On June 30, 2021, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced that Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app and will be pivoting to video, specifically, “full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video.” According to Mr. Mosseri, “people are looking to Instagram to be entertained.”
But what does this latest announcement mean for B2B marketing campaigns that previously relied heavily on the popular photo-sharing social platform?
Instagram says the changes will slowly roll out over the next six months and the change is to compete more effectively with video sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Do B2B brands embrace the pivot and rely more on Instagram for video campaigns, abandon the platform rather than duplicate any YouTube or LinkedIn video efforts, or ditch Instagram to become a B2B TikTok pioneer? As always, it depends on your target audience’s behavior and whether or not the businesses in your market sector will roll with the Instagram evolution or abandon it altogether.
That being said, let’s take a look at how your B2B marketing campaigns can stay ahead if and when the switch to video on Instagram occurs.
Experiment with short video content
Although Instagram mentioned both YouTube and TikTok in their pivot to video announcement a few weeks ago, the most likely reasoning behind the move is to compete with the increasingly popular TikTok platform. The company had already introduced TikTok-like video in August 2020 with its Instagram Reels feature.
If you’re not already familiar with TikTok, the video social network provides its users with the ability to create and share short video clips with a music overlay. Originally, the clips could be no longer than 15 seconds, but the limit was increased to 60 seconds and soon will increase again to three minutes.
What all the above means for your Instagram B2B marketing campaigns is that you need to experiment with sharing short video clips, then collect and analyze the data to garner what works—even whether short videos are something your Instagram audience wants more of or not.
Continue to post photo content
Whether you decide to test out the effect of Instagram video content or not, you should probably also continue to create image campaigns for your B2B Instagram followers, especially if they already have high engagement rates. We’ve all heard the adage, “if isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” and that definitely holds true for your social media marketing strategy.
You can embrace new trends, including this latest video pivot, without abandoning what has always worked for you in the past. There are B2B brands on Instagram that have already been posting short videos via Instagram Reels that have been receiving decent engagement. Some brands have embraced Instagram’s long-form video feature, IGTV, while still others solely use IGTV for their video posts. Again, run tests, collect data and decide what works best for your social campaigns on Instagram.
Know your target audience
Instagram is a social network, not a video network. As such, your focus needs to be on the social piece and building engagement and relationships with your target audience and customer personas. And if you’re considering abandoning Instagram or trying another video platform like TikTok, are your customers even there? Furthermore, if they regularly engage with your Instagram content is it photo posts, video posts or both?
Despite Instagram’s upcoming video pivot to compete with YouTube and TikTok – but mostly TikTok – all three of these video social channels have slightly to very different demographics.
- TikTok appeals to a younger crowd with 50% of users under 34 years old, and roughly 33% in the age 10 to 19 group. While there are some B2B brands on TikTok, especially in the creative industry, it really depends on whether your target market engages with content on the platform or not.
- YouTube has a larger audience than Facebook. Just under 75% of adults in the United States use YouTube. While it’s popular with users who are younger than 35, it’s also very popular with older adults. 73% of U.S. adults age 36 to 45 are on the platform, and 70% of Americans between the ages of 46 and 55 (and 67% of people over 56) also use YouTube.
- Instagram does have a large younger adult audience; 67% are 18 to 24 years old and 60% are 25 to 34. However, the social platform’s audience share for those age 35 to 44 and those 45 to 54 is 49% and 43%, respectively. With age demographics like these, it’s likely your target market contains a significant number of Instagram users.
So, if the bulk of your B2B audience uses Instagram and they are engaging with your posts, including your shorter video posts, and you’re measuring the success of any new types of videos you’re using in your B2B Instagram campaigns, then you’re already ahead of the game. In other words, you won’t be caught off guard or unprepared once the changes completely take effect.
Learn from B2B brands that have had success with Instagram video
If you’ve determined that your audience engages with short Instagram video content already and you need inspiration, there are a number of large B2B brands creating video content on Instagram Reels and IGTV.
- Adobe has some of the most engaging content on Instagram—much of it user generated. Their profile has more than one million followers on the social platform, and their Reels video content usually gets views in the 40K to 150k and higher range. Their Instagram focuses on the life and business of creatives but features almost no Adobe corporate branded content.
- Microsoft – With over three million followers, Microsoft’s video content on Instagram tends towards short explainer videos on their products. Their Reels videos tend towards nostalgia pieces and human-interest technology-related videos. Their shorter Instagram video content is sometimes receiving engagement numbers above 200k views.
- IBM has a follower count that’s close to 400k. While the numbers are smaller than those of Microsoft and Adobe, their two short videos on Instagram Reels feature high-level technology information on topics such as quantum computing and garner engagement rates approaching 60k in views. So, if you’re a B2B IT brand wondering if your target audience will engage with short videos on Instagram, it could be worth testing one or two on your company’s Instagram page.
- HubSpot makes a popular CRM and publishes a large volume of informational content on just about every facet of marketing life, with a strong focus on inbound and content marketing. Their Instagram Reels section contains the most content of our four examples. The short videos on their profile tend toward marketing life humor mixed with short educational content and receives impressive engagement when looking at views alone. Many of their videos on the social channel garner views in the 50k to 100k and higher range.
When it comes to Instagram video, embrace the unknown while continuing to do what works
If your target market engages with short videos on Instagram and other video channels already, then experiment with it on your profile. Don’t just stop doing what’s already working, either. Watch what your audience does once Instagram completes the change. Do they abandon the platform for Pinterest or another photo network, or do they stay and interact with more and more video content? By collecting and analyzing data on what works on Instagram and other digital channels and focusing your marketing campaign efforts on the platforms where you garner the most engagement and where your customers are, no matter what Instagram does, your business will stay ahead of the curve.