In an utterly unsurprising update, Instagram has today announced that the Reels length limit is being extended from 30 seconds to 60 seconds for all users.
Reels. up to 60 secs. starting today. pic.twitter.com/pKWIqtoXU2— Instagram (@instagram) July 27, 2021
Instagram has been experimenting with longer Reels for some time, after first extending Reels from 15 to 30 seconds last September. And given that TikTok now enables the upload of longer clips (up to 3 minutes), and YouTube Shorts can also be up to 60 seconds in length, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Instagram followed the trend.
Which is kind of what Instagram does these days, right?
It is particularly interesting, though, in the case of Instagram, because it already enables longer video uploads in its other elements. Regular feed videos can be up to 60 seconds, while you can also upload longer videos in 15 second snippets to Stories, and hour-long clips to IGTV (when uploading from the web).
Given this, the extension of Reels clips starts to bleed into IG's other functions, which maybe makes it a less definitive option within the broader Instagram experience.
Or maybe not. Really, it'll just give more users the capacity to create longer clips, or re-purpose the same posts that they're already uploading to TikTok and YouTube Shorts anyway. By moving into line with these other, similar options, Instagram's probably welcoming more cross-posting, which will give it more content for Reels, but also likely makes for a more repetitive experience across apps.
(Note: If you are thinking of cross-posting your short video clips, just make sure there are no watermarks, as Instagram will penalize your reach.)
But it does feel like all these options are becoming a bit same-y. Why have separate video upload processes for each option? Why not just let users upload their video clips, and edit them how they like, then put them all together?
That would give Instagram more content to display within Reels, which could help to make it a more engaging option, while also helping to drive more views within the various elements of the app, rather than keeping different video types in separate buckets.
Maybe that's the way Instagram is actually headed - it is currently experimenting with a new, TikTok-like display format for Explore, which does mash all of the content into a single format.
That could help boost discoverability in the app, and provide more video inventory for Instagram's algorithms, while also further streamlining the user experience, rather than siloing each element.
Till the next stage, you now have longer Reels to consider.