12 most-viewed Instagram reels of all time

Instagram reels have totally transformed the face of Meta’s photo-sharing app. The short-form video of 90 seconds makes the app more vibrant and dynamic, positioning Instagram in a neck-to-neck competition with TikTok. And with a slew of editing tools especially for reels that make them look professional and creatively engaging, it is really a matter of time before something goes viral. Hence, some of the most-viewed Instagram reels till 2023 occupy an irrefutable place in the Instagram videos segment.

With Instagram video clips gaining over a million views in the long-form category, the social media platform decided to bring a significant revolution in the short video segment. And reels debuted in Brazil in 2019.

From funny animals caught on camera to people acting in humorous videos, some of the most-viewed reels are generally about real-time incidents and amusing content. Needless to say, such is its impact that today there are several reel content creators with a million followers such as Khaby Lame and celebrities including Lady Gaga and Kylie Jenner.

Instagram reels statistics: What do the numbers say?

Instagram reels in 2023
Image credit: Souvik Banerjee/ @rswebsols/ Unsplash

In 2021, Instagram head Adam Mosseiri announced a paradigm shift for the platform. He said that “New experiences” are going to be created for both Instagram users and content creators in terms of four main categories — social media e-commerce, content creation, messaging style and videos. This announcement also arrived around the same time when the length of an Instagram reel was doubled. What initially started as a 15-second format, became 30 seconds long a few months later and was further extended to 90 seconds in 2021.

Post reels, Instagram has seen an unprecedented boost in user accounts and traffic. Reportedly there are over 2 billion monthly active users on Instagram who regularly interact with reels and the number is projected to cross 2.5 billion in 2023.

In fact, it is reported that almost 91 per cent of adult Instagram users indulge in watching videos every week. Youngsters and Gen-Zers are eager to see more and more dance challenges on Instagram reels, says Hootsuite. Such is its craze that reels have created overnight stars as they form the cradle of new trends. From dance to silent comedy, travel videos, food vlogs, music videos and much more — if you are creative, this is your playground.

IG reels have also made a huge impact on the luxury fashion market. Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Balmain and Sephora, have seen a huge boost in views and on average their Instagram reels receive 7 million, 1.2 million and 453k views, respectively.

Reels have gained such momentum that ads posted in them have the capability to reach nearly 10.9 per cent of the total population aged 13 and above.

With the rise in popularity of the reels feature, video posts and a strategy to focus on other commercial aspects of social media, the official Instagram account of the Meta platform is the highest-followed account with over 605 million followers.

Here are some of the most-viewed Instagram reels that have set major trends

Learn from Khaby (289 million views)

Everyone has had moments of getting a shock from an appliance that has induced an unwavering fear of electricity. Well, guess what, our very own Khaby Lame, Instagram’s king of silent comedy, is also on the same boat.

Taking cues from this, his 2021 reel ‘Learn from Khaby’ holds the record for being the most-viewed Instagram reel to date. It features Lame checking an iron multiple times to ensure he has plugged it off and it is cold.

The reel has over 12 million likes.


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A post shared by Khaby Lame (@khaby00)

Not all kids are fun (270 million views)

Another popular Instagram reel from Lame is this 2022 post. The clip shows him sitting in his car at a traffic signal where he smiles and waves at a kid sitting on a bike in front of him. The kid appears to be quite disinterested with a blank expression, and when Lame greets him, the kid has one of the most surprising reactions.

Undoubtedly one of the most-viewed Instagram reels, this one thrives on Khaby Lame’s hilarious expression afterwards and on the relatability factor of how many times we are taken aback by the way some kids react to things.

It has over 20 million likes.


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A post shared by Khaby Lame (@khaby00)

Blink & Express by Shivanjali Porje (260 million views)

Shivanjali Porje might be a kid, but she is a powerhouse of expressions and has a really cute smile. The young girl has some expressive features indeed and in 2022, she held the crown of creating the second-most watched reel on Instagram.

In this reel, she blinks and hits the perfect note for a then ongoing Instagram trend and ends it with her gorgeous smile.

It has nearly 12 million likes.

Learn from Khaby Lame (249 million views)

Lame never fails to impress and no wonder his Instagram reels strike well with the audiences who are a fan of his hilariously sarcastic content.

