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The Easy Way to Post Youtube Videos to Instagram

Steven Howsley | October 20, 2020

About uploading YouTube videos to Instagram

Despite being one of the biggest social media companies in the world, Instagram has not given us a convenient way to upload video to the platform unless we’re using the app.

Even Instagram’s desktop version (did you even know that existed?) doesn’t allow you to actually post things to the site unless you get tricky and make your browser display as if it was a phone instead.

Suffice to say, if you want to get a video off of Youtube (or anywhere else) and upload it to Instagram, it’s time to engage in some digital shenanigans.

Video Limitations & Digital Shenanigans

Before we tell you how you can do it, though, it’s worth taking a moment to consider why you want to upload a Youtube video to Insta, and the constraints you’re going to have to deal with.

Video Limitations on Instagram

Instagram has limits on its video sharing; if you’re posting the video to your regular feed, it has to be 60 seconds or less; 30 seconds is usually the target zone you want to live in. If you’re adding video to your stories, the system breaks the video up into 15 second chunks. IGTV gives you a way around this, permitting much longer video times, so if your goal is to get a Youtube vid up on Instagram without having to edit it in any way, you’re probably going to want to do IGTV.
How To Download a Youtube Video

Digital Shenanigans: Downloading & Uploading YouTube Videos

OK: time to download the video you want. This tends to be easier if you do it on a desktop, but you can also search for “Video downloader” or “Youtube download” in the app store on your given device if you’d prefer. The process should be about the same. And before you get too frustrated down this path, don’t expect most of these legitimate solutions to be free.

Downloading the YouTube Video

If you’re on a desktop, you’re going to need to download a program to get the video off YouTube and onto your computer. Before you do this– keep in mind that can get you into trouble for copyright violation by downloading Youtube videos. If you’re going to download something, make sure you have permission to do so first. This isn’t a joke; don’t steal from your peers who are trying to make cool social media content. Basically, don’t take credit for someone else’s hard work.

You can Google “YouTube Downloader” to find a dozen different sites and programs that’ll do what you want, or check out this awesome Wikipedia aggregate of ‘notable youtube downloaders.’

Or just use 4K download, which starts out free with the option to get a premium account, works with YouTube and Vimeo, and doesn’t have any malware or a funky interface.

Most downloaders allow you to simply paste the video’s URL and go from there. Whether you use one we recommend or a different bit of software, you’ll want to make sure the file you’re downloading is an MP4 (this is the only file type acceptable to Instagram) or you need to make sure you can convert what your downloader spits out into MP4 format. Additionally, you want the download to be the highest possible quality and for it to have an aspect ratio of 4:5 (or 9:16 if you’re doing IGTV). If you can’t hack that, 1:1 is acceptable.

Transferring & Uploading the Video on Mobile

Once you’ve got your file, either downloaded to your hard drive or emailed to you, you need to take that file and transfer it to a mobile device, so you can start uploading it to Instagram. This process is device dependent, so we won’t go into it here. If you can’t figure out how to move a video file off of a computer onto a phone, there are (ironically) a lot of Youtube tutorials that can help you out.

Before you transfer it though; you might want to do a little video editing. Throw in some background music, cut the video so it fits within the time windows needed for Stories, and so on.

How To Upload A Downloaded Youtube Video To Instagram

OK; you’ve got your file downloaded and in MP4 format, and it’s of a length that Instagram won’t complain about.

Now you just upload it just like you would a video captured by your phone’s own video camera. Honestly the upload is the easy part; it’s getting the file downloaded that’s the headache.

Throw on a few hashtags, tag your friends so they see it too, and away you go: you’ve got a YouTube video up on the ‘gram.

Written by Steven Howsley

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