How long can a Reel be on Instagram? The optimum IG Reels length for engagement
How long can a Reel be on Instagram? The optimum IG Reels length for engagement

Posting on Instagram is an integral component of any social media marketing strategy. What started as a simple photo-sharing app in 2010 has skyrocketed to one of the most powerful social media platforms in the world. In 2022, the app boasted over 1.2 billion monthly active users – and this figure is projected to increase to over 1.4 billion by the year 2025. The takeaway? Instagram is an incredibly prevalent tool that’s here to stay.

While the app has seen several updates since its launch, one of the most innovative has undoubtedly been Instagram Reels. Launched in 2020, Instagram Reels were largely prompted by TikTok’s breakaway success with short-form video content. Since then, they have been game-changing for Instagram users in creating video content more seamlessly and conveniently. 

As is the case with any video content, the duration of Instagram Reels is incredibly important for fostering engagement. In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about Instagram Reels, including how long they can be, how long they should be for optimal engagement, and some creative strategies for producing stand-out content. 

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3 reasons Instagram shifted to video over photo content

You may have noticed Instagram’s shift to video content in the past couple of years as it slowly moves away from its roots as a photo-sharing platform.

However, it seems not everyone is happy with the shift. 

A petition called “Make Instagram Instagram Again” has garnered over 1.7 million likes. Even celebrities like Kim K and Kylie Jenner have expressed their frustration with the platform.

But what prompted Instagram to prioritize Instagram Reels over photo content? Here are three reasons behind the shift.

1. Stay current 

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri states that the shift to video is part of a wider plan to stay current. Since more videos are being shared on the platform (and garnering higher levels of interaction), the platform is leaning into this. 

While Instagram has no plans to stop supporting photo content, it has confirmed that the video is the future. As such, we can expect to see more recommended content and, of course, more IG Reels.

Here’s what the CEO had to say on Twitter:

He went on to address users’ concerns in a Twitter video:

“I’m hearing a lot of concerns about photos and how we’re shifting to video. Now, I want to be clear: we’re going to continue to support photos — it’s part of our heritage… that said, I need to be honest. I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time.”

2. Compete with TikTok

Since TikTok burst onto the scene, it has managed to snag a large chunk of Instagram’s audience. As TikTok continues to challenge Instagram for the crown, it seems the Meta-owned platform has decided to make some changes.

Instagram Reels replicate the short-form video content that TikTok users love. This seems to be a clear bid to win back users and compete with TikTok.

3. Appeal to a younger demographic

Statista data shows that TikTok is the most popular platform among younger audiences, with an average age of 18-24. By contrast, Instagram users tend to be between the ages of 24 and 34. While Instagram still holds popularity with a younger crowd, TikTok is pulling ahead in the desired marketing demographic of teens. This is most likely another catalyst for Instagram’s move toward video content.

Introduction to Instagram Reels

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here’s a brief history of Instagram Reels, how to use them, and how long they can be.

What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is a feature that lets users create and share short-form video content. Creators can get inventive with these videos, adding audio effects, music, stickers, polls, and other tools to make them engaging. 

What’s more, Instagram users can share IG Reels on their Stories, via direct messaging, or on their main feed. This makes it easy to reach a wide audience with your content.

How to make Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels are quick and easy to make. All you have to do is follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Instagram App
  2. Head to the Instagram camera feature
  3. Slide through the options to reach “Reels”
  4. Tap the capture button to start working on your content (you can capture live footage or upload it from your camera roll).

Then, you can jazz up your Instagram Reel by adding audio, adjusting the speed and duration, and including text or stickers. You can also use the text-to-speech Reels feature.

Discover how to do all this in our guide, How to make Reels on Instagram: Everything to know

What is Instagram Reels length?

There is an Instagram Reels time limit you should know about before making your content. For Reels, the maximum video length is 90 seconds, and for Instagram Stories, it’s 60 seconds.

While the maximum Instagram Reel length may be 90 seconds, that doesn’t mean it’s the ideal duration. Users on the platform tend to respond better to short video content (under 20 seconds). So, the snappier, the better.

How long can Instagram reels be: IG Reel limit in 2023

To fully understand Instagram Reels, one of the first questions you’ll need to answer is: how long can an Instagram reel be? 

When it comes to Reel durations, we’ve seen several Instagram changes over the years. When they were initially launched in 2020, users could only record up to 15 seconds. A month later, the IG reel limit doubled to 30 seconds, and in August 2021, it was doubled again to 60 seconds in response to community feedback. 

So, how long can reels be in 2023?

Now, it appears that Instagram is listening to the social media community again because, as of June 2022, Instagram Reels can now last up to 90 seconds. 

In its announcement that Reels’ durations would increase to 90 seconds, Instagram also announced a couple of other innovative updates: the addition of polls, quizzes, and emoji sliders in Reels and the creation of Reels using existing templates.

The app features preset Instagram Reels lengths, meaning you can easily set the maximum length of your Reel to be 15, 30, 60, or 90 seconds. We’ll walk you through the steps you’ll need to follow to set your Instagram reel size in the following section. 

