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Instagram Reels VS Instagram Stories


Instagram Reels VS Instagram Stories

Instagram reels VS Instagram stories: These help brands build personality, connect with their audience, boost engagement, and further reach. Through short and captivating content, they enable brands to share updates and promote their products or services in a fun way.

Reels and stories are both widely used by brands to build relationships and share updates. The two may look similar but are different. They offer unique functionalities and serve distinctive functions.

In a nutshell, IG stories help build relationships and showcase personality, while reels enable users to post fun and interactive content, amass leads, and boost sales.

Instagram Reels VS Instagram Stories


In this article, we’ll explore the two in detail, learn how to use them, and share ten main differences between the two. Through this article, you can better understand IG stories and reels, when to use which, and how they help guarantee social success.

What are Instagram reels and stories?

Reels and stories are short video-sharing features on Instagram, widely used by brands and users. By offering an interactive experience to the users, they help brands boost engagement without having to create longer and more detailed posts. 

Instagram stories, launched in 2017, have become a popular tool brands use to provide insights into their business, product catalog, and lives. Accessible via the profile picture, stories are short videos up to 15 seconds in length. However, you can share multiple stories to convey a longer message, promotion, or update.

Instagram Reels VS Instagram Stories


These stories last for 24 hours before they disappear, much like WhatsApp status. However, the poster can still access the story after 24 hours through archives. Moreover, it is possible to save stories for later viewing by creating ‘highlights.’ Stories could either be a photo, a video, or a post.

On the other hand, Instagram reels are short videos 6X longer than stories, up to 90 seconds. Launched in 2020, they are perfect for brands who want to share relatively longer content in one go.

How to use Instagram reels and stories?

Making reels and stories on Instagram is simple, takes little time, and provides high engagement. Here’s how to make Instagram reels:

Step # 1 – Tap the ‘+’ icon or swipe left to open a camera.

Step # 2 – Below the snap icon, scroll right to switch to REEL.

Step # 3 – Record a video or pick clips by tapping the square on the bottom left.

Step # 4 – Add after-effects and adjust alignment and speed.

Step # 5 – Find, add, or import audio to the reel.

Step # 6 – Add a caption, insert hashtags, and edit the cover.

Step # 7 – Post, share, and tag.

Posting a story on Instagram is somewhat similar to posting a reel. Here’s how to make an Instagram story:

Instagram Reels VS Instagram Stories


Step # 1 – Tap the ‘+’ icon or swipe left to open a camera.

Step # 2 – Scroll right to switch to the story.

Alternatively, you can tap on your profile picture at the top-left of the screen.

Step # 3 – Scroll and choose the desired filter.

Step # 4 – Snap a photo or video or upload a pre-saved clip.

Step # 5 – Add after-effects like stickers, GIFS, or time stamps to the story.

Step # 6 – Tag a location or mention other accounts to boost engagement.

Step # 7 – Hit share. 

Instagram Reels VS Instagram Stories

Instagram reels and stories may look similar but aren’t the same. Here are ten key differences between the two features:

1)   Length

Reels are the longer of the two and can go up to 90 seconds. In contrast, stories are relatively shorter, 15 seconds in length. However, the latter appears in a series. Hence, you can upload multiple clips to cover longer updates or promotions.

2)   Accessibility

Instagram reels are added to the profile feed and accessible at any time until removed by the poster. However, stories are temporary, and they disappear after 24 hours. Yet still, you can save stories for future discoverability by creating highlights.  

3)   Format

Reels, as the word suggests, are only videos. In comparison, stories can either be photos, videos, or pre-shared posts. Moreover, you can also post a poll as a story or add a countdown to create a buzz for an upcoming arrival or update.  

4)   Discoverability

Reels have better reach and attract a broader audience. They appear in the home feed and the ‘Reels’ and ‘Explore’ tabs. In addition, popular reels also show on the ‘Use Effect’ screen whenever other users access and use that particular effect. However, stories only reach followers.

