Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Video Length In 2021

by | Feb 26, 2021 | Creative

15-second Instagram Stories are the most popular content format. Over 1.7 billion people view them each day and over 25% of those users search for brands and products, according to 99firms. But Instagram Stories aren’t the only way to be a great storyteller. 

Let’s join millions of creators and master not only the 15-second video format but also other formats Instagram offers. To start understanding this Instagram video length limit, note that you have a number of other formats at your disposal:

Instagram Formats:

  • Stories – 3 to 15 seconds
  • Posts– 15 seconds x 10, and they don’t self-delete 
  • Reels – 3 seconds to 30 seconds
  • IGTV – 15 seconds to 10 minutes
  • Ads – 3 seconds to 2 minutes
  • Live – up to 1 hour

We also have a “pro-tip” to share with you, to make your Instagram account stand out from others!

Video Editing Is A Challenge. Make It Easy On Yourself.

Before sharing your Instagram Stories, you’ll also want to master a few video-editing skills and know your tools inside and out. Write-on Video provides a great way to start. Being a compelling storyteller is quite a challenge in the 15-second format. With Instagram’s built-in video tools, you don’t have as much creative freedom over your content. 

With Write-on Video, content can be exported to Instagram and improve your stories with richer, better-edited content. When it comes to making good videos, you’ll want your editing software to be up to the task, intuitive, and easy to maneuver.

We designed Write-on Video with all storytellers in mind. Instagram Stories utilize the short video format. That’s why it’s important for creators like you to design storyboards and make outlines for your content. 

You have a small window to “wow” your audience. Write-on Video’s storyboard lets you meticulously plan each clip to leave a lasting impression in the 15-second time span. You can also collaborate with friends and team members who can add a new perspective before you hit “publish.”

Let’s Look Back To Understand Trends For 2021

The short 15-second video format is the most popular compared to other video lengths, but it hasn’t always been that way. Instagram Posts were image-only from 2010 until 2013. Since adding video, Instagram has become more and more popular – and not only with short videos.

In 2008, a little thing called the iPhone 3G was announced. The idea of a “camera in every pocket” became a reality with its debut. Snapchat emerged a few years later with the 15-second video, and it quickly became an art form in itself. Within months, many other apps adopted and perfected this ultra-short format.

Chart of Instagram user growth from 2013 to 2021

Data courtesy of Instagram and Statista

We’ve seen Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and Facebook Video reach 500M+ daily users over the years. That makes these short-video platforms some of the largest social media audiences in the world. 

It pays to master the art of these short video clips. If you have a creative imagination and the right tools, millions of people can see your content. Who knows, you may even go viral! 

If you only use the basic editing tools within Instagram, you’re missing out on the opportunity to create truly eye-catching content. When you add more of your personal or brand’s style with Write-on Video, your videos get a flare that sets them apart from other creators’ works.

Why Instagram Is The Best Place For Your Content

Instagram has recently become an excellent social media platform for businesses and individuals marketing themselves. If you’re selling or promoting, Instagram has many great tools for you to succeed.

Compared to other apps, Instagram is better for a wider variety of storytellers. Both Snapchat and Tiktok use the 15-60s video format. Instagram is becoming more flexible, supporting long-form and medium-length videos so that you can tell your story the way you want.

It’s critical to understand how long can Instagram videos be, and how these video features work and how they differ in length. Let’s dive in to learn more about the different Instagram feed video lengths.

Stories: Exclusive 15-Second Clips From Today

Instagram Stories can be up to 15 seconds long. They stay visible on your followers’ feeds for 24 hours before they self-delete. They’re immediate, potent, and recent. The Instagram story video length is kept short so Instagram users can see many creators in a short amount of time, giving followers a pulse on the day’s events.

Write-on Video lets you compose a 15-second video like a pro.

Video Outline and create pods features from a video editor app called Write-on Video

Outline and create pods

Outline every second. You’ll get what we call a “pod” to organize everything from pictures and stickers to audio, music, and video clips. Starting with an outline helps lay out your thoughts. We include outline templates and tutorials built into the app so you don’t have to start from scratch. Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

Duplicating pods is easy

You’re able to duplicate pods, rather than having to start from scratch, which saves time and keeps your style consistent from one to another It’s still editable, too, so you can tune, tweak, and trim. In the template, we have 5x 4-second pods, but you can easily mix and match them: there’s no specific length requirement. You can even use 2-second pods or 3-second pods. 

