Cinemagraphs Drive Results on Instagram

The power of Instagram cinemagraphs

We know how powerful a great image on Instagram can be and cinemagraphs take engagement on Instagram to an entirely new level. In our own informal studies, we’ve seen a very positive lift from social media posts with cinemagraphs. Everyone seems to love how cinemagraphs auto-play and auto-loop and the medium has rapidly taken its place alongside photography and video as something we’ll see and use everywhere and everyday. It’s no suprise to us that on Instagram, cinemagraphs almost always see more comments and more likes than a still photo.

Major brands and advertisers are eager to tap into the power of the cinemagraph medium. Flixel is working with a large market research firm on a formal study that will directly benchmark a cinemagraph against a still photo in social media ads. The results will be significant, not just for Instagrammers looking to up their game, but also for marketers and advertisers hoping to forge deeper connections with their customers.


Using cinemagraphs as part of digital marketing campaigns will not only set your company apart, it will also delight your clients. No wonder cinemagraphs have been named a top design trend for 2016.

Case Study: Mercedes

Cinemagraph ads from the World’s leading brands have been popping up all over social media. Companies like Starbucks, Ikea, and Mercedes have been testing out the new medium and seeing staggering results. Two brand effectiveness studies by Nielsen showcase just how powerful cinemagraph ads can be.

Instagram is an ideal social platform for cinemagraphs ads, as videos auto-play and auto-loop in the feed. A cinemagraph created by Flixel Studios for Mercedes-Benz Canada, brought a 6pt lift in brand favourability among males, and a 34% lift in ad recall across 3 campaigns.

Read more about the campaigns success, and check out how Holden, an Austrailian car company, achieved a 30pt lift in ad recall by using a cinemagraph. 

It’s not only big brands that are using cinemagraphs in their digital marketing strategies, small and medium sized businesses are finding success. 

Case Study: Berlinstagram

Michael Schulz. 460K followers. Berlin and travel street photography.

Berlin, Germany.


Talented photographer with excellent marketing skills, Michael began creating cinemagraphs in early 2015. When he’s not in Berlin sharing snapshots of the city, he’s travelling around the world making Instagramming his job.

Michael gets a lot of positive attention from his followers, and his likes range from around 2.5k to upwards of 13.5K. He puts personality and a little something special into his work, and people notice.

Currently at 6.2K posts, only 35 or so which are cinemagraphs, can you guess what his most liked is?  A cinemagraph.

 This is powerful. His photography is stunning, seriously amazing, but yet this cinemagraph rose above the rest. There’s something alluring and mesmerizing about cinemagraphs as a medium, and when done well, they can be a game changer for any professional or company seeking to improve their social engagement.

Let’s take a look at another powerful cinemagraph creator on Instagram, Sweatengine. From amateur to influencer in 4 years, Kevin Lu is always a step ahead of the game.

Case Study: Sweatengine

Kevin Lu. 179K followers. Content creator. “I make squares with my iPhone.” 

New York, USA.


In 2012, he bought his first camera and began to learn the art of photography. In 2014, Keven quit his job as a bimedical engineer, and began working full-time as a freelance photographer.  Specializing in mobie photography and videography, Kevin has mastered the art of shooting on an iPhone. This makes his content relevant, timely, and relatable.

“I also do videography, so the 4K video [on the iPhone 6s] is really helpful because the quality is absolutely insane on a mobile phone,” said Kevin in an interview with Vogue. With the release of the iPhone 6s, and the power of 4K video, now amateur photographers can get top-shelf shots on their mobile devices.

Working for clients such as Apple, Gap, Expedia, and GM, Kevin is no amateur anymore.


It’s not only Berlinstagram who is seeing great results with his cinemagraphs. Comparing the photo and cinemagraph below, which are nearly identical in framing and concept, which do you think won the social engagement war?

Photo: 4,605 likes – 41 comments

Cinemagraph: 5,377 likes – 151 comments

Up your Instagram game

Okay, that’s easier said than done, which is why we’re here to provide some insight and best practices. Originating as a photo platform, branching into video in 2013, Instagram is a highly visual social network. So, how do you stand out in an oversaturated platform?

Average number of photos uploaded to Instagram each day: 58,000,000

Average number of videos uploaded to Instagram each day: 5,000,000 

Instagram is cluttered with photography enthusiasts, some great, some not so great, but the inflow of content is staggering. One way to stand out is through VIDEO. Kevin Lu understands this- all smart photographers do. Creatives are always searching for new ways to tell stories. The issue with video is, it’s time consuming to create. That’s why Instagram 15 second limit has forced marketers and editors to tell a story in a short frame of time. Micro-video forcers creators to produce better content. A top trend in 2015, bite-sized videos will continue to rise as one of the ideal marketing strategies in 2016.

Another form of micro-video is a cinemagraph. A short looping video, where the creator chooses which elements to freeze, and which to have in motion.This allows you to drive attention to a certain aspect in the frame, which is not only a great way to tell a story, but also a great way to sell a product. I guess these go hand-in-hand, as great storytelling is the key to great marketing. Big brands, influencers and pro photographers are using cinemagraphs on Instagram. Don’t believe me? Check out this blog for some proof.

More blogs like this one:

Cinemagraphs: The Hot New Advertising Medium on Instagram

Instagram Finally Shows Some Out of the Box Thinking

How to Get Better Results on Instagram

How to Post Flixel Cinemagraphs to Instagram

(Flixel Marketing Manager)

When Cassandra was six, she was asked to share a story with her class…and hasn’t stopped telling them since. Now she does so through photography, video and writing, but with the same sense of wonder - and love for glitter - as her inner kid.


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