Instagram open on phone

Instagram just updated its app’s Explore tab to feature “Videos You Might Like.” This new video discovery channel shows you content Instagram thinks you’ll like from accounts you aren’t following (yet).

Instagram's new video channel

And after you watch one video, another autoplays. Sound a little like YouTube, or is it just me?

This isn’t the only recent change aligning Instagram more with YouTube (rather than other social video platforms like Vine or Snapchat). The company also just announced that Instagram videos can now be up to 60 seconds long — four times longer than the previous time limit.

Clearly, Instagram is betting big on video (just like its parent company, Facebook). And it’s looking like a pretty safe bet.

These updates were inspired, at least in part, by the 40 percent increase in Instagram video views over the past six months.

Should You Share Minute-Long Videos?

I don’t know about you, but I think all these updates are pretty exciting!

But at the same time, I wonder:

Just because we now can post minute-long videos, should we?

In this chart from eMarketer, you can see that — at least on Facebook — video completion rates drop dramatically as video length increases.

eMarketer Facebook video completion rate chart

 

If you’re looking at the “total” row,  theres a 94% decrease in video completion for one minute-long videos compared to those that are only 15 seconds long.

Now, again, those stats are for Facebook. But I think it’s probably indicative of how minute-long videos might perform on Instagram.

Final Thoughts

When we looked at social media video strategy a few weeks ago, we learned that video length best practices vary widely depending on the platform. On YouTube, six minutes might be great. On Vine? You’ve got to stick to six seconds or less.

So what will Instagram users — who are used to 15 seconds of video — think of a whole minute (especially when there’s no way to fast-forward videos)?

If the content is engaging enough, will it matter?

Perhaps the question of whether to share longer videos on Instagram is one that only time can answer. But one thing is certain: You should be sharing some kind of video to Instagram. Because with an algorithm update coming, you want to be on Instagram’s good side. (And the company favors video right now.)

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Logan Nickleson

About the author: Logan is the founder of (and musician behind) Music for Makers — a simpler, more affordable music licensing solution for people who make videos, podcasts, and other creative stuff.