How to Choose the Best Stock Videos for TikTok and Instagram Success

In the dynamic realm of social media, TikTok and Instagram have emerged as powerful platforms, placing a premium on engaging video content. 

As the demand for captivating visuals escalates, leveraging stock videos for TikTok and Instagram channels is the wisest decision. These platforms thrive on immersive video experiences, making strategic content choices crucial. 

Discover how incorporating high-quality stock videos from iStock Video can accelerate channel growth affordably, unlocking a myriad of creative possibilities. 

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Using Stock Videos on TikTok and Instagram (and Other Social Media Channels)

For brands aiming to maintain relevance, TikTok stands out as a crucial platform centered around engaging video content. Simultaneously, Instagram, once photo-centric, keeps evolving into a video-oriented space. 

88% of viewers are persuaded to buy after watching a brand's video, the average person watches 19 hours of online video weekly, and 87% of marketers report an increase in website traffic due to video content
88% of viewers are persuaded to buy after watching a brand's video, the average person watches 19 hours of online video weekly, and 87% of marketers report an increase in website traffic due to video content

Crafting an effective marketing strategy for these channels demands a consistent stream of fresh video content. Combining stock videos and bespoke footage proves ideal for streamlining this process without compromising quality. This approach ensures a regular output of compelling content on TikTok and Instagram, allowing your brand to stay at the forefront of your audience's attention. In a landscape where video dominates, adapting and diversifying content creation methods is critical to sustained success.

This content production strategy poses an initial question: can you use stock media on TikTok and Instagram? The short answer is yes. Both platforms’ user terms state that you can post stock media assets on your account, provided you are not infringing on third-party copyright, which means that as long as you have a valid license to use the content how you are doing it, you’re fine. 

Similarly, most top stock media licensing agencies enable social media usage of their assets, including on their license agreements. And yes, TikTok and Instagram are contemplated. 

Still, the best and safest practice before posting content on your channels is to verify that the media license you acquired covers your intended use. 

MTStock Studio / iStock.com

Elevating your Social Media Content with iStock Videos 

Using stock videos for social media content creation has multiple benefits, mainly if you use a high-quality stock video provider like iStock.

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iStock is a well-known stock media agency owned by the prestigious Getty Images. They specialize in providing high-quality media assets in two leading offers: Essential, which is budget-friendly yet professional, and Signature, which is high-end and exclusive. If you want more information, you can read our detailed iStock review.

iStock Video is one of the best services in the market, thanks to its high curation level and wide variety of themes and styles. You can find stock footage clips for almost any topic you can imagine, and they are all high-resolution and professional-looking. These clips boost the quality of your content and elevate your brand. Take a look: 

  • Save time: The first clear benefit of stock footage is that it speeds up your workflow and eases your load. iStock video clips are already created and polished, ready to download and integrate into your production immediately. Stitching stock assets with custom footage can quickly “fill in” your visual requirements without shooting extra content. 
  • Save money: Any content creator can tell you that those beautiful short clips they constantly post take hours or days and quite some pennies to create. The kind of tools needed to shoot and edit high-quality videos, no matter how short, also have their cost. On iStock, you can license pro-grade videos in HD and even 4K resolution for as little as $5.30 each (if you go for a Premium+Video subscription with access to all images and all videos in the catalog) – this is not only a great price, but the best price in the market for 4K stock footage, all the more when it comes to Signature videos, which are exclusive and higher-valued. 
  • Enhance storytelling: Integrating iStock videos into your TikTok and Instagram content –posts, reels, stories– is an effortless way to enrich its visual appeal. For example, you can overlay custom footage of you or your brand's spokesperson talking over stock videos that visualize the concepts being discussed. In this regard, iStock’s Mood and Feeling boards are a great source of creative ideas and offer videos that can help capture emotions and share messages beautifully on social media. The unique and artistic content curated into the Signature Video collection can lend your brand a sense of professionalism, class, and quality. 
  • Be legally safe: The iStock license is one of the industry's most flexible and easy to understand and follow. As you can learn on our iStock license breakdown, it states that you can use iStock videos on social media without limitation for audience size or project budget, so you're perfectly safe using them on Instagram and TikTok.

Here, you can learn all about the iStock Video service. 

Let's see some best practices for selecting suitable iStock videos for your productions.

Use Vertical in your Search to find suitable Videos for Social Media Usage

Selecting the Best iStock Videos for TikTok and Instagram

What should you post on TikTok and Instagram that reaches your audience, expands it, and engages it? It is hard to answer that as the trends and dynamics that govern user behavior on these forums are permanently evolving. But in general lines, what you want is your content to be on-topic, on-brand, and on par with current platform trends. On iStock, you can easily find clips that meet that criterion and discover content you might not have considered but that would work great for your channel. Here is how:

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  • Portrait Style and Vertical Videos – TikTok and Instagram are primarily mobile apps, and users prefer to view content on their phones in a vertical format. Therefore, videos crafted for these channels should be in vertical format to better suit the display. Fortunately, iStock provides an extensive collection of vertical clips you can search for using the vertical orientation filter on the advanced search. Additionally, you can explore handpicked collections of portrait-format footage.
  • Trend reporter – iStock offers a free resource on their website, Visual GPS, a search engine for visual trends. If you type in a topic or theme set the region of the world and the industry you are interested in, the software will return a report with levels of interest in that topic broken down according to your parameters, plus popular terms associated with that topic, and, of course, a selection of videos and photos that better represent that trend. This is a valuable bonus feature as you can locate the best-performing videos for any theme, extract important terms to include in your copy, and improve your SEO. 
  • Short-Format Video – Even though the platforms have recently increased the available length for videos, the ideal length for a TikTok video or an Instagram reel should be between 10 and 35 seconds. Instagram stories have a maximum length of 15 seconds. When selecting a stock video, consider these limitations, and if the video is longer than the ideal length, analyze which portion will be most helpful for you.
  • Easy search: First, the iStock search feature is super helpful in locating the perfect clips. You can use keywords, do reverse video searches, and further refine the results using advanced filters. Say you have a TikTok channel for your skin care center and want to discuss the benefits of microneedling. All you have to do is go to the iStock search bar, set it to video, type in “microneedling,” hit enter, and uncover thousands of microneedling videos with optimal quality, perfect for your next reel or post. Additionally, you can explore the different curated categories in the agency, like healthcare, wellness, and beauty, to find inspiration and new content to use. 
Rebelz / iStock.com

Social media strategists generally recommend having a balanced content policy that includes a combination of evergreen or brand-specific content and coverage of current trends. While you can decide what staple content is relevant for your field and what personalized videos to create, we can provide you with a quick list of the most popular themes and content ideas for 2024!

Niche Communities – Content that appeals to communities of like-minded individuals is high on the trend list for this year. If you're on TikTok, you may have heard of Booktok. In this trend, people share content focused on their love for books and literature, such as book reviews and recommendations, or Cottagetok, which gathers videos praising the “cottagecore” aesthetic and principles. On Instagram, entire channels are dedicated to niche lifestyles, from Beige Parents to Gym Bros and everything in between. 

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Sustainable Living – Society is increasingly concerned with sustainability and environmental protection. Influencers, celebrities, and users constantly take to social media to advocate for a more sustainable lifestyle and share ideas and thoughts on reducing environmental impact with our daily life choices. From cooking to traveling to fashion, videos that address sustainability challenges today are viral. 

image 4 > How to Choose the Best Stock Videos for TikTok and Instagram Success

Authentic Everything – Instagram imposed the natural, candid aesthetic in today's visual sphere. From “no filter” content, where people present themselves with no makeup, to “confession time” clips where users share intimate stories, to the latest trend of the “photo dump,” where a collection of images and clips with a less polished curation are published in one carrousel-like post, authenticity remains a must. 

Barbie Aesthetic – On the other side of the spectrum, though, the 2023 Barbie movie continues to influence an aesthetic trend on video-driven social media platforms. TikTok's Barbie videos are every bit as popular in early 2024 as when it first launched, and overall, content that represents the pink, blond, and overly-stylized Barbie style is quite appealing. 

image 3 > How to Choose the Best Stock Videos for TikTok and Instagram Success

Educational Shorts – The short-form nature of TikTok has proven to be highly engaging, and educational content is very popular in this segment, having spread to Instagram reels as well. Math “hacks” and tutorials, fun science facts, and even more specific science content get many views and likes on both channels. 

Challenges – At this point, they're a classic of social media: Videos of users trying to fulfill a challenge proposed by others or proposing a new challenge themselves always have the potential for virality. From TikTok dances to Instagram couple challenges, these clips usually receive much attention and shares. 

Reel Responses – A new feature introduced last year that keeps gaining a solid foothold on both Instagram and TikTok is replying to a specific comment on a reel with another reel. People can address a particular feedback received by displaying it on screen and talking about it (or otherwise showing footage that supports the response). These reel responses are more popular every day and catch the attention of many viewers.

Sludge videos – One of the latest trends rapidly growing on TikTok is that of multiscreen videos –referred to as “Sludge”–, made of different clips playing on one screen at once. Usually, these clips gather viral or trending TikTok content and put it all on the same display. It's as visually chaotic as it sounds, but the younger demographic (Generation Z) loves them for some reason. For example, you can exploit this format with your unique content by using multi-screen styled stock videos. 

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Craft a Winning TikTok and Instagram Content Strategy with iStock Video

In conclusion, harnessing the power of stock videos can effortlessly elevate your TikTok and Instagram content. By choosing wisely, you can create impactful visuals swiftly and cost-effectively. 

Look no further than iStock Video for an extensive, high-quality resource with the perfect arsenal to amplify your social media presence quickly and efficiently.

FTC Disclaimer: Some links here may be affiliate links. If you purchase through them, we might earn a commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are our own.

Ivanna Attié
Ivanna Attié

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in StockPhotoSecrets.com and Stock Photo Press and its many stock media-oriented publications. I am a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Lucky enough to enter the wonderful world of stock photography working side-by-side with experienced experts, I am happy to share my research, insights, and advice about image licensing, stock photography offers, and the stock media industry with everyone in the creative community. My background is in Communication and Journalism, and I also love literature and performing arts.

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