Not all Reels are created equal!
Depending on the length of your Reel, you are more likely to reach certain people. So it’s important that you choose the “right” length of video to serve your ultimate goals with the Reel.
Now, of course, there is no perfect length or secret recipe that guarantees success. But, in general there are three ranges of video length that serve different purposes and people, and are likely to get distributed differently by Instagram.
For the quick and dirty on what length of Reels to choose, check out this Instagram post:
And to recap that,
5-15 Second Videos
These are the epitome of short form videos. They are quick, punchy, and easily consumed. These don’t have to be entertainment only but they have to be short and to the point.
These are for super top of funnel. They are for mass distribution and awareness only. There should NOT be a call to action in these videos. They are simply to introduce as many people as possible to your brand. You want viewers to have a positive interaction with the video (watch the whole video, watch more than once, like the Reel, share it, etc.) to boost overall video performance and increase the likelihood that your content will be shown to that viewer again.
These videos tend to have higher “virality” meaning they get more distribution in Explore and recommended videos. Instagram is more likely to distribute this type of content over longer videos.
15-30 Second Videos
These mid-length Reels are meant to build relationships and trust with both your audience and regular non-followers – ie. those people who have seen your short Reels and interacted positively but aren’t yet following you.
These Reels should be a bit more of a value-add type content: tips, short tutorials, resources, insights in your industry, behind the scenes of your brand, and more. The idea is to get these viewers to want to know more and make you more familiar to them.
When creating these videos, you do not want big ask calls-to-action. No “go to the link in bio” or “visit our website for more”. Instead, keep the CTA to an IG related request like following you, sharing the post, etc. And you should definitely not use a CTA on every one of these posts – be strategic about when you include them.
30-90 Second Videos
Longer Reels are to serve your audience. This is where you can share detailed tips, tutorials, information, product news, testimonials, and more. These are talking directly to your followers and customers so make sure the language and purpose is driven towards helping them.
As for CTAs, go nuts! Yes, include your link in bio or visit website or shop now actions in these videos. That’s what we want to use them for. Now, you don’t “have” to put a CTA in every long Reel, but most of them should have some sort of action request even if it’s as simple as asking the viewer a question for them to answer.
These videos are not as likely to end up in the Explore page or recommendations. But they are more likely to drive conversions. Although, I will leave the caveat that most Reels are NOT good for conversions, in general. They are typically the lowest converting content on IG – Stories and feed posts are better at driving traffic and sales. So just keep that in mind when you’re crafting your Reels, determining your CTA, and thinking about where you want your leads and sales to come from.
With all of this in mind, take some time to make sure you’re drafting the best possible scripts, content, and CTAs (where applicable) for your Reels in addition to choosing the best length for your desired outcomes and optimize the results Reels can create for you.
And, don’t forget, it’s never about “one thing” on Instagram. Just because you might love those short 10 second Reels doesn’t mean those are the only ones you should use. Mix in the longer form videos occasionally too. And don’t neglect your other forms of content on Instagram either! Keep posting your Stories and feed posts to optimize your overall content strategy.