After it was spotted in testing last month, Instagram has now officially launched a live test of 60-second videos in Stories, which will mean that longer video clips will no longer be split into 15-second segments, and played across various Stories frames.
We asked Instagram about the update, and it provided this statement:
“The ability to create longer Stories posts comes highly requested by our community. We're excited to be testing 60-second Stories so that people can create and view Stories with fewer interruptions."
Instagram says that the option is currently being tested with a small group of users, with a view to providing more creative freedom, and further integrating the app’s various video options to streamline its creative tools and functions.
Which, really, is the key focus. Back in January, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri flagged a coming consolidation of the app’s video products, with a view to better facilitating creation, and scaling back the platform’s various tools. That started with the merging of its video feed posts into a single format early last month, along with the retirement of the IGTV brand.
As Mosseri explained to Decoder:
“We’re looking about how we can - not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram - simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”
The re-thinking of its approach has been largely influenced by TikTok, which has become the most popular social app among young users, overtaking Instagram as the cool place to be.
Part of TikTok’s core appeal is simplicity – on TikTok, you open to a full-screen feed of video clips and live-streams, with all of it combined into one, optimized, focused listing, tailored to each individual user.
Instagram is far more segmented, with Reels in a separate feed, and Stories in its own section. That could be restricting optimal take-up, which is why Instagram’s now looking to bring all of these elements together, which will also, eventually, enable it to showcase the best of each aspect in a single, more-engaging stream.
The expansion to 60-second video clips in Stories is another step in this gradual merging, which, at some stage, will likely see the app open to a full-screen feed of Stories, feed posts and Reels, all in one, enabling IG, like TikTok, to use the full breadth of uploaded content to maximize user engagement.
It’s still a way off that next stage, but longer videos will mean that users can now post full Reels to Stories, for example, essentially merging the two functions automatically. Then it’s just determining how it shifts from the traditional feed to a more Stories/Reels aligned one instead.
That’s a bigger step, and a more fundamental change for the app. But as part of Meta’s broader focus on winning back younger users, you can bet that it’s coming, and likely sooner, rather than later.
Which is why this new test is a significant step. It’s limited for now, but you can expect to see longer Stories videos coming to your Instagram app sometime soon.