This reel shows a stylish girl in high heels going through a narrow passage. Though the path is wide enough for her, she turns sideways. Lame imitates her and gives an extremely funny reaction.

It has over 11.8 million likes.


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A post shared by Khaby Lame (@khaby00)

I had the impression the fish was still alive (230 million views)

One of the most viral Instagram reels, this 2021 clip is as hilarious as it gets. The Instagram post opens with a man going fishing where he splashes the water body and beats the fish in an attempt to kill it, which was already dead.

Lame imitates this and while trying to fry a few nuggets in a pan, he starts beating them. He captions it, “I had the impression the fish was still alive.”

It has nearly 11.5 million likes.


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A post shared by Khaby Lame (@khaby00)

iamzalatanimrahimovic by Khaby Lame (209 million views)

When you are making a list of the most-viewed Instagram reels, Khaby Lame is sure to occupy a number of positions. And in this one, he shows an extremely funny and quite practical approach to one of the Squid Game challenges.

One of the biggest Instagram influencers, Lame shows that players could walk on the edge of the panel instead of risking their lives by walking on the glass floors, as one may break and make the players fall to their doom. Here, when Lame reaches the end, footballing icon Zlatan Ibrahimović is seen waiting and Lame falls down shocked.

It has over 18.5 million likes.


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A post shared by Khaby Lame (@khaby00)

One word – Happiness (144 million views)

Another of the most-viewed Instagram reels, this one shows a dazzling riot of colours. The reel by Cochin Aquatics shows a woman feeding a school of black, orange and white fish in a pool.

The happiness it induces and the smile it brings is the main reason behind its popularity.

It has over 9 million likes.

Who said 3 blind mice can’t #glitch by Aubrey Fisher (128 million views)

The #glitch trend is one of the most unforgettable Instagram trends and the one by Aubrey Fisher indeed remains etched in memory.

The video shows Fisher and two other men, @bdash_2 and @_gordonwatkins, glitch to a groovy beat. It is so natural that it is hard to imagine that it was actually edited to make it fast.

It has over 7.5 million likes.

LOL! Open the door this way (117 million views)

A classic Khaby Lame Instagram reel, this is probably one of the most famous ones from his content. The reel shows a guy jumping in through a window and a girl following suit as she is unable to open a door which is getting stuck by her own foot.

In the same clip, Lame opens a door and in his trademark hand gesture shows how it is actually done.

It has over 10.2 million likes.


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A post shared by Khaby Lame (@khaby00)

GTA with dog by krishhhhnna (113 million views)

If you love playing computer games, you must have heard of Grand Theft Auto (GTA). And today, three decades after the release of its first edition, the game continues to reign in our hearts.

Instagram has been flooded with reels where people dress up with funky props and pose with the beats of “MH•Música de GTA San Andreas (Português).” This, in particular, is one of the most-viewed Instagram reels by Krish Gawali where he poses with a cute dog.

It has over 6.7 likes.

Batman maintenance team (112 million views)

If you have seen a reel with two men dancing in different corners of the world, then this is one of the best ones where they dance without any inhibitions. Here, the men turn up as Batman cleaners at a location which seems like a garage and are seen dancing without any restraints.

It has nearly 7 million likes.


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A post shared by James Derrick (@bdash_2)

‘Runaway Aurora’ with dog (101 million views)

One of the hit Instagram reel trends during the pandemic was the striking aesthetic poses to “Runaway” by Aurora.

And when such a beautiful trend is coupled with a cute paw friend, it becomes one of the most popular posts. Not only the content creator, but the dog also does a fantastic job in accompanying her to create a beautiful Instagram reel.

It has over 9 million likes.

Special mention

When Lionel Messi shows off a major football trick, it is bound to be a highly viewed reel. And this reel in partnership with PepsiCo shows the Argentine legend hit the ball precisely at two points with utmost accuracy that it puts an ice cube in a glass waiting to be filled with the fizzy drink. Wondering how? Watch the reel.

It has over 10 million likes and 98.4 million views.


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A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

All the statistics are as of 15 February 2023.

(Main and featured image credit: Magnus Andersson/ @mojacast/ Unsplash)

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