How to set up the length of your Reels?

While we offer a comprehensive guide on how to make Reels on Instagram and on the appropriate image size to use when creating Reels, this section will focus exclusively on how to set the length of your Reel. Whether you’re hoping to set up a 15, 30, 60, or 90-second Instagram Reel, the steps to do it are incredibly simple. 

Here’s what you’ll need to do: 

  1. Open your Instagram profile on the app. 
  2. Click the + button in the top-right corner of the screen (this should appear whether you are on your profile or the Instagram Home tab).
  3. Press Reel from the drop-down menu. This will redirect you to the Reel creation tool.
How to set up the length of your Reels - 1
  1. On the left-hand side of your screen, you will notice a timer icon with the number 15 on it. 
  2. When you click it, a pop-up window will appear with four of the same icon, but with different numbers: 15, 30, 60, and 90. 
How to set up the length of your Reels - 2
  1. Select your desired Instagram Reel length.
  2. You’re now ready to create your Instagram Reel.

Recommended reading 👉 How to download Instagram Reels: 4 Must-know hacks 

What is the best Reels length, and how to determine the best Instagram Reels length?

When it comes to Instagram Reels, it’s vital to remember that the content is always more important than the duration. So, you should always prioritize your audience’s needs, behaviors, and preferences. 

You’ll also need to consider the purpose of your content. For example, if you’re creating a video to answer some FAQs about your product, you’ll likely need a longer duration than you would for a quick clip of your product in use.

However, a good rule of thumb for the ideal Instagram Reel length is roughly 7 to 15 seconds. As we mentioned previously, Instagram Reels came as a response to the boom in short-form video content, which predominantly stemmed from TikTok. Therefore, sticking with shorter videos is typically good practice. Shorter videos also tend to leave your viewers wanting more, encouraging them to check out your other videos and remain on your profile.

However, much like TikTok video length, there’s no “golden rule.” While the optimal recommended video length on TikTok is 21 to 34 seconds, plenty of videos fall outside that window and have reached immense virality. With that in mind, it’s an excellent idea to experiment with different Reel lengths to see what resonates with your followers. 

Grow faster on Instagram (and other social media) with

There’s no denying it. Getting gains on Instagram takes time and consistency. That said, there is a secret weapon that can help you accelerate your brand’s growth on Insta and beyond. is a fully-featured social media management tool that equips your business with the tools to automate tasks, boost engagement, and measure performance. 

Here are some ways it can help you up the ante on social media.

Leveraging Trends is a fantastic way to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest industry news, current events, and social media trends. 

Here, you can access an information round-up for various platforms, including Google and Twitter, and even digital publications such as Buzzfeed and Medium. You can then click on each of the entries and be redirected to the original post. Trends

With all these resources compiled in an easy-to-digest format, you’ll have no trouble sifting through these trends and using them for your own social media marketing purposes.

You may also love 👉 Instagram trending Reels songs for marketers to try in 2023 

Benchmark your competitors

Looking at what your competitors are doing can seriously improve your Instagram performance. Whether you’re gathering inspiration on what resonates or seeing what not to do, there’s a lot to learn. 

It’s not a matter of replicating your competitors’ content but rather staying up to date on what they are producing and how their content is performing (i.e., engagement levels, etc.). Gaining insight into these Instagram Reels analytics is an invaluable tool in staying up to date on your competitors’ digital footprints and taking steps to help your brand stand out. 

The Competitor Analysis module makes it easy to conduct competitor research. Here, you can select the platforms you’d like to examine and one or more competitors you’d like to analyze. You can also set the date range before pressing ‘Create’. 

From there, will generate a snapshot report with insights for that period, the number of posts, follower growth, total interactions, and average engagement rate (ER) per post. 

Benchmark your competitors

Automate repetitive tasks

Managing your brand’s socials is no easy feat, especially if you’re active across multiple platforms. From keeping up with the latest changes and trends to tailoring your content to each channel, it can get overwhelming. lets you put many of these tasks on autopilot, so you can manage all your socials from one unified platform. That way, you can do everything from scheduling Instagram Reels to engaging with your followers in one place. publish module

This frees up valuable time that your team can dedicate to meaningful tasks, like growing your followers on Instagram.

Listen in

With, you can listen in on brand-relevant conversations to gauge how your followers really feel about you.

Analyzing brand mentions gives you a real feel for the sentiment and how it evolves over time. At the same time, you can easily manage your brand reputation by monitoring cross-channel mentions from one dashboard.

Social listening is one of the best ways to make informed brand decisions and stay connected to your audience. listen module

Bonus read 👉 240+ Instagram captions for every occasion: Find the perfect words 

All in one social media management tool
Rebecca MacFarlane

Rebecca is an experienced content marketing specialist based in Adelaide, Australia. Digital media, lifestyle, travel - no topic is off-limits when it comes to her writing and content creation initiatives.