When Instagram first rolled out video advertising, the platform’s visual interface and growing popularity with millennials immediately appealed to brands. However, creating successful video for Instagram presents a creative challenge that many brands remain unequipped for. Videos consistently generate less engagement than still images, according to L2’s Intelligence Report: Video. In Q1 2015, photos garnered 1.4 times greater engagement than video posts.
Videos that see high engagement often boast substantial production budgets. Thus, companies that have the means to invest in high-quality TV advertising have the same advantage on Instagram, where 15-second TV spots can easily be syndicated. Re-purposed TV commercials generate some of the highest engagement rates for Beauty & Hair Care and Consumer brands. In Q1 2015, they accounted for four of the top 10 Instagram videos in the category.
At the other end of the spectrum, many videos miss out on engagement by using poor-quality footage or relying too much on text. One-third of Beauty and Hair Care videos with the lowest engagement rates feature text-heavy footage, according to the study.
Alongside quality, content also determines popularity on Instagram. The study finds that product videos generate consistent engagement, just as on Facebook. Half of the top 100 most-engaged Beauty and Hair Care brand Instagram videos display merchandise.
Conversely, non-celebrity influencers fail to resonate with brand Instagram followers. Models, lesser-known celebrities and influencers, and “civilians” without any celebrity status star in 63% of the least-engaged Beauty and Hair Care Instagram videos and 71% of Consumer brand videos. This suggests that influencers might be overused, while brands’ fear of appearing overly commercial on the platform may be unwarranted.