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On Tuesday, Instagram announced it is increasing the maximum length of videos on its service to 60 seconds. Until now, videos have been capped at 15 seconds.

Here's what brands need to know about the change.

It demonstrates the importance of video to Instagram

According to Instagram, "in the last six months, the time people spent watching video increased by more than 40 percent."

While Instagram's popularity can be traced to its origin as a social photo sharing app with a set of slick filters, the now Facebook-owned app has fast become one of the most popular social platforms for video.

The company's decision to increase the maximum video clip length to 60-seconds demonstrates that it's looking hard at video and willing to make changes it believes can increase its appeal as a platform for video.

Advertising might be the motivation

While Instagram says it wants to give users greater flexibility to tell their stories, some suggest that Instagram's move is motivated by a desire to bolster the company's burgenoning ad business.

To be sure, the higher limit would seem to give Instagram greater flexibility to introduce new video ad offerings.

It creates new opportunities

A four-fold increase in the maximum length of videos will give brands new opportunities to use video on Instagram.

While there is plenty that can be conveyed in 15 seconds, the higher limit will allow brands to create a wider variety of video content for Instagram's massive 400m person user base.

Already, popular musician Selena Gomez has put the new limit to use by publishing a 60-second behind-the-scenes video clip.  

Instagram video strategy will become more complicated

The 15 second video limit was a key consideration for brands looking to be brilliant at Instagram video, so the greater flexibility afforded by the new 60 second limit will force brands to rethink their Instagram video strategies.

While many brands will likely be eager to take advantage of the higher limit, doing so successfully might not be easy.

After all, attention spans are short and just because brands will be able to post videos longer than 15 seconds doesn't mean that users will actually watch them in their entirety.

As such, brands will still need to focus on creating compelling content and doing so beyond 15 seconds will introduce new challenges.

Longer video is not an invitation for repurposing

Brands should not view Instagram's change as an invitation to turn their Instagram accounts into a dumping ground for video created for other platforms and mediums.

For instance, most brands will probably not find success posting their 30-second televison ads to Instagram just because they now can.

Patricio Robles

Published 30 March, 2016 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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