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Instagram Shares More Info on the Distribution of Longer Reels Clips

Okay, I can see how on the surface this may seem confusing.

Today, on the Instagram Creators profile on IG, Instagram’s team posted this explainer clip:

“Hang on,” I hear you say, “didn’t you just report, like, two weeks ago that posting 90-second Reels is bad for reach?”

Yes, yes I did, but these two things are actually both in alignment.

Here’s why:

In the caption of this post, Instagram explains that:

“You can post a video over 90 seconds on IG, just remember that any video over 90 seconds won’t be eligible to be recommended in Explore or Reels Tab.”

Which is precisely why, two weeks ago, at an Instagram creator event, Instagram’s team shared this slide which says that posting Reels over 90 seconds long can hurt distribution.

Instagram longer reels

Instagram doesn’t explicitly state the reason for this in the event slide, but the above note from today’s post is why this hurts distribution, because longer Reels are not recommended in the app.

Which, logically, impacts reach. So yes, you can do it, and in some cases, as IG notes, it may even make sense to post longer clips. But they won’t see the same exposure opportunities in the app.

Why are Reels longer than 90 seconds not displayed on its recommendations surfaces?

Well, presumably because Instagram’s research has shown that users only want short clips in these listings, so adding longer content impacts overall engagement.

That said, Instagram has also been experimenting with longer Reels options, including 3 minute and 10 minute clips. Those, seemingly, are not on the cards for a full launch as yet. But IG isn’t necessarily confining itself to short Reels only, it’s just not looking to highlight them within its recommendations.

So while it may seem contradictory, the logic is that you can post longer clips, which may of value in certain circumstances, but they won’t have the same reach potential.  

So you probably only want to in very specific instances.

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