How Long Can Instagram Videos Be? (Everything You Need To Know)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Victor Blasco

Published: Sep 29, 2020

Last Updated: Oct 14, 2020

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Although Instagram began as a platform primarily centered around photos, videos today are just as important for the community that thrives there. 

Whether for educational purposes, live interactions, or brand promotion, Instagram videos are a huge draw for the platform. So, it’s not surprising to see whole video marketing strategies or content release schedules built solely around this type of content. 

However, not all videos are created equal! 

To get the most out of Instagram’s video delivery channels, you need to align your content to the needs and expectations of both the platform and your audience. And nowhere is this need more evident than when it comes to your videos’ length. 

Instagram offers you several channels to upload and deliver your video content—Feed videos, Stories, live broadcasts, and so on—each with its own specifications.

So, to help you simplify matters, we’ve put together this guide to tell you all about how long Instagram videos can be. Most importantly, we’ll provide you with a few tricks on how you can make the most of those video’s runtime.

Instagram Feed Videos

How long can Instagram videos in the feed be?: Three seconds to a minute.

Life goes by fast in the Instagram Feed: users scroll down to stop for a moment at the content that draws their attention and then continue exploring. Accordingly, the videos allowed in the regular Feed are very concise and informative, no longer than 60 seconds.

Feed videos are uploaded as regular Instagram posts. The platform allows you to add useful features such as location, tags, and different formatting styles: portrait, landscape, and even square videos.

Don’t worry if you have a longer video already produced: Instagram lets you trim a 1-minute section of it so you can upload it.

instagram feed videos pro tip

Pro Tip: When you set out to post Instagram videos, remember that they’ll permanently be featured on your profile page. So be sure to design visually compelling thumbnails that match the esthetics of your feed.

Also, if you want to include text in your thumbnails, make sure that it takes up no more than a quarter of the image. Instagram is a photo-based platform, so its algorithms favor content that fits this feature.

Want to organically grow your Instagram and gain REAL followers?

Instagram Story Videos

How long can Instagram Stories be?: 15-seconds per Story card.

Instagram Stories have proved to be a smart move on the company’s part. This feature is perfect for sharing fresh and fun content to keep your audience engaged and to interact with them on a daily basis.

Instagram allows you to upload stories of up to 15 seconds each. So, if you want to post longer content, you’ll have to split it into several clips.

But the most significant advantage of the Stories is that you have a lot of great tools to customize them. Whether you want to add special filters, use the GIPHY gallery, or the ‘Swipe Up’ feature, you’ll always find something to bring life to your Story cards.

instagram GIFs pro tip

Pro Tip: Instagram GIFs are particularly useful for adding color to your Stories and guiding your audience. Do you want your followers to sign up for something? Want them to see your latest post? Or do you want them to keep watching what you have to say in the rest of your Stories? There’s a GIF for all that and more! 

Instagram Livestream Videos

How long can Instagram livestream videos be?: up to an hour.

Big announcements deserve big events. And there’s no better way to generate excitement around your content than through live broadcasts.

The maximum duration of Instagram live videos is an hour, where you can not only show yourself to your audience in real-time, but can also interact directly with them through the chat and answer their questions.

That said, what is the ideal time that a live broadcast should take you? Well, it really depends a lot on how you interact with your audience. 

It doesn’t really matter if you take just 10 minutes or the entire hour—any time you provide value to your followers and encourage them to participate and ask questions, you can take as long as you want.

instagram livestream video pro tip

Pro Tip: Announce your live events in advance to generate awareness. Crucially, try to increase your audience’s expectations: not just tell them you’re going live in an hour. Instead, raise an interesting question or promise great news to motivate them not to miss it out.

IGTV Videos

How long can IGTV videos be?: 15 seconds to an hour.

Now, what options do you have for your content out there that you also want to share with your Instagram audience?

You may have produced videos where you tell your own personal journey in the industry. Or an animated explainer video for which the 60-second limit of a regular post doesn’t do full justice. What do you do then?

Well, Instagram allows you to upload longer videos through IGTV.

The maximum length for these videos depends on where you upload. If you do it from the IGTV app on a mobile device, you can post 15-minute long clips. But when you upload content from the web on a desktop, you are free to upload MP4 files that can take up to an hour-long.

pro tip

Pro Tip: You can use your Stories to promote your IGTV videos. To do so, you need to click the ‘Link’ icon that appears at the top of the Stories settings. Then, select a post from your IGTV channel and click ‘Done.’

Want to organically grow your Instagram and gain REAL followers?

Instagram Reels

How long can Instagram Reels be?: Up to 15 seconds.

Recently, Instagram launched a new feature where you can show your fun side on video. Reels have a dedicated place on the explore page and, like the IGTV videos, their own section on your profile. However, you also have the option to share them on your Stories and Feed.

Reels are perfect for pouring out all your creativity, as they offer many editing tools to fully customize your clips under 15 seconds. Some include options for creating clean transitions, audio, and text special effects, as well as colorful stickers and backgrounds.

pro tip

Pro Tip: Reels are not just made for social media influencers. Even in their early stages, Reels have shown to be a great ally for Instagram marketing. Brands like Walmart and Louis Vuitton use Reels to grow their community and promote their products with videos that go viral.

Instagram Video Ads 

How long can Instagram Feed Ads be?: up to 120 seconds.

How long can Instagram Story Ads be?: 15-seconds per Story.

Finally, on Instagram, you have the option to sponsor your ads as both Feed videos and in the Stories. But the time specifications are a bit different than with regular posts.

With sponsored Feed ads, you have the chance to upload 2-minutes long videos. However, as with all advertisement venues, completion rates decrease as videos take longer, so it’s sometimes convenient to keep them shorter so that your audience gets your message.

When it comes to Stories ads, things get a little more complicated. The platform allows you to display a maximum of three sponsored Story cards at a time. After that, users have to tap to get more of your content.

pro tip

Pro Tip: If there’s one thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to Instagram video ads, is that you need a great hook. Many users tend to see ads with a fishy eye, so you should quickly capture their attention in the first few seconds you have.

Leave dramatic build-ups for another time: if you have any shocking facts or questions, or an awesome shot to add, be sure to make use of it as a lead.

Instagram video ads length

Creating Instagram Videos

Are you considering promoting your branded content on Instagram? Announcing your new product releases? Or simply interacting more with your audience? Now you know there’s more than one option for you with Instagram videos.

With Feed, IGTV, and promotional ads, Instagram is a fantastic place to share your professional content and bring it to wider audiences. But if you’re looking to spark an emotional response and engagement with your followers, Stories, live broadcasts, and Reels allow you to create content that’s quick and easy to consume and that you can tailor to your preference.

Are you planning to place your bets with Instagram videos? Be sure to tell us all about your experience!

Author Bio

Victor Blasco

Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.

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2 Comments

  • Avatar Philipp says:

    Thanks Victor for this overview. I am about to read everything about reels today. Your example was suprisingly nice for Walmart!

    • Avatar Sam Hackett says:

      Philipp, I am glad to see that you enjoyed the article and found it helpful. I’m sure your Reels will turn out great!

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