With Write-on Video, it’s simple to sync your clips to your music. If you’re using a ¾ time music track, make a pod precisely 1.2 or 2.4 seconds, so it flips right on the beat.

Instagram Posts: The Original

Back when the Instagram app was just for pictures, Instagram Posts were the format to use. Posts use the 15-second video format, but they don’t expire from your Instagram account after 24 hours like Instagram Stories. 

Posts can be combined in an Instagram Carousel Post, allowing you to attach up to 10 videos or photos together in one group. That gives you up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds to tell your story. If you want to share a little more with followers, this is a convenient way. 

Even if you are uploading many videos separated into 15-second clips, you can use Write-on Video’s pods to help keep the videos organized all in one place. You can even make templates of your brand’s style to share with collaborators.

Courtesy of Instagram

When you’ve saved lots of 15-second clips to the camera roll with Write-on Video, you can easily mix and match them. Create different Carousels for your audience, each with its unique mixture of up to ten clips.

Instagram Reels: Richer Experiences And A Huge Audience

Instagram Reels (released in August 2020) are a new way to share videos up to 30 seconds long. They’re notable for two reasons: 

  1. They don’t self delete after 24 hours like Stories 
  2. They live in a separate feed with other Reels

Reels post in a separate public feed with more than just your followers. Your Reel content then has a greater chance to stand out and for users to discover your content. The more time you spend editing and refining your Reels can pay off because of their longevity and discovery.

Courtesy of Instagram

Even though Reels have their own feed, they can still get lost in the sea of other content. The best way not to get lost is to tag your content. Reels have a unique tab on Instagram Explore (the tab with the magnifying glass icon), so users worldwide, not just your followers, have a chance to see your content. 

Reels are a higher production value than other types of clips. Instagram gives you more editing capabilities with AR effects and clip management. But if you post on Snapchat, Facebook, and Tiktok, too, you’ll want to store and edit your videos in a separate app. Write-on Video is perfect for Reels with its advanced clipping, collaboration, planning, and audio options.

Write-on Video lets you save your projects to the cloud, sync them with your devices, and work seamlessly between iOS and macOS.

You have twice the time as Stories and can afford to make your pods a bit longer, too. Outlines also help you remember what you’re going to say. When you’re ready, you can record your clips without even leaving Write-on Video. Let’s take a look:

Outlines and comments

When you’ve recorded clips, you can change their aspect ratio, export them for Instagram square format, or even to vertical video for other social channels. For your brand or business, it’s important to send video posts to multiple channels so they see a coherent brand message across platforms in your video marketing. 

Lots of social channels have the default audio muted. Write-on Video has built-in captioning just for this purpose. With the power of AI, your words are recognized automatically and turned into beautiful text captions.

Automatic text captions

You need to break reels up more with transitions, animated stickers, text, or still images to make the most of the longer video format.

You can use comments to collaborate and develop the best hashtags or music options. With Reels, your content might be promoted on a special page dedicated to a famous musical track. Hashtagged reels will also get special treatment and can be promoted if the hashtag gets popular. 

When you create your Reels using Write-on Video, you can use outlines and comments to plan where and when to use the best hashtags and musical tracks. You can leave comments and brainstorm your project ideas, making it a fun process!

IGTV: Best For Long-Form, Richer Storytelling

IGTV (Instagram TV) is best for business and verified accounts with over 10,000 followers. Once verified, Instagram extends your IGTV video length to allow uploading hour-long videos to your Instagram profile. IGTV videos are unique because they take up your entire screen, creating a more immersive experience.

Short video social media users in 2021

Data courtesy of Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, YouTube, and Snapchat

Both Instagram and Tiktok have one billion or more active users, and YouTube and Facebook are both over 2 billion. That’s a big market for video content, and a key reason you should start making videos. 

Don’t limit yourself to one channel or video format. Use them all! For long-form videos, you can edit and store your content in Write-on Video and publish to more platforms than just Instagram.

Unverified account holders can upload videos from 15 seconds to ten minutes. At the moment, IGTV supports both horizontal (16:9) and vertical (9:16) video formats which are perfect for social media sharing. Write-on Video is ideal for IGTV users who want to make longer videos. For example, you can zoom in to videos or photos and frame them just the way you want.

