Since rolling out Reels in August 2020, Instagram’s bumped Reels’ length cap a couple of times. At first, Reels limited creators to just 15 seconds. When TikTok launched, it allowed creators to use up to 60 seconds to create their videos — which seemed to hit a sweet spot for creators.
Over Reels’ year lifespan, it has received two length cap increases. One increased the cap from 15 seconds to 30 seconds and the latest now increases the cap from 30 seconds to 60 seconds.
Instagram continues to use TikTok as a blueprint
TikTok is a mammoth in the short-form space, and every platform knows it. Competitors like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube all seem to be playing catchup with TikTok — following a similar path as the platform, but trying to do so at an accelerated rate. YouTube Shorts and Snapchat Spolights already have a 60-second cap, so this cap increase isn’t necessarily groundbreaking from Instagram. Rather, it puts them into the industry standard.
Unfortunately for these platforms, TikTok shows no signs of slowing down. Recently, TikTok announced it’s rolling out more livestreaming features for its creators. It also seems TikTok is making a big swing towards supporting long-form video content on its platform.
While YouTube is already well established in long-form video, Instagram is trying to compete with YouTube and TikTok simultaneously — which isn’t remotely easy.
We expect Instagram will soon expand its Reels cap further to mimic TikTok’s 3-minute cap. However, if Instagram really wants to compete with YouTube or TikTok, it will likely need to innovate, rather than just try to keep up.