In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, D-Mak Productions is featured as one of the Top Video Productions Companies in Phoenix. Check out their profile here.

With half a billion active users, Instagram is considered the top social platform for engagement these days. They’ve worked hard to develop an engaging platform that funnels users directly to the content they’re most interested in; however, Instagram can’t do all the work for you: you need to be able to create compelling content on your own. As a primarily visual platform, Instagram requires that you be able to produce high-quality images and video.

With so many other companies competing against you, how can you capture the attention of your target audience? Here are a few ways to improve the effectiveness of your Instagram videos:

Get Their Attention Within the First Few Seconds

Most people online are going to see dozens of videos when they’re scrolling down their feed, and they aren’t going to be able to watch all of them. That’s why it’s essential to always lead with a problem and a solution; you have about ten seconds to hook a viewer, so don’t waste any time!

There’s a specific viewer that you likely want to capture, the type of person who would be interested in your videos, content, products, or services. You want to hook that specific viewer. You don’t just want to draw in anyone: you want to personalize your video to a specific type of person with a type of problem.

Going too broad and generic is often a mistake. While you may expose your video to more people as a whole, this is a broad audience that is less likely to engage. Thus, being more personalized and urgent with your video “hook” is usually beneficial. Once you have your viewers hooked, you can explain the rest of your video a little more slowly.

Audio is Optional, But Always Include Additional Text

Most people browse Instagram on their phones in public, meaning they usually don’t have audio playing. If your Instagram video doesn’t have text on it, it may be meaningless to a lot of people.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t do an excellent audio production, but it does mean that text has to be available. Consider the following text-related best practices:

  • Use special effects to make the text attractive: Your text should be high contrast and professional, not just something typed over the video in haste. Your text is going to become part of the visual design of your video.
  • Avoid describing things that the viewer can see: That’s just a distraction. Assume that the viewer can understand what’s generally going on in the video: they just need text to explain anything they can’t hear.
  • Make sure the text is large enough to read: On mobile devices, text needs to be fairly large to be easily read. Test out your videos on screens of multiple sizes to make sure it’s easily read.
  • Don’t always try to copy the text verbatim: Often, people read slower than they hear, and a short internet video doesn’t have the time to linger. You can paraphrase or describe what has been said for better readability.

Through the right video editing, you’re able to tell your audience a story. Take full advantage of this to enhance your branding and convey the right tone.

Pair High Production Values with Personal, Casual Content

The last thing you want is for your Instagram videos to look too commercial. People don’t really connect on Instagram in order to connect with brands. For the most part, they’re wanting a genuine and personal experience, but that doesn’t mean that you can upload shaky, grainy video. When creating video for Instagram, it’s important to maintain clear picture and crisp audio; however, high-quality video doesn’t have to feel commercial.

Being sincere is important. That means focusing on your content and what it can do for the viewer, rather than trying to directly promote products and services. If you’re creating videos about products and services, focus on the problems that it will solve for the viewer, rather than just trying to push for a sale.

Keep Your Content Clear and Brief

Even once captured, most viewers are only going to watch about 30 to 45 seconds of a video. Unless your Instagram video is extremely compelling, you can count on them losing interest quickly. You need to get to the point fast.

Your content should be as fast as it possibly can be in order to convey the message that you want to convey. Work to cut your clips down until they’re suitably short. It’s very rare to see an Instagram video exceed 60 seconds. There’s a reason why platforms such as Vine were popular and there’s a reason why TikTok is rapidly becoming more popular: they specialize in short, bite-sized content.

Of course, when talking about content length, the type of content matters, too. You may want to test out different video lengths with your particular audience to see what type of content and the length of content that they will endure.

Leave Your Viewers With a Clear Call-to-Action

What should your viewers do after they’ve watched your video? A clear call-to-action is necessary to really engage your viewers; otherwise, they’re likely to just keep scrolling on. Viewers often want to know what their next step is after they’ve watched interesting content, whether it’s to donate to a charity, purchase a product, or just like and follow.

Instagram is a unique platform. It has one of the highest levels of engagement, but it makes it more difficult to share content. Content has to be uploaded through a mobile solution, and content has to be mobile-friendly. Content cannot be shared directly on the platform, but instead is heavily targeted through tags and algorithms. When posting a video, your call-to-action is often both in the video, and also buried under it: but a lot of people don’t read the descriptions of the videos and images that they look at. They’re just looking for content. That means your call-to-action has to be well-developed and effective. Without a clear call-to-action, most viewers will keep scrolling on.

One of the fastest growing social media platforms available, and one poised for substantial growth, Instagram has become a very important tool in the online marketer’s toolkit. Yet, it also combines the difficulty of making effective visual media with the difficulty of establishing a successful online marketing campaign. By creating more effective Instagram videos, you can successfully expand your reach and grow your brand more effectively.

Joe Forte
Owner and Producer at

Joe is co-owner and producer at D-MAK Productions, a Phoenix video production company specializing in producing corporate, commercial, digital, and branded media content.