In 2016, an estimated $1 billion was spent on influencer marketing initiatives on Instagram alone. The vastness of the Instagram influencer market illustrates that advertisers around the world have identified Instagram as a valuable vehicle for sponsored content.
With spending on Instagram influencers exploding, it’s important for marketers to think critically about how to best deliver their message. On Instagram, there are two forms of content that can be shared: photos and videos. In this post, we’ll compare sponsored Instagram videos (including Instagram Stories) to sponsored Instagram photos and evaluate the effectiveness of each type of sponsored content.
1. Users comment on sponsored Instagram videos at a higher rate than sponsored Instagram photos.
Based on a recent Mediakix study that examined 150 sponsored posts, three times as many comments are garnered by sponsored Instagram videos than by sponsored Instagram photos.
Sponsored Instagram videos receive approximately 3 comments per 1000 followers, while sponsored Instagram photos receive approximately 1 comment per 1000 followers.
This metric indicates that sponsored videos are more likely to trigger a response from viewers than sponsored photos, fostering a discussion and potentially leading to higher conversion rates for the brand.
2. Sponsored Instagram video content shared through Stories can include a link.
Sponsored video content can be delivered to Instagram users not only through their main feeds, but also through Instagram Stories. Within Stories, Instagram influencers can directly link to the product they’re promoting (i.e. audiences can go directly to the link by swiping up on their Instagram Story).
This functionality makes the transition from admiring a product on Instagram to purchasing it online almost effortless for users. In light of this, sponsored video content shared through Instagram Stories may be more effective in driving sales than a sponsored photo.
3. View counts are available for Instagram videos but not for Instagram photos.
Instagram videos display the number of views in addition to the number of likes. This allows marketers to know the exact number of impressions a sponsored video receives. For sponsored photos, on the other hand, there is no precise way to measure its total impressions.
Marketers should keep the value of campaign metrics in mind when making a decision between sponsoring a video or a photo. If they choose to sponsor a photo, they should have a system in place for estimating impressions.
1. Sponsored Instagram photos are easier and faster to view than sponsored Instagram videos.
In an age of declining consumer attention spans, a photo is the quickest and most direct way for a brand to communicate with its audience on Instagram. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human’s attention span is approximately 8 seconds, and it’s even harder to hold the attention of Millennials and Gen Z’ers.
While photos can be viewed and digested by users in a matter of seconds, Instagram videos can be up to 30 seconds in length. When placing a sponsorship in an Instagram video, advertisers risk losing a subset of their audience’s attention and thus failing to maximize campaign visibility.
2. Photos have a shorter load time than videos.
If a user has poor internet connection a video may take several seconds to load. Photos take less time to load, thus relying less on the capability and speed of a user’s device.
Research shows that 40% of users will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Applying this logic to sponsored posts, it’s likely that a portion of a sponsored video’s potential audience is lost due to load time.
3. Sponsored photos are not reliant on sound, while sponsored videos often are.
Oftentimes, social media users regularly keep the sound off on their devices. This poses a problem since videos often depend on sound to get their point across or to enhance their messaging. There are, however, several ways to accommodate including the use of subtitles and captions.
When planning sponsored video content, marketers must keep in mind that their content may likely be viewed without sound, whereas with sponsored photos, this is not a consideration.
Sponsored Instagram photos and sponsored Instagram videos are both excellent ways for marketers to reach large audiences on Instagram. Sponsored photos load quickly, are not reliant on sound, and are the most efficient way to communicate a brand’s message. However, sponsored Instagram videos provide additional campaign metrics, can include a link if presented through Stories, and are commented on at a higher rate than sponsored photos.
Marketers should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each format of sponsored content and consider how these factors will impact campaign goals when making decisions about how to execute an Instagram influencer marketing campaign.