on that person’s feed.

The easiest way to get someone to engage with your posts longer

What is more likely to get someone to stay on your post longer: a single photo or a 30 second video?

Most of the time, someone is going to stay longer to watch a 30 second video than they are a single photo post.

So while the act of posting a video itself won’t help automatically get your post in front of more people, it will make people stay on your posts for longer periods of time.

And as explained above, the longer that people stay on your posts, the more likely that they will continue to see your posts high up in their feeds.

But don’t overdo it

Below is how long different kinds of Instagram videos can be:

  • Regular post: at least 3 seconds and up to 60 seconds.
  • Story post: up to 15 seconds.
  • Instagram Live post: up to 60 minutes.
  • Post from a non-verified IGTV account: up to 10 minutes.
  • Post from a verified IGTV account: up to 60 minutes.

Just because you can post an Instagram video up to a minute long on your feed or up to an hour long on Instagram Live doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Consider the infographic below:

Image from HubSpot.

Hubspot found that Instagram videos with the most comments, and therefore the most engagement, were in-fact 25 to 30 seconds.

To be exact, videos that were 26 seconds long resulted in the most comments.

And from what we know about the Instagram algorithm, comments and shares are the most powerful kinds of engagement a post can receive.

Finding your most effective video length

Of course, this is only a general suggestion. Finding what video length produces the most engagement for your specific Instagram posts is going to require some experimenting on your part.

One easy way to find out your ideal video length is through Instagram Insights.

While Insights is only available to Instagram business accounts (changing to a business account is free and doesn’t necessarily require you to have an actual business), it will tell you exactly what posts are producing the most engagement.

With this information, you can prioritize posting videos that are similar in length to the ones that are producing the most engagement.


Posting videos on Instagram makes people stay longer on your posts, which tells the Instagram algorithm to continue showing your posts high up on people’s feeds, which contributes to people continuing to see and engage with your posts.It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Know other ways of making people stay longer on your posts? Drop us a comment below.

Author bio:

Sam is Editor at www.socialpros.co – a blog aimed at simplifying social media marketing practices for small businesses and everyday people. You can check out his latest article here.

About author

Alexandria Lopez is a part-time writer and a business-minded woman. She loves to write about business, start-ups, and SEO related topics. Whenever she's not busy, Alexandria makes sure to bring her two kids to picnic and theme parks.
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