Video Ideas

7 Quick and Easy Instagram Stories and Vertical Videos

Moira West


According to Instagram, more than half of their users are engaging with Instagram Stories every day. That’s half a billion users, and a huge potential audience. It’s also a space that’s offering plenty of opportunities for businesses looking to connect with customers.

About a third of the most-viewed Stories come from businesses. Maybe that’s why a recent Animoto survey found that 73% of businesses have gotten a new customer from Instagram Stories. And a whopping 96% of marketers who use Stories plan to keep them up over the next six months.

But if you haven’t been keeping up with your Stories, we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll give you ideas for simple, professional Instagram Stories videos you can create in minutes. All our ideas are easy to execute, and 100% free when you use Animoto.

Wait, why should I use video on Instagram Stories anyway?

Good question! There are a few reasons video is your friend when you’re creating stories, whether you’re making a personal or work-related video.

Video stays on screen longer

Even if you have a simple video, Instagram lets it stay up on screen for up to 15 seconds. Compare that to the 5 seconds you get for a static image, and video is the clear winner.

PRO TIP: Using Animoto? Adjust the length of a video clip to make sure your video stays up on screen longer and has a better chance of catching followers’ eyes.

Users are more likely to completely watch a video

That’s according to Conviva, which found that Instagram Stories users had a lower exit rate on the first frame of a video than on the first frame of a still image.

PRO TIP: Even if you don’t have images or video clips, you can use text to create movement and grab attention. Take this short video, which uses an animated text style and background to make a simple message more dynamic.

Create a text-only IG Stories video

What about Facebook Stories?

The audience watching Facebook Stories is a bit smaller—300 million users to Instagram Stories 500 million. You also can’t save stories for followers to watch later like you can in Instagram, though old stories get saved in an archive you can view.

However, Facebook Stories still show up at the top of users’ screens, so it’s probably worth posting to take advantage of its prime position. After all, you’ve already created a vertical video. It only takes a few taps to post to both Instagram and Facebook Stories and build your presence on both platforms.

Easy Instagram Stories Ideas

Now that you know why you should be making videos for Instagram Stories, here’s some inspiration for what to make. Each of the videos below can be made with just a few images or video clips and can be created for free in Animoto.

Tease new content

Let followers know you have something new to share with a story you can whip up in seconds. Start with our New Post Teaser template in Animoto 3. Then add a few photos and customize to fit your brand. Post to your Stories, and you’re done!

Post a poll

Add some style to your next poll. For instance, physical trainer Kalen Norton amps the Instagram Stories poll below by adding a collage. The video clip on the bottom of the screen and the animated transitions draw the eye and hold the attention of followers who might otherwise swipe past.

Animoto Poll Stories

Share a quote

If you’re stuck for something to say, let someone else say it for you. Post your favorite quote with an eye-catching photo or video clips to add an inspirational edge to your Stories.

Promote a product or service

Customers look to connect with businesses on Instagram. Help them find your latest products or promotions with a video. You don’t need much—an interesting video clip or image plus a few words detailing your promo. The video will stay on screen longer than a static image, and it’ll stand out when compared to other content—no matter how many GIFs the competition adds.

Send a personal message

It doesn’t take long to tell someone you care. Create a simple Story for a special occasion—or just because—and tag them in it. Use this type of story for birthdays, weddings, graduations, thank yous, and more.

You can also send a personal message from your business, acknowledging employee efforts or thanking customers for their support.

Get in on a meme

If you’re trying to post more often, a simple meme can offer a fun way to engage your audience. But do more with your meme without any added effort. Try out a simple two-image video that lets you compare your plans vs. 2020 or what you think you’re doing vs. what you’re actually doing. It’ll still get a chuckle, and you won’t blend into the mass of Condescending Willy Wonkas or Evil Kermits.

Remind followers about an event

Got a Zoom meeting or upcoming Instagram Live event? Make sure followers remember to go with a last-minute story. Add a couple lines explaining what you’ll be talking about and telling them when and where they should tune in. A couple minutes later you can get back to focusing on the event itself, instead of worrying about promoting it.

Find help and inspiration for your Instagram Stories in our Facebook group, The Animoto Social Video Marketing Community, or just jump in and start creating your next Instagram story right now!