Reels is one of the most popular short-form video platforms out there. Launched as a competitor to TikTok in 2020, it now has over 2.3 billion active monthly Instagram users.
For creators, it’s a fantastic platform to post short videos, generate engagement, and grow their audience.
However, to go viral on Instagram Reels and attract viewers, your clips have to tick certain boxes, starting with video length.
So, how long can an Instagram Reel be?
The short answer is between 15 and 90 seconds.
The long answer is a little more complex. Here’s the full run-down.
Why does Reel length matter?
First off, let’s clarify why the length of video reels on Instagram matters.
The easy answer is that it’s a huge factor determining engagement. And, consequently, your chance of going viral.
Insights into the Instagram algorithm show that it rewards Reels that:
- use original audio you create yourself, or import current trends from the Instagram music library
- harness creative tools like filters, effects, and stickers
- stick to the 9:16, full-screen vertical aspect ratio
- use appropriate hashtags and captions
- have high engagement (metrics like overall watch time, saves, likes, comments, shares …)
And Reel length is a major determining factor of engagement. If a Reel is too long for a topic you’re trying to cover, viewers will get bored and drop off.
In contrast, if it’s too short – say a product demo that only lasts a handful of seconds – the chance that someone will leave a comment or re-watch it decreases dramatically.
So, what’s the best Instagram Reels length? It ultimately depends on your content and Reels strategy.
However, statistics show that the average length of successful Reels is 16 and 17 seconds. Going by popularity, it seems that this is a sweet spot balancing informational content against attention spans.
Instagram guru Millie Adrian gives you the run-down on the latest changes to the Insta algorithm and how they affect Reels.
How long can Instagram Reels be?
The default length for Instagram Reels is 15 to 90 seconds. (For Instagram Stories, it’s 60 seconds.)
You can adjust this by navigating to the Reels tab in the Instagram app. To get there, simply tap the Reels icon at the bottom of the screen, then tap the camera icon in the top right corner of the app.
Once you’re done filming, you can edit multiple short clips together or add videos from your camera roll to create a fantastic Reel of up to 90 seconds, including effects and trending audio.
Finally, follow Reel best practices and add your captions, hashtags, and descriptions. Then you’re all set to post your clip and go viral.
Can Instagram Reels be longer than 90 seconds?
In short, yes. You can vary the length of your IG Reel by using an external scheduling tool with access to your instagram profile to upload them.
Using Hootsuite, for example, you can upload Reels with lengths of 3 seconds to a whopping 15 minutes. (IGTV was another popular external app that allowed users to extend their Reel time. However, it was dropped in 2021.)
One major advantage of leveraging a third-party scheduling tool for your Reels is that it allows you to optimize your short-form video content for different social media platforms. For instance, you can repurpose your Reels as TikTok videos or YouTube shorts without having to switch between apps.
Plus, social media management tools also make it easier to upload content you filmed and edited outside the app. Many professional creators, for example, have a high-end Instagram camera and hire professional video editors to make their content stand out.
The Bottom Line
While the default length of Reels created in the Instagram app is 15-90 seconds, you can leverage external tools to extend them up to 15 minutes.
Whether that’s useful, though, is a different question. Stats show that Reels do best at around 16 seconds.
However, to pinpoint the optimal Reel length to generate engagement, it’s best to look for inspiration among other successful creators in your niche. And to run some comparisons yourself.
That way, you’ll be able to create Reels that captivate your audience and supercharge your channel growth.
The maximum video length on Instagram Reels is 90s seconds. However, by using an external social media management tool such as Hootsuite, you can upload videos that are up to 15 minutes long.
Yes. If you use an external social media management platform, such as Hootsuite, you can upload videos that are up to 15 minutes long.
To make Instagram Reels videos that are longer than the standard 90 seconds, you’ll need to upload them using an external scheduling tool, like Hootsuite.
The optimum length for Instagram Reels depends on the type of content you’re trying to create. A humorous skit will have a different target length than a product demo. However, statistics show that most successful Reels are 16-17 seconds long.
The maximum length of Instagram Reels is 90 seconds. When you use the Instagram app to create a Reel, you can film multiple clips of up to 30 seconds and then edit them together.