Late last month, Instagram quietly updated its API to include direct Instagram video scheduling.
Previously, the Instagram API was limited to scheduling single-image posts, not yet allowing third-party tools to schedule videos or multi-image posts. Now, these tools - mainly social media management apps - can add the ability to schedule video posts to Instagram without having to use the “smartphone workaround”, the age-old process of getting a mobile alert from a social media management app when it’s time to post, and then having to manually post the video via the Instagram app.
Like direct photo scheduling, the video scheduling API is only available to Instagram Marketing Partners via the Content Publishing API beta program. Most major social media management apps (Buffer, Hootsuite, Social Report, etc) are a part of this program, so you can expect your social media management app of choice to support the feature soon.
Additionally, like Instagram photo scheduling, only Instagram Business Profiles have access to direct video scheduling via social media apps. The process of moving to a Business Profile is easy though, and simply requires you to link a Facebook Page to your Instagram profile.
There are some pretty strict video guidelines you must follow when direct scheduling a video to Instagram - here’s what Instagram lists on its website:
- “Container: MOV or MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14), no edit lists, moov atom at the front of the file
- Audio codec: AAC, 48khz sample rate maximum, 1 or 2 channels (mono or stereo)
- Video codec: HEVC or H264, progressive scan, closed GOP, 4:2:0 chroma subsampling
- Frame rate: 23-60 FPS
- Picture size: Maximum columns (horizontal pixels): 1920, Minimum aspect ratio [cols/rows]: 4/5, Maximum aspect ratio [cols / rows]: 16/9
- Bitrate: VBR, 5Mbps maximum
- Duration: 60 seconds maximum, 3 seconds minimum
- File size: 100MB maximum”
Most of these limitations will be automatically implemented by the social media scheduling apps that choose to support direct video scheduling. Additionally, the time limit and file size are the same as the standard Instagram video upload limit.
What apps support Instagram video scheduling?
This feature - while highly requested by social media managers and digital agencies - has seemingly flown under the radar due to no formal announcement from Instagram. While these types of new features are typically announced on Instagram's blog, this feature was simply added to their API features page quietly just before Christmas.
With that in mind, very few social media management apps support direct video scheduling - currently, it has only been implemented by Social Report, a popular social media management tool and Instagram Marketing Partner with advanced scheduling and reporting features.
While it’s safe to say that other major social media management tools will introduce the feature soon (the feature is currently “in progress” on Buffer’s Trello board), none of them have announced formal release dates. Until then, their users will have to continue using the smartphone workaround.
This is huge news for social media managers and agencies
It’s safe to say that direct Instagram video scheduling will change the game for social media agencies and in-house marketing teams. Having to manually schedule videos to Instagram makes it near impossible to schedule videos at odd-hours or on weekends, but automation will soon change that.
Now all Instagram needs to do is open multi-image posting via its API, and social media managers will never need to touch the Instagram mobile app again (for posting, at least). Only time will tell.