Instagram, Video, and the Millennials Who Watch

It’s no secret that millennials stare at screens for a collective hours a day. Truth is, there’s tons of interesting stuff in the world captured by artistically minded folks on Instagram. However, I do subscribe to the notion that we can all put our phones down once in a while. Maybe we don’t have to take a picture of every boutique coffee we drink.

Some advertisers know where millennials’ eyeballs are, and they make sure to be there, as well. According to a recent study done by Bustle and reported by Adweek, 40% of millennial women prefer ads via Instagram. What is it about the visual social media app that draws such a preference from a large consumer pool? How have we collaborated with brands to reach and ignite these consumers’ interests?

Instagram And Video

Instagram is a creative’s platform. There’s a certain style to Instagram that requires deliberation and implementation. Unlike other social media platforms, it takes a certain eye and vision to post astounding pictures. It’s also a clean, formatted scroll of visual beauty. Just in that past 5 years did Instagram add a video function to the app, but were only allowed up to :15 seconds. With that time restriction, your video had better be damned good.

Later on, there was an extension to the run-time of the videos, which surged more content. When Instagram was bought by Facebook, they added the iconic advertising functionality that made Facebook so great for sponsored content. Pretty soon your Instagram feed was peppered with sponsored posts that were :30 seconds. Still, the video content didn’t get downgraded to schlock… It was still Instagram, after all. If you have a piece of content on their feed, it had better be beautiful.

Every advertiser worth his or her salt knows that along with your content there needs to be a call-to-action. Bustle found that, in regards to Instagram video content, 57% of those polled found that humor and social good were the top methods of grabbing their attention. Below them were cause-related (36%), motivational (33%), and real-life (30%) spots. When audiences feel engaged in a visceral way, they’re more inclined to interact with your brand further. Visual storytelling is a tried-and-true method of piquing those interests in your viewer.


How We Approach Video on Instagram

Brands that we have collaborated with have taken advantage of Instagram’s platform of reach. In 2016, we worked with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to market the Blu-Ray/DVD release of The Shallows. Then, last year, we celebrated the solar eclipse with Cramer-Krasselt and Corona. Both projects exercised Instagram’s video function.

There’s always the criticism of video on platforms such as Instagram. “The screen is too small… You can’t make it full screen…” I get it. In video content, there’s always that yearning to make it as big as possible. That’s something we had in mind with these projects. We knew that the viewing window would be small. Therefore, the story itself had to feel large.

“Apartment Shark” is a great exercise in visual storytelling in a confined timeframe and viewing space. Big camera movements draw the viewer in, like the opening crane shot. You cut in closer to the actor as he watches the movie on his TV. Then, the idea of the water pouring into the apartment is introduced. Then, we see the overhead shot with the shark lurking beneath the floating couch. It’s a simple idea executed in a dynamic way.

The solar eclipse web spot for Corona contains a giant, astrological event. How do we tell this story of a solar eclipse in an effective way on social media? Sean Davé brought the magnitude of the eclipse down to a human level. Its large scale is felt on the faces of people watching the event. When you see the communities of people awestruck at the same spectacle, you feel its impact on a human level. That’s how you take advantage of Instagram’s video function. It was motivational and real-life all rolled into one spot.


The landscape of what’s considered a breathtaking ad morphs with every generation. Millennials aren’t prone to being sold on something with flashy gimmicks––there needs to be subtlety and an attention to social good. It’s become profitable for enterprises to have a conscience. Visual storytelling injects a brand’s messaging for how they transform the world around them directly into viewers––like a cerebral IV. Instagram has a standard of aesthetic artistry that must be met. Combine humanistic stories with breathtaking imagery and you’re bound to connect with your target audience, like Sony Pictures and Corona.


By Benton Olivares