Video is easily the most popular content type on social media today. Even on Instagram, which was initially developed as an image-based platform, videos get twice the number of engagement in comparison to other types of content. But it isn’t a matter of just posting videos. If you want to succeed, you have to do it right. We’ve listed some of our top video editing tips to help you grow your brand on Instagram.

Video Editing Tips for Instagram


1. Take advantage of full screen

The inflexible 1:1 ratio on Instagram is long gone, and bigger is almost always better when it comes to visuals. Keep in mind that over 75% of videos are viewed using a mobile phone. And when scrolling through platforms like Instagram, people naturally hold their phones upright.

Taking advantage of a full screen on Instagram would mean choosing vertically shot videos over horizontal ones. After all, according to a study, most millennials don’t bother tilting their phones to view horizontal videos on full screen.

When posting a video to your feed, the ideal aspect ratio is 4:5 and the ideal length is between 3 seconds to a minute. On Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Reels, it’s ideal to post in 9:16. When resizing your video for Instagram Stories, make sure to follow the correct pixel size (1080px by 1920px) to ensure that it’s optimized. Most photo and video editing apps will have pre-set resizing options ready. 

Take advantage of full screen

Image credit: @amazonprimevideo

Amazon Prime Videos (@amazonprimevideo) IGTV videos are mostly shot and optimized for vertical viewing. Social media videos that don’t take up the full screen have branded borders to maximize screen real estate.

By shooting and optimizing your videos for vertical viewing, you are creating a more immersive experience for your followers.

2. Make use of Instagram’s features and effects

There are hundreds, if not thousands of video editing apps that allow you to spice up your content. They might even offer a better selection of editing tools than Instagram. But even if you decide to use a different app for editing your content, it’s still important to use some of Instagram’s built-in features or shoot and edit straight from the app.

If you’re a content creator or brand, Instagram Stories are a great way to show your more “human” and candid side. Don’t be afraid to whip out your phone, go to Instagram stories, and hold down that button to shoot right away.

Posting professionally edited videos on Instagram Stories will not only seem out of place, but you also won’t be able to utilize trending filters and effects, which could help you get discovered. Don’t forget to use GIFs, interactive poll stickers, and the paint feature to add a creative flair to your videos.

Leave filtered and edited content for your feed. While it’s still important to post aesthetically pleasing videos, your followers expect you to be more spontaneous on Instagram Stories. Add personal touches to your content to boost your engagement.

Make use of Instagram’s features and effectsImage credit: @bonappetitmag

Bon Appetit’s (@bonappetitmag) Instagram Stories always make use of Instagram’s built-in fonts and features. Though the videos seem professionally edited, making use of the app’s paint features makes the content feel more authentic and unscripted.


3. Experiment with layering

On a platform like Instagram or any other social media platform, it’s easy for brands and content creators to look like a copy of one another. After all, it’s only natural to follow what’s trending. But in order to succeed on Instagram, you have to stand out.

Experiment with layering

Image credit: @instasize.official

Layering videos on top of other videos and combining stills with moving elements are great ways to differentiate your content on Instagram. The layering effect gives your video added depth, and it’s also a great way to repurpose extra footage or past content.


4. Always add captions where possible

Videos with captions tend to perform better than those without. This is because adding them makes your content available to more people, including people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or prefer watching on mute.

Don’t forget to select fonts and colors that are eye-catching, and make sure they don’t disappear in the video.

Remember: most social media users scroll through their feed with audio switched off, so you have to capture your audience’s attention in the first few seconds with visuals alone.

There are hundreds of apps available that can help you transcribe and easily add captions to your videos.

Always add captions where possible

Image credit: @netflix

All videos posted by Netflix (@netflix) include voice-overs with subtitles. This is extremely helpful when videos are in a foreign language.

Aside from play-by-play subtitles, you can also add text overlay to your videos. This way, you can highlight specific words or add branding to your video.


5. Choose your thumbnail wisely

Think of thumbnails as your video’s first impression. It’s the very first thing your audience sees when they land on your profile. A bad thumbnail or one that doesn’t represent what your video is all about could result in a loss of views — choose wisely.

Unlike Facebook or Youtube, once you’ve uploaded your video to Instagram, there’s no way to change it. When posting directly to your feed, Instagram will give you a number of cover options, which are stills from your video. Simply select the one you like best.

On IGTV, you can upload a customized thumbnail.

Choose your thumbnail wisely

Image credit: @buzzfeedtasty

Tasty’s (@buzzfeedtasty) IGTV library thumbnails are a combination of customized title cards or strategically chosen stills from videos. Looking at the thumbnail alone, users know what to expect from the video.

Here are some of the best practices when choosing your IGTV thumbnail:

  • Use a clean and uncluttered banner image
  • Choose a high-resolution photo
  • Make sure it’s focused on the subject of the video
  • Include branding

Start editing

With these tips, you can create video content that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but also proven effective and most importantly, inclusive!

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