How long should your videos be on Instagram

How long should your videos be on Instagram?

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Whether you post on Instagram for fun or as a strategy to grow your brand, you want your videos to attract as many people as possible. There's no point in spending hours creating videos that no one will ever see.

While there are many factors that affect the engagement of your videos on Instagram, the length of your videos has a role to play. What is the right length for a video to publish on Instagram?

Why video length on Instagram is important

instagram visual refresh elements
Image source: Meta

Until 2016, Instagram was mainly a chronological source of square photos and videos. As a result, post items were shown to users in the order in which they were created, essentially on a first-come, first-served basis. While the matter was simpler, using a chronological feed meant that users mainly saw the newest items, while older, sometimes more valuable, items were rarely seen.

Like most major social networks, Instagram introduced content suggestion algorithms to better evaluate and tailor content to each user's interests. As a result, video items were no longer displayed based solely on when they were created, but based on an algorithmic prediction of user interest. To calculate this interest, video length is weighted both directly and indirectly by the Instagram's algorithms.

In other words, the length of your videos affects the visibility of your content. Since Instagram has different algorithms for Reels, Stories and Feed videos, depending on the type of video content, the length of your video will have a different impact on how many people see it.

Although Instagram still shows users non-chronological posts by default, as of 2022 it now gives them the option to view posts in chronological order.

What is the best length for videos on Instagram?

person scrolling on instagram

Instagram is designed to cater to shorter attention spans. This means that a short series of fun, valuable video content is the ideal video format for Instagram.

Typically, Instagram Stories has a maximum limit of 15 seconds, while in-feed videos are set at 60 minutes. Similarly, Instagram Reels are set to 90 seconds in video length. However, even given this limit, ideally your videos should be as short as possible.

On Instagram Reels, the algorithm is heavily dependent on social proof and engagement. It weighs video completion rates and the number of video re-watches. A 25-second roll is much more likely to be completed and re-watched than a 90-second roll. Every completion and re-watch by every user who interacts with your Reels counts toward wider visibility for that video.

Have you wondered why you see mostly short Reels on Instagram? It's not because people don't create longer ones. It's because the shorter ones usually outperform the longer ones. That's partly why IGTV's long video content hasn't worked.

For Feed videos, the algorithm takes slightly different signals into account to improve your videos. However, video length still plays a role. There is no magic length, such as 35 or 45 seconds, that gets the job done. However, as almost everywhere on Instagram, shorter is usually better.

That's why so many so-called Instagram experts recommend the 26-second video. 26 seconds sometimes works, not because 26 is a magic number, but because it's short enough to focus attention, yet long enough to convey a complete idea. That's why 27, 28, 30 or 35 seconds can also work.

Although your Instagram Stories may be suggested to people who don't watch you, length is not currently a significant determining factor. The length of a video has a much smaller impact on the visibility of videos in a relationship than on reels and In-Feed videos.

Learn to keep your balance

To increase the reach of your videos, length alone does not determine the appeal of the program. Prioritize value over length, but try to keep things as compressed as possible.

Ultimately, the concept of social proof (how many people interact with your content and how) will determine whether your video is valuable to the broader Instagram community. If it is deemed worthy, a shorter length will always help it get the audience it deserves.

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