How long can an Instagram Live be? 1 hour, but you can start again right away and here’s why that might be good

Estimated read time: 2 minutes


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I was watching newly-elected U.S. Congresswoman (NY) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram Live on a Sunday night. She was cooking and discussing politics.

Awesome. Very authentic and talk about bringing people into your home! At one point she led a friend in. Another time she was jumping up and down to find something in the cupboard. Another commenter offered to help – “I’m tall,” they said.


When I watched her viewership was hovering between 7,000-8,000 live.

Then one-hour in – as she was cutting onions, as far as I recollect – she said she was running out of time for this Live. “I’ll be right back. Just join the new one.”

Instagram Lives are limited to 1 hour. Being on air for 60 minutes isn’t hard when you have a conversation like she did. And sometimes she was just cutting the onions and focusing on not crying.

As a content creator, I can’t say I ever got that far into a live stream. I do more Periscopes actually.

Periscopes have no time limit as far as I can tell. I also like Periscopes better because you can add a title that is descriptive and you can do launch a live video from the Twitter app.

My longest have been 20-30 minutes, I think. Maybe it’s because I tread them more like a podcast or radio appearance. At some point, you run out of things to say.

She was treating her Live as a conversation with many – while cooking.


Ocasio-Cortez has 2.5 million followers on Instagram so she has a pool of people who likely will see her Instagram Live notifications.

Right before her hour was up her live viewers had dropped to the 5,000s.

Then she had to restart and went right back over 7,000 and when I checked in later was still over 5,000.


Why the Instagram Live 1-hour max stream might be good

I wanted to test this quick: What happens when you start a live stream? How do people know you are live?

Right before I went live Instagram told me that about a half a dozen of my followers were online. Not that many, but I had my wife’s phone in my other hand and opened the Instagram app to see how and if she gets notified.

Once I went live a notification went out and I showed up first in her Stories feed.


I don’t know why Instagram restricts the time, but perhaps there’s value in re-engaging your audience by restarting once you get to Hour 2.


Have you had much success with Instagram Live? Tweet me your thoughts.