Instagram reels length -what is the optimum for success? If they are too long, people will switch off and won’t rewatch. Too short and they may play a couple of times but won’t engage. The sweet spot is where people watch again and again because they enjoyed watching it and want to see it again and again. This tells Instagram’s algorithm that your content is valuable, engaging, entertaining and is more likely to appear in reels. How long is too long? How short is too short? Well, let’s try and answer this question with some top tips and advice.

How Long Can Instagram Reels Be?

15,30,60 or even 90 seconds… there’s going to be a variation in which suits the different types of content you might want to post. If you’re playing fast moving images to the beat of the music for example, 15 seconds would be plenty. If you’re trying to showcase something – a tour of a property for example, then 60 seconds worth of content is going to be required.

We are currently obsessed with following the hashtag #vanlife – this is because it’s an ambition of ours to modify our own camper van and take it across Europe. The reels that we watch range from start to finish projects to landscapes and views, tutorials that focus on how to shower, how to do the laundry, how to cook in a van etc. This means we are hungry for the content and 15 second clips don’t tell us what we need. We prefer 30-60 second videos. I’m a big fan of the time lapsed videos that showcase the projects in quick time.

Engaging Instagram Reels Length

In the interests of research, we have spent a lot of time scrolling, exploring, watching and saving Instagram reels. We have been playing around with the length of Instagram reels, creating different options both for ourselves and for our customers. We find that those that have enough content to keep people engaged but not too much or too little tend to get played again and again.

Of course, it’s not all about your Instagram reels length but the features that you include in your videos too.

  • Video
  • Images
  • Text
  • Music
  • Animations
  • Transitions
  • Templates

Our latest obsession is Instagram templates. They mean we can predetermine the length of our videos and how many clips/images we are going to use. Oh goodness, how much time we have lost playing around with these. Often, the music in a reel can make a huge difference to the success of that reel. Explore the music library and find some of the amazing clips you could use. For tips on adding music to reels, refer to our guide. 

 How to Determine the Length

When you are creating your reel, the time will default to 60 seconds however you can change this to 15 or 30 seconds. In May 22, Instagram started rolling out videos of 90 seconds to some users. On TikTok you will find videos of up to ten minutes. We can only assume that Instagram will perhaps follow suit in the future.

Don’t underestimate the power of reels regardless of length, videos are becoming central to the Instagram experience. You can post a reel vs an image – the reel will win. The more reels, the better.


If you look at the bottom of your screen as per our image, you will see that there is the option to explore templates too. This will give the instructions and the a template to create a similar reel in time to the music with videos and images. We love these and have lost the odd hour here and there playing around with these. The example shared below was something we personally played around with on a personal account.

We created 4 using various images, themes, templates and popular music. The one below hit the sweet spot and not only did it engage followers shortly after posting, a few weeks later it was still getting likes and followers to our account. Bear in mind this is a very small account and something we use for experimenting but the numbers are great for such a small following.


How Many Reels?

While we are keen to stress that reels are important, let’s not get carried away and post several a day. Don’t just post reels for the sake of it. Only do it when you have valuable content to share – images, videos, tutorials etc.

Try and aim for 4-7 quality reels a week.

For maximum exposure and engagement. Consider your own habits and what makes you stop scrolling.

Key tip – you will be asked to when creating reels if you want them to be discoverable on Facebook. Unless there is some inherent reason why you don’t wish your reels to be found on Facebook, tick yes!

After conducting a recent experiment where we hadn’t really posted any reels of any quality, we started playing around with a personal account. We created 4 using various images, themes, templates and popular music. Of the four, one hit the sweet spot, the others really didn’t do much. This has been a theme that we have found across Instagram and not every reel will be a showstopper. 

There is no doubt that reels need to be an integral part of your instagram strategy. Remember they can be archived or hidden, they don’t have to appear in your main feed and you don’t have to make them discoverable although why wouldn’t you?

Have fun and let us know how you get on