There are lots of mysteries around content creation and short form video, but we’re here to bust one. What is the ideal Reel length?

Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimised by the Instagram algorithm. If you’re trying to grow an audience on social media, you need to please the algorithm gods. How to do this, exactly, is something shrouded in questions and frustration.

Last July, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri explained the algorithm. He outlined the fact that Instagram is “no longer just a square photo-sharing app.” Since then, the platform has become heavily focussed on short form video content. In order to compete with TikTok, Instagram has been pushing Reels significantly.

Users of both platforms will notice striking similarities between the two. The scrollable feed, and fun filters and effects display Instagram’s attempts to match TikTok’s popular UI. There is one notable difference, however, between the two platforms.

TikTok allows users to share videos up to 10 minutes in length. In April, Instagram extended the length of Reels to 90 seconds, from 60. But, should you be taking advantage of this as a creator?

Best Length for Reels

The maximum length isn’t always the ideal Reel length. I know it feels like there’s enough on your plate with thinking up short form video ideas, recording them, and editing them, without having to worry about the length as well.

The hard fact is, there is an ideal formula for winning short form videos. Not too dissimilar to the layout of a vlog, a lot of short form content relies heavily on an attention-grabbing hook. This goes right at the beginning of a Reel, and is responsible for intriguing your audience and making them want to stick around.

On platforms like YouTube, you can dig deeply into your content’s analytics. This lets you see where the drop-off point in your videos is. This is the point where your audience lose interest, and click off the video. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t offer such in-depth analytics yet. Although, plenty of people have conducted research into the ideal Reel length.

7 – 15 Seconds

This answer might be a lot shorter than you were expecting or hoping for. Whilst shorter videos, to many outsiders, might seem like a win – shorter means faster to produce – it’s actually much more difficult. Packing in all the necessary information, whilst keeping it entertaining and purposeful all in 15 seconds?

Sure sounds like a challenge to me.

According to social media marketing non-guru, heyDominik, if you’re looking to boost your reach, 7-15 second Reels is the sweet spot. Many Instagram users feel compelled to use any new features, since that’s what the platform usually rewards. But, in this case, it’s best to avoid those 90-second videos.

You can absolutely create longer Reels now and then, enabling you to share more information, explore a skit further, or just ramble to your audience for longer. Having longer (still technically short form) content interspersed with super bite sized videos will provide welcome variety to your audience.

Weighing up the balance between going viral and catering to your long-term audience is crucial when it comes to deciding on the ideal Reel length. Challenge yourself to create a variety of longer, medium, and super short videos, on a consistent basis, and you’ll soon see your analytics improve!