Instagram Reels have expanded a lot since they were first added as a feature. Now, some accounts can add up to 90 seconds of footage to their videos. Where’s the sweet spot though? Is less, more? Or, should you maximise your time? It might vary depending on your audience, so it’s important to get it right.
As Instagram is moving away from the old format we knew and loved. It’s heading into a reel focused platform. The idea behind these videos has always been to capture the attention of your followers quickly. Moving image will typically grab people quicker than still images. This is because with the screen moving around and things changing, our eyes are captured by the movement, and we’re more likely to pay attention to it. Currently, you can set the time to 15, 30 or 60 seconds. Before reels, Instagram only had stories, but they disappear after 24 hours so bringing videos that stick around was something that creators were thankful for.
We all know by now reels are the most popular feature on the social platform. They can improve your engagement massively if you use them correctly. However, posting them at irregular times when your followers aren’t active won’t do you any favours. Your content might get overlooked and without the views, your video can’t perform well. Ideally, you’ll have your content featured on the explore pages. That way, anyone engaging with content similar to yours will have your posts suggested to them as something they might like. It could bring you new viewers and therefore help your followers grow.
Instagram Reel lengths in 2022
Reels have grown. They started out as short, sweet videos, and now you can have up to a minute of showcasing yourself, your products or business. It might not sound like a lot, but actually you can fit quite a bit of information into 60 seconds. The minimum time you should really capture is 15 seconds. Think about it though, anything less would be over before it started. You’d need to watch it several times to see what’s happening. Great for views perhaps, but not so great for your audience. Instagram are always upping their timings. It seems to go hand-in-hand with other competitors.
TikTok allow up to 10 minutes for some creators videos. They started the trend of short and sweet videos. This is still what they do best, but it’s expanded. Often social platforms will follow the trends. They’ll typically listen to their users. So, if creatives are complaining they don’t have enough time to fit in their content, the stores will expand the timing options. Instagram have again taken some influence from TikTok. They aren’t changing reels to 10 minutes just yet, but some accounts have now seen 90 seconds being added to their options. This will allow plenty of time to add everything you want to display.
Reel timings – what’s best to gain engagement?
There is no one rule for this, unfortunately. As with most things social media, it depends on your audience. Depending on what time of day might depend on how long they’re willing to watch for. Also, it could come down to the type of content you’re posting. If you’re posting makeup tutorials, it’s likely they’ll want them to be longer, so you can go slower. Then, they’ll pick it up quicker. However, some video ideas should be quick and snappy. So, you might want to change things up rather than having a set timing for all your videos.
“A good Reel is based on the content itself and not the length. If the content is not engaging and relatable enough, it won’t perform.”Mireia Boronat
If you capture your audience quickly, you might be able to create longer videos. Since they want to keep watching, you can add more into your content. However, if you’re newer to the platform, you might not get people watching for long. They won’t know what to expect for you. So, perhaps keep them shorter until you grow an audience. Once they know what content you post, and they’re invested, people will likely want to keep watching despite the length. It’s suggested you should stick to 15 seconds as the reel will continue to loop. Each loop counts as a view. Therefore, with shorter videos you’ll gain more views.
The more views, the more your video will seem attractive to Instagram’s algorithm. Once it’s been picked up by Instagram they’ll start sharing your content on the explore page and to other users as a suggestion. Don’t try buying views or followers, it won’t end well. Instagram will soon see only one of your videos has had any interest and will stop suggesting your content to other users. To find your perfect reel length, you need to keep an eye on your analytics. So, faking them won’t help you crack the code. You need to gain views in an authentic way. They must be real users viewing your videos.
How can you find the perfect video length when your account is new?
Check out your competitors. Once you’ve found your niche, try looking at other accounts that create similar content, or have a similar business idea. See what works for them and then try this for yourself. Your audience will be similar so if it’s working for their account, it’s likely it will also be beneficial to you. You can start off with the general 15 seconds and see if you gain any interest. If you start outgrowing this, check out your competitors again and see if they mix things up. They might switch between 15 seconds and 60 seconds. Steal their video lengths.
You’ll need to experiment for yourself. Yes, it’s likely your competitions timings will work for you. However, it will depend on the content type. Try out a mixture of video lengths, especially in the beginning. Eventually you’ll fall into a nice routine and find what works best for you. You’ll start to see patterns appear. There will be days and times people are more active. Or, videos that perform better than others. Start comparing your videos and figure out which ones are working best for you.
It might seem confusing at first, but the beauty of being a new account is, you have the trail and error stage. You can unapologetically make mistakes, and it doesn’t matter. One, because you won’t yet have a strong following, but two because those who are following you will understand. People know they can’t expect everything to be perfect when an account is so fresh. You can also delete content that hasn’t worked, because it won’t affect your account at such an early stage. Eventually, as you grow, things will make sense. Your followers will enjoy certain videos more than others and this will start showing you what they want to see.