The days of the simple square shaped Instagram feed posts are gone. Now, Instagram Reels have taken over and are much favored by the Instagram algorithm. Video content has been slowly invading Instagram, and with the release of Reels in 2020, the coup was complete.
Instagram Reels length runs between 15 to 90 seconds and are much more likely to grab a user’s attention and keep them scrolling– Instagram Reels stats prove it.
This length limit was increased from 60 seconds in mid 2022 after IG Reels took over all Instagram videos. Now, any video you see on the platform is technically considered an Instagram Reel.
Instagram stories are also a popular type of video content on Instagram, but unlike these short 24-hour video posts, Reels do not disappear.
Instagram users can post Reels and keep them on their Instagram feed, which means they’re viewable from anyone’s profile at any time.
So, from 15 to 60 seconds maximum length, what is the ideal Reels length for best performance on Instagram?
Is it better to go with long form videos, or is it better to stick below the 90 seconds and enjoy the benefits of short form video?
Video lengths certainly do matter when it comes to your Instagram algorithm favorability, and in this post we’re breaking down all of the info you need so that you can select Reels and publish content that will get more reach and engagement.
Why does Instagram Reel length matter?
Instagram Reels length matters because it can affect how many people see the video, and how much people engage with it.
When your Reels video is at the perfect length, you’ll have an advantage in terms of the Instagram algorithm. Thus, you’ll get many more viewers, more new people will watch your Reels, and they may even tap to check out your page!
This is ideal for long-term Instagram growth, so making sure you know all about the current Instagram trends is vital. That includes Reel length.
The Instagram algorithm gives more weight to Reels that:
- Are full-screen vertical videos with an aspect ratio of 9:16
- Use original audio either created by the user, found on other Reels, or music from within the Instagram library
- Implement creative tools including text, camera effects, and/or filters
- Get high levels of engagement: likes, comments, shares, saves, and watch time
The best thing that can happen is that Instagram users love your Reels so much that they watch multiple times. This means that IG will count multiple views for your Reel and rank it higher, showing it to more people.
Furthermore, you want people to like that Reel, comment on it, share it with friends, and save it for later viewing. All of these engagement helps show Instagram that people want to watch your Reels.
The length of your Reels will directly impact whether or not the user will watch to the end, watch again, engage, or simply exit out to watch something else. That’s exactly what you don’t want to happen just because you posted a long video.
You might find your audience to be less engaged and lose interest when you have a long Instagram reel. This then shows the IG algorithm that users aren’t into it, lowering your ranking and likelihood of getting visibility.
Shorter Reels typically get watched more than one time, showing the algorithm that people are on board with this content, making it more valuable. It then gets shared with more users.
That said, shorter isn’t always the right choice depending on the subject of your content. For instance, if you’re trying to do a detailed tutorial, 10 seconds might not be enough time to get your message across.
People will find this to be low value and skip over to something else. The algorithm will make a note that people didn’t find your content interesting.
So, what is the best length for Instagram reels?
As you might have figured out by now, it varies.
There’s not really a one-size-fits-all guide to the perfect Instagram Reels length. After all, the range of 15-90 seconds is pretty long in itself.
Your target audience and the type of content you shoot impacts ideal Reel length. Once you figure this out, you’ll have a much higher chance of becoming favorable with the Instagram algorithm, boosting your content reach and engagement.
How long are Instagram Reels in 2022?
As we discussed briefly above, Instagram reels use to cap at 60 seconds. Now, they’ve been expanded to 90 seconds to fit in all of the previous video content that was uploaded to Instagram.
Any video you see on Instagram is now considered part of the Reels feature. That’s one of the reasons for the length increase. After all, there are limits as to what can be accomplished with a video that’s 60 seconds long.
It’s not unlikely that the maximum limit of Instagram Reels will continue to increase. After all, the feature was launched to combat the extreme success of short videos found on TikTok, and currently TikTok caps videos at 10 minutes.
How to set up the length of your Reels
If you’re new to Reels and feeling a bit intimidated, the good news is that it’s very easy to choose and change the length of your Reels.
Yep, that’s right! When you’re creating Reels video content, Instagram has a timer tool available so that you can hit the exact length you’re looking for. Here’s how:
1. Open Instagram and tap the Reels icon, located on the toolbar at the bottom right in the middle.
2. In the top right corner, tap the Camera icon to open the Instagram camera, which will automatically open the Reels editor.
