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 2021, 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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IG Reels length limit in 2023

To fully understand Instagram Reels, one of the first questions you’ll need to answer is: how long can Instagram reels 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, this was doubled to 30 seconds, and in August 2021, it was doubled again to 60 seconds in response to community feedback. 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. In the top-right corner of the screen, you’ll see the + button (this should appear whether you are on your profile or the Instagram Home tab).
  2. Click it and press Reel from the drop-down menu that appears. 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. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be ready to create your Instagram Reel.

What is the best Reels length, and does Instagram Reels length matter?

When it comes to Instagram Reels, it’s vital to remember that the content is always more important than the duration. When creating Reels, you’ll need to 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 when it comes to the ideal Instagram Reel length is roughly 7 to 15 seconds. As we mentioned previously, Instagram Reels were created in 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, there are plenty of videos that fall outside that window that 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. 

How to find Reels ideas

If you’re struggling to find inspiration in creating Instagram Reels, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we list some of the best tactics for finding new and creative Instagram Reels ideas. 

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’ll have access to 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 you’ll be redirected to the original post.

How to find Reels ideas - 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.

Want relevant, customized news alerts delivered directly to your inbox on a schedule of your choosing? If so, then Google Alerts could be the perfect fit. Creating Google Alerts is an excellent way to take the time and effort out of industry research. 

All you’ll need to do is visit the Google Alerts website and create a new alert/set of alerts by entering certain keywords into the search bar that appears. 

How to find Reels ideas - Set up Google Alerts for keywords

Once you type something into the search bar, you’ll notice a button below it labeled ‘Show options’. Click it and you’ll be able to choose how often you’d like to receive alerts, from which sources and regions, and how many results you want to receive in your email summaries.

Ideally, some of these publications and stories arriving in your inbox will spark an idea or two for some Instagram Reels.

Conduct competitor research

Another great way of drawing inspiration for Instagram Reels is by taking a look at what your competitors are doing, particularly on Instagram. 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. 

You can easily conduct competitor research with the Competitor Analysis module. Here, you can select which platforms you’d like to examine and select 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 given period, the number of posts, follower growth, total interactions, and average engagement rate (ER) per post. 

How to find Reels ideas - Conduct competitor research

Get on Instagram

It may seem obvious, but the best way to see what types of Instagram Reels are trending is by immersing yourself in the app. Explore Instagram by scrolling through your feed and/or the Discovery tab. Under the tab, you’ll see a wide range of posts and Reels from a variety of accounts, including ones you may not already follow. As a result, this tab provides you with a wider insight into what users are sharing on Instagram than your feed. 


While there are recommended practices to follow when it comes to Instagram Reels’ length, there is no right and wrong way to make the most of this social media tool. Although shorter Reels (typically 7 to 15 seconds long) generally perform quite well, the most important thing to consider is what resonates most with your audience. To identify what performs best with your followers, experimentation is key. That’s why we recommend creating Instagram Reels of various sizes as a means of crafting a strategic social media strategy. 

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.