Instagram extends Reels and Carousels content to maximize engagement

According to a 2023 study, Reels have an average impression rate 2 times higher than other types of content on Instagram. Now the platform’s leading content, their average impression rate however seems to be trending downwards, with a 32% year-on-year decrease, according to the same study.

So how to reboost Reels’ performance? Instagram is currently experimenting with the possibility of extending the duration of Reels. Originally limited to 60 seconds and then extended to 90 seconds, the maximum duration of Reels is now being tested at 3 minutes for a sample of users. However, this extension is only available when using pre-recorded videos, not those captured directly via Instagram.

Longer videos are likely to change user behavior by offering more content to keep them engaged, leading to increased interaction (likes, comments and shares) with this type of content. Longer viewing times thus represent more entertainment, and keeping users interested is now crucial for the app’s development. What’s more, this leaves more opportunities for monetization through integrated advertising.

At the same time, Instagram is also testing user engagement with more substantial content: in addition to extended-length Reels, the platform now offers a sample of users the option of publishing photo carousels comprising up to 15 images (10 photos being the maximum that can be published to date).

Instagram seems to intend to stimulate users to provide more content, surely to increase retention on the application of users exposed to this type of content. A risky strategy, given that the majority of platforms favor short-form content in the face of ever-diminishing user attention spans…

In any case, this new format strategy offers content creators new opportunities in terms of creativity, while reinforcing connection with their community: content with more information, better quality, and therefore more likely to resonate with their audience.

In terms of advertising, these new formats enable advertisers to go further in their storytelling, to be more punchy and convincing, capturing users’ attention and driving conversions.

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