3. On the left of the screen, you’ll see the Timer icon, which is a circle with the number 30 in the middle
4. You’ll be able to pick 15, 30, 60, or 90 for your time limit.
5. After selecting your desired limit, you’re ready to record and edit your Instagram Reel video.
If you don’t want to record directly within the Instagram camera but rather upload your own videos, you can easily edit the reel to meet the length of your choice.
From the main camera screen, at the bottom left you can tap the Camera Roll icon to open up videos you already have on your phone.
After you select one, at the bottom of the screen you’ll see the time bar. You can drag the right side to minimize the length of the video and turn longer Reels into shorter ones.
You can also adjust the speed of the video on the left side by tapping the 1x icon. You can make it slower, or up to 4x faster, which will also drastically shorten the length of your video.
What’s the best Instagram Reel length for reach and engagement?
As with many things related to Instagram, there’s no ideal or target that has been released to the public on what Reels length performs best.
That said, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has made it clear that Reels are very important to a thriving Instagram performance.
Ultimately, Instagram wants viewers to clock more time on the platform, and photos alone just aren’t going to do that. Videos help connect people to what they love, and regular accounts spend more time on the platform because of it.
So, there’s not a cookie-cutter answer for what Instagram Reel length works best. The true key is what happens during the first few seconds of your Reels.
This is where Instagram users will decide whether or not they’re going to keep watching. Are you going to hook them in, or are they going to keep scrolling?
Even if you post long reels, if they’re captivating at the start and throughout, they’ll still get a high viewer count. It’s vital that they’re in from the very beginning.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the goal is to create content that adds value to your audience in a short time frame. That means don’t over-create your video to make it 90 seconds when it easily could have been more interesting at 20 sec.
What brands, businesses, and social media managers really need to know is that good videos and good Reels on Instagram are relatable and engaging.
Those are the two main tips to keep in mind when creating content for your audience. The same goes for stories, and even a static photo post. If you aren’t relating to your audience, they’re likely to lose interest fast.
For example, if you hate motorcycles and all a particular social media account posts is motorcycle videos, no matter how good those videos are, you’re going to skip over them.
That means that the content isn’t relatable for that user. You’ve got to understand what your audience can relate to and why they are viewing your post in the first place.
After that, you’ve got to find ways to engage with them. Use fun and creative tools, add music or audio directly, show them behind the scenes and ask for their opinion, or even create a carousel post with a call to action.
No matter what, you should always find a way to tell your viewers what they should do after checking out your post: should they like? Comment? Share? What’s the main purpose of this reel?
After you’ve defined these items, you can then move on to some more technical considerations. Keep in mind that the default time limit for reels is 30 seconds, but some say it’s actually better to stick to 7 to 15 seconds.
HACK! Short reels will typically loop when finished, which means that you’ll get multiple views as the video plays again. The algorithm will pick that up, which is something that gets it out to more users.
Unfortunately this won’t happen with longer reels. So, just something to keep in mind! That said, don’t force your videos to fit within 7-15 seconds. A healthy mix of captivating content is always good.
How to find the best Instagram Reel length for your audience
Still wondering how you can decide on the length of your Instagram reels?
Here we’re going to give you all the top tips on how to create Reels that are at the perfect length, keeping your audience engaged and generating more views.
Remember that the default aspect ratio for reels is 9:16, so if you’re shooting your content outside of the Reels area on the IG camera, you should make sure that it meets that criteria for best video quality.
Instagram is so much more than a photo sharing platform these days, and video ads are becoming more and more popular, as we’ve already seen with Instagram story ads.
It’d be a shame to avoid creating video content because it seems like too much work. Just dive in and do your best! It’s the future of the platform, so you really don’t want your feed to suffer because you’re too intimidated to create video content.
Let’s get into the big tips!
Check what’s working for your competitors
This can be one of the most valuable things you can do for your content creation– competitor research!
When you know how often your competitors upload Reels, what audio they’re using, and what type of story they’re telling, you can replicate the strategy for your own page.
You can subscribe to your competitors’ Instagram accounts to see what they’re posting right in your feed, or if you prefer, you can navigate to their own profile.
