Your 6 Strategies to Increase Reels Watch Time on Instagram – 6 Easy Ways

increase instagram reels watch time

Want to increase your Reels watch time, increase your organic reach and grow your Instagram profile much faster? Ugh, we know you’re chiming in! With some easy fine-tuning, you can elevate your Reels and engage viewers for longer in a few easy steps. Today we’ll focus on 6 key ones.

Instagram watch time is CRITICAL when it comes to account growth and engaging your audience organically. Whether you’re running a new profile, or a seasoned one, the amount of time your viewers are sticking around DOES EXTREMELY MATTER.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to improve your Reels to boost audience retention and maximize your  organic views. This can even eventually lead to reaching 2,000 hours of viewed Reel! In this guide, I’ll be focusing on 6 easy tips that can increase your Instagram Reels watch time. So if you’re ready to boost your growth through improved viewer retention and more Reels views, let’s get to it!

Why is Reel watch time so important on Instagram?

Watch time is the key on Instagram as it is a metric that measures the amount of time viewers spend watching your content. It is considered one of the most important factors in Instagram’s algorithm for recommending content to new users. Reels with higher watch time are more likely to be suggested to new potential followers, leading to organic growth, increased views, higher engagement, and changes in your follower count.

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How is watch time calculated on Instagram?

Watch time for your Instagram Reels is calculated for each Reel individually. It’s the total amount of time that viewers spend watching your particular piece of content. It is measured in minutes (and seconds), and it of course includes all views, including those from multiple devices (phones, tablets, computers) and repeated views from the same viewers as well.

How long should my Reels be to increase watch time?

The ideal length of your Reels to increase watch time depends on your content and audience. However, shorter Reels (7-10 seconds) tend to have higher watch times than longer ones, as they can keep viewers more engaged and there’s lower risk of boredom.

how to increase instagram reels watch time

Proven Strategies to Increase Your Reels Watch Time

Use B-Rolls – You most probably already know this term from Youtube, huh? B-roll is basically just extra content that you overlay on the original video to add this extra spark, character and value to your Reel.

Why is it worth this extra effort? That way, you can break up mundane video so that your viewers aren’t just watching a long talking head. You can also help your potential follower better understand your talking points by adding examples relating to the topic. Show additional shots of a specific thing/product/place to give them more insight on what it looks like/how exactly it works

When editing your Reels, you can also use the power of jumpcuts. A jumpcut is an easy method to break up your video by slightly changing the look of each shot (each clip). This makes the overall result much more engaging and appealing. How to achieve it? Editing your Reel with jumpcuts is actually really simple. It’s just a matter of using a Reel editor like Cupcut or VN and zooming in and out between clips, so even though the background of each video is technically the same, and the same location, one clip can look differently from the next.

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Use the power of trending audios – Using music in your Reels is the smartest way to add some emotional value to your Instagram videos. Invoking emotions, and creating the intrigue is – you guessed it! – another great way to increase your Reels watch time. Of course, you can’t just choose a random audio to input into your Reels. The audios or music you choose should go with the feelings, the mood you’re trying to invoke with your content.

Our protip? Try to avoid background audios that are too sad, too depressing if it doesn’t go with the vibe of your specific Reel.

Use Custom Reels Thumbnails – A custom thumbnail is a picture that shows alongside the title of your Reel. As a viewer scrolls through Instagram Reels Explore Section, it is the first item they see! Utilizing intriguing, high-quality, aesthetically pleasing custom thumbnails will boost your Reels click-through rate.

Collaborate with Other  Creators from your niche– Partnering with other Instagrammers in your field/your niche will absolutely help you raise the exposure and view time of your Reels. You can even collaborate on Reels to cross-promote your accounts with other content creators who have similar interests and similar target audiences. 

Optimize your reels for SEO on Instagram – Better Instagram SEO methods may help your Reels rank higher in the platform’s search engine results, resulting in many more views and organic interaction. I know it may sound like a black magic, but in practice – it’s really not. Just identify the major hashtags and keywords (you can research them with IQ Hashtags to save time, and effectively find the most promising ones) and use them in your Reels captions. This is one of the smartest ways to increase your watch time in a short time. 

how to increase Instagram Reels watch time

Double down on what works best – Data is your best friend, I can’t stress this enough! Analyze your Reels statistics (I use IQ Hashtags’ Reels Metrics to have in-depth data and all the comparable details in one dashboard – if you want, you can also try it out with a free 7-day trial right here), to know what the audience loves the most, and what kind of Reels performs the best.

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Now You’re Ready to Increase Your Reels Watch Time on Instagram & Boost Your Organic Growth!

For more info on how to improve your organic growth, check out our other free guides. And hey, there are so many new on the way, so keep coming back to stay on the right Instagram track.