Aspect ratio and zoom

Jumping between Tiktok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook is easy with pre-set templates for aspect ratios for different screen sizes and apps right in Write-on Video. 

Just save to the Kdan Cloud, open your synced video on the macOS app, and open your content on the big screen for a full non-linear editor experience. With all of the power of a full-fledged video editor, you’ll want to preserve your clips and reuse them in multiple social channels.

Making storyboard with the video editor app called Write-On Video.

Generate visual storyboards

“The storyboard for me is the way to visualize the entire movie in advance” – Martin Scorsese

Longer videos can get complicated fast, so we’ve included visual storyboarding. Share your editing progress as a storyboard and include comments, outline, and clip previews. It’s just like how professional video directors create movies, TV shows, and other professional content, especially when they need to design to fit within a time limit.

Another benefit of using IGTV when posting content is that there are no ads that show up mid-way through a video, so viewers can enjoy more of your content without being bombarded with annoying advertisements. With all that extra length, it can be easy to lose your favorite clips. Don’t forget to include hashtags to make your clip or a similar type of video easy to find later.

Good Creators Know This About Instagram Shopping

Shopping on Instagram happens in two ways:

  1. Instagram Feed ads  
  2. Instagram Story ads.

Similar to Reels having its own tab in Explore, Shopping gets a dedicated tab in the app. Users can browse and even buy from their favorite brands, with a full in-app checkout process. But, Shopping ads can also be posted to feeds or stories and get hashtags and music-based promotion.
The length of Feed ads is from 3 to 120 seconds of video. They show up when viewers are swiping through their main feeds. Story ads have a 120-second limit. They are located in the story area and give brands or businesses a little more time to show their product.

Interface of Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping

Like any post on Instagram, you can attach up to ten 15-second cards together to make a Story Ad. As a business, you need to capture attention quickly but can still show lots of detail, even on a mobile device. 

For example, each 15-second clip can be made with 5 pods in Write-on Video. Each 15-second clip can have its own template, conveniently organizing your content and re-using what works well. Every 15 seconds, you can show a different product or market a variety of perspectives on your product or brand.

If you create, edit, and store these pods in Write-on Video, you can re-use them, mix and match them to create all kinds of new and different videos, well beyond the Instagram platform.

Instagram’s rise doesn’t seem to be slowing. Marketers worldwide are investing more and more into their Instagram marketing strategy running Instagram ads, and we recommend that you do too.

Broadcast The Real You With Instagram Live 

If you need even more time to tell your story, the Instagram Live video length lets you broadcast a live stream for up to an hour. After it’s over, your followers will be able to see it as a story on their feed for up to 24 hours. 

Instagram Live is interactive. If your followers watch in real-time, they can comment, ask questions, and more. 

Don’t worry if you end up passing the hour mark. You can quickly start a new, separate broadcast where you’ll have another hour to connect with your followers. You can repeat this action as long as you’d like.

Live broadcasts are a very interactive form of communication with your audience. You’ll be able to read the active comments from your followers in real-time while also keeping track of how many viewers there are.  

Once you go live, Instagram will notify all of your followers that there’s a new live video starring you. When it’s live, anything can happen! If you’re looking for a way to build an audience that values authenticity, Instagram Live is a great way to do it.

Pro-tip: Use Instagram’s Reels Editor And Write-on Video Together

You don’t have to pick any one form over the other. Use Instagram to record clips, Stories, or Reels, then refine them in Write-on Video before sharing to other platforms or to different places inside of Instagram.

Save Instagram Stories and Reels to the Camera Roll to edit in Write-on Video

Save Instagram Stories and Reels to the Camera Roll to edit in Write-on Video

Instagram isn’t the only option out there to create reels or clips. Try recording reels with Instagram to your camera roll, then add those clips right to Write-on Video. Remember, it stores everything in the cloud, so you can have peace of mind. 

The more you invest in editing, the better content you’ll create. Write-on Video can be your all-in-one tool not just for Instagram, but for any social media channel or other outlet.

If you’re ready to dive into creating video content for Instagram, explore Write-on Video and start making amazing content today. We’re excited to see what you create!

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