According to a new leak, Instagram will increase the time limit on Reels videos from 3 minutes to 10 minutes. If true, this would allow any user to create long-form video content on Instagram without forcing users to search for a second part or forcing creators to cram too much information into a short video.
TikTok, the social media platform currently taking the world by storm, is almost entirely made up of vertical videos. It started with a limit of 15 seconds per video, then 60 seconds, then 3 minutes. The current limit is 10 minutes per video, which was implemented in February 2022. A lot of the content on TikTok is still short and snappy, since it keeps your attention and makes you more likely to rewatch the video. However, now creators can also get more in-depth if they want to.
If you’ve been on social media for a while, you’re familiar with the way platforms often copy each other. For example, after Snapchat became popular, other social media sites implemented Snapchat’s key feature: stories with images and videos that disappear 24 hours after users post them.
The leak about 10-minute videos on Instagram Reels came from Alessandro Paluzzi on X (Twitter). He’s a well-known leaker and software developer who posted screenshots of the prototype.
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) August 30, 2023
Instagram’s Reels feature (which, like TikTok, lets you scroll vertical videos) has been trying to keep up with the popularity of TikTok since it was introduced in August 2020. That is presumably what led to Instagram’s decision to try 10-minute Reels.
However, it’s worth noting that in April 2023, TikTok removed the ability to shoot 10-minute videos within the app. Videos up to 10 minutes long can still be posted, but you need to upload them. This prompted sites like Digital Information World and SocialMediaToday to speculate that 10-minute videos weren’t performing very well. In 2021, the optimal video length was between 21 and 34 seconds.
On the other hand, a detailed WIRED piece last year suggested that TikTok might be moving towards long-term content purposefully as the next stage in the app’s evolution. This could help TikTok compete with YouTube and age up its audience. It would also have consequences, though, like negatively impacting the accuracy of its algorithm.
Unfortunately, we can’t be sure about Meta’s motives with this change to Instagram Reels, even with insights into TikTok’s long-term plan. However, if Instagram is also hoping to take on YouTube, we’re about to have a lot of cooks in the kitchen.