5)   Features

Instagram reels one-up stories in terms of edit features. They enable the user to merge multiple clips, smoothen their transition with an alignment tool, and create a longer, seamless video. Further, it also lets you adjust playback speeds, add custom audio, or use timers.

On the other hand, there is no way to merge stories. The breaks are unavoidable. However, they have their pros. Thanks to stickers, stories are relatively more interactive and better boost engagement. Some best stickers include:

  • Add Yours – Encourage followers to share user-generated content.
  • Countdown – Create a countdown to make a buzz before the launch.
  • Questions – Ask a question or host a short Q/A.
  • Link – Tag users and other accounts to your page.

6)    Save Option

Reels are savable, and users can view the saved reels at later times through the ‘Saved’ tab. However, users or viewers can never save stories. Only the poster can view them later or access them through archives.

7)   Audio Features

Reels are also more advanced when it comes to audio capabilities. You can add music to them via the audio tool.

Further, you can also add a sound or music from another reel to your or import original audio. In addition, the feature also enables the users to add sound effects or voiceovers.

In contrast, stories only let users add audio or music from Instagram’s music library via the music sticker. However, their functionality is limited.

8)   Shareability

Both reels and stories are sharable through direct messaging, email, and other social platforms.

However, the duration limit does apply to the stories. Even a shared story disappears from the DM after 24 hours. In contrast, a reel is accessible until deleted.

In addition, reels can also be shared as a feed post and on a brand’s website. Further boosting engagement and reach.

9)   Hashtags

Hashtags work both on stories and reels. The limit for the former is ten tags per story, while you can add up to 30 hashtags with the latter.

10)  Engagement

Even though reels beat their counterparts on most counts, stories are more interactive and boost engagement better. As you can add live stickers to stories, tag other accounts on the main screen, or add a link to your channel.

In comparison, all of it does not work on a reel. Yes, it is possible to tag or add links in the caption but not on the clip.

Importance of both Instagram reels and Instagram Stories

Using Instagram reels and stories helps you market your product or services effectively, reach a global audience, and add engagement to your feed.

Maintaining and updating a feed seldom gets you a solid online presence. It is a must to integrate shorter-and-more-fun reels and stories into the mix to attract and allure a broader audience.

Instagram Reels VS Instagram Stories


Both features help nurture relationships with the audience and add personality to your brand. As a result, they help boost engagement, scale reach, find leads, and increase sales.

Not to forget, their simple creation process and advanced edit functionalities also make them a perfect fit to integrate into your marketing plan.

When to use Instagram reels and Instagram stories

Whether to use a reel or add a story is the question. Both are similar but not interchangeable. The two serve unique functions, and it is essential to understand which does what to create a successful campaign.

Use Reels when:

  • You want to generate leads
  • You need to promote content
  • You want to boost engagement
  • You need to get posts on the Explore tab
  • You want to make the feed versatile

Use Stories when:

  • You want to build relationships
  • You have to trigger an interaction
  • You want to share an update or promotion
  • You have to populate highlight tabs
  • You want to showcase your personality 

Wrap Up

The main difference between Instagram reels and stories is that the former is somewhat permanent, and the latter lasts 24 hours. Unless you save the story as a highlight, it is bound to disappear. In contrast, reels remain accessible until deleted, and users can save and access them later through the ‘saved’ tab.

Both features are fun and engaging ways to connect with the audience, boost engagement, and promote the brand. Their use depends on the occasion, the end goal, and the brand type. Stories are fit to share an update, create buzz, or trigger an interaction, while reels help reels add content versatility and generate leads.

To further explore how you can boost engagement through reels, read How To Add Hashtags To Instagram Reels.

karina gandola

Karina Gandola was born and raised outside the city of Charleston, in the beautiful mountain state of West Virginia. Karina loves writing about the influencer marketing space and an area she is passionate about. She considers her faith and family to be most important to her. If she isn’t spending time with her friends and family, you can almost always find her around her sweet yellow Labrador retriever, Poshna.

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