Instagram Stories Vs. Reels: Which One Should You Use?

So you’ve heard of these familiar features on instagram, Stories and Reels, but you’re not sure which one to use, right? Let’s save you some trouble: both. Yes, you will need to create content for both. So let’s take a look at each feature individually, so that way you’ll understand what each one does best, and how it can bring more traffic to your blog or business.

Reels

Instagram’s new video-sharing feature, called Reels, is basically the platform’s response to TikTok. In fact, 87% of Gen Z users who are also on TikTok agree that the two apps are basically the same thing. These short, snappy videos can be anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds long (some users have the option of longer 60-second clips) and their main purpose is to entertain. Instagram has said that it favors content that’s “entertaining or funny,” which may explain why Reels get twice the engagement rate of static posts.

Pros:

Shorter content is easier to consume: According to research, most people’s attention span is around 8 seconds, so it’s no surprise that people usually won’t watch a video that’s longer than 60 seconds. Since Reels are generally only a minute long, viewers are more likely to stop scrolling and watch your Reel all the way through.

Editable in-app: Users can create clips completely within the Instagram app with robust editing capabilities. If you prefer to edit outside the app, you can still upload your finished videos to Instagram, but it’s just as easy to create in-app and share right away.

Virality: Reels should help you reach more people who don’t follow you, and will show up in those users’ feeds, making them more likely to see and share your content, too (and possibly, even go viral).

Cons:

Lacks details: The length of Reels, about less than a minute, means that they are not always the best format for conveying detailed information. It’s fine to have a quick three-step skincare routine on a Reel, but you wouldn’t want to use it for a full discussion of all the steps involved.

Being entertaining isn’t always easy: Instagram is encouraging users to create short videos for the platform, but creating quality content every day can be tiring. Marketers need to focus on other tasks, too, so creating influencer videos takes extra effort. However, influencer videos are a good way to boost discoverability and encourage brand loyalty, so they are worth including in your marketing mix.



Stories

In Stories are short clips that are viewable on your Profile or on followers’ main Feeds in the circles at the top. These ten-second clips can be posted as many times as you’d like, and they will only be visible for 24 hours before disappearing. The only exceptions are Story Highlights, which will pin a series of clips to the top of your profile permanently.


Pros:

You can show your brand’s personality: Instagram stories are a great way to show off your brand personality and engage with your audience! You can use them to show behind-the-scenes moments, give sneak peeks of products or services, and share exciting updates.

Instagram Insights: With the Instagram Insights feature, you can track how many people are viewing your Stories and who they are, helping you determine if you’re reaching the right target audience.

Shoppable: You can add links to products in your story and make them shoppable! We couldn’t be more excited about this new feature. The way it works is simple: just link to the product you want to sell in your story, and add the shopping bag icon. Viewers will be able to click through on the link, and can buy the item with just a few clicks.

Cons:

Limited time: Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, making them a challenge to manage for social media managers and content creators. All data related to Stories also disappears after 24 hours 

Raw: If you don’t do your branding correctly, your story’s content can appear sloppy or unbranded.


Conclusion:

So which one should you use? Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels both have their own unique characteristics. You need to use them both as part of an effective Instagram growth and engagement strategy. Reels users are currently discovering your videos at a high rate, giving you an opportunity to increase awareness of who you are and what you do. Consider ToFo content (e.g., bite-sized tips, value-packed content or an overview of your business) to fill the explore page with easily digestible content. Instagram Stories, on the other hand, are primarily seen by those who follow you so it’s a great place to post content that helps you establish deeper relationships with your followers.

Here’s the takeaway: Use Instagram Stories to engage your audience and build trust, and use Instagram Reels to increase awareness of your brand.

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