There, you can click on the Reels feature icon underneath the Instagram story highlights and bio.
That will show you each post uploaded as a Reel, allowing you to get an idea of how many views each Reel has.
Are they short Reels with original audio? Are they a bit longer? What type of videos are they?
Perhaps you notice that a 60-seconds long Reel post featuring a new product or a how-to performs the best. You can use this formation to upload your own successful Reels.
When you tap on the reel, you can see more details about the post, including how many comments and likes it has, as well as the captions and hashtags used.
Check out a few users that you consider to be competitors in your niche and make your conclusions about what works best amongst your audience.
You can then create a successful Reels strategy. Remember, don’t just copy — use that inspiration and create something that serves your unique brand and personality!
Test different Reel lengths
Another great method is to upload different Reels of varying seconds long. Using testing on your own account is a great option for discovering the proper Reels length.
Start by posting shorter Reels and see how they do. A Reel of only 9 seconds currently holds the record for the most-viewed Reel on Instagram, so anything is possible!
Once you see how your audience responds to your video, you can then make decisions on whether or not your audience is receptive to longer Reels.
For example, chocolatier Amaury Guichon has an impressive following of 9.6M followers and regularly posts lengthy reels that preview his process while creating incredible chocolate sculptures.
One of his longest Reels building a chocolate robot arm garnered him a whopping 1.4M likes, 12k comments, and a cool 27.9M views.
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That just goes to show the content within your video is king, and if your audience or niche is captivated, they will subscribe and keep watching.
Analyze your past performance
Checking to see what has worked for you in the past and what hasn’t worked is also a big part of your Reels success, especially when you are doing testing.
Instagram Reels insights will give you insight into metrics like:
- Accounts reached. How many IG users saw your Reel a minimum of one time.
- Plays. The number of times your Reel has played, including repeat views.
- Likes. How many likes your Reel post got.
- Comments. How many comments your Reel post got.
- Saves. How many times users saved your Reel.
- Shares. How many times users shared your Reel in their story or sent it to another IG user.
How to view Reels Insights
You can view Instagram Reels performance metrics in your Instagram Insights.
Visit your profile and tap the Insights button under your bio.
You’ll only have this option available to you if you have a professional Instagram account, which you can switch to in your settings for free.
Here you can see which Reels performed the best over the specified time period.
If you want to see Reels-specific insights, scroll down to Reels in the Insights Overview area and tap the right arrow that appears next to the number of Reels.
Then all of your Reels metrics will be viewable in one place.
It’s a good idea to set a schedule to check your insights — check them a few hours, days, and weeks after you post. You’ll then have a full picture on what your audience is responding to.
These patterns can help you make the best Reels possible.
Follow trends for inspiration
Trending Reels are also incredibly valuable. You can see what most Instagram users in your niche are interested in viewing.
It’s also important to note audio that is trending on Instagram. This is a free way to get more views simply by having the right music or sound effects on your Reels.
You’re much more likely to get seen according to the Instagram algorithm when you use trending audio as opposed to your own audio.
The same goes for filters and any templates or challenges that creators are frequently featuring.
Experiment with different content types
Don’t just stick to Reels in your feed! Instagram allows you to share IG Reels to your stories, so you might consider posting a story to promote your new Reels post.
Not only that, you can include reels in a carousel post, create story ads and video ads in addition to posting Reels regularly, and so much more.
Having a well-rounded content offering is a great strategy to build value in your Instagram profile and keep your audience coming back for more.
It will also help you to get more views with Reels that bring viewers in and stick around to see what you post in their feed.
Also, consider the type of Reel you are going to post. Will it be a how-to video such as the ones that Sephora frequently posts?
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Or are people in your audience responding more to product features, like the fun Reels from Old Navy?
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There are tons of ways to showcase your brand with Reels, including behind-the-scenes videos, offering tips or how-tos, life hacks, a day in the life, dances, and so much more.
Final Thoughts About Instagram Reels Length
So, there’s a lot that goes into the perfect Instagram Reels length, but with a little practice, research, and testing, you’re sure to become a pro!
Instagram video ads are becoming more and more popular, so it’s a good idea to master Reels now to get a head start on what’s likely to come in the future.