Instagram Reels vs Stories: Which Is Better For Engagement?

Instagram reels vs stories for better engagement is a nerve-ending battle. While some of us are going crazy over Instagram reels owing to the TikTok fever, some could argue that Instagram stories provide you more reach if you are an online business person. 

Instagram has become a powerful platform with around 2.35 billion users worldwide. Reaching your targeted audience and understanding whether Instagram stories or reels are going to help you get a wider audience can be challenging. 

We decided to put an end to this fight by announcing the ultimate winner, showing you the key differences between Instagram reels and stories. We analyzed which one to pick to get more engagement and followers in the article below.

So, without further ado, let’s rush toward the article now!

Instagram Reels vs Stories: In a Nutshell (2024)

In a hurry? Don’t worry. Have a quick view of the key differences between Instagram reels and stories in a nutshell below.

Instagram Stories vs Reels - Quick Comparison

Difference Between Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories

Both Instagram reels and stories have great significance, depending on the reason you are using them. To understand what suits you best, have a detailed look at the difference between Instagram reels and stories.

1. Length

The length of an Instagram reel is up to 90 seconds for special accounts. Normal Instagram users are allowed to make up to 15, 30, and 60 seconds reels, depending on their mood. However, with Instagram stories, the maximum length of a video is up to 15 seconds. If you upload a picture to your story, it will have a maximum length of 7 seconds. So, if you want to upload longer content, Instagram reels would be the ideal choice, as you can showcase your content without breaking it into different parts (like Instagram stories). 

2. Format

A reel on your Instagram account would be visible as a short video compared to Instagram stories. An Instagram story would appear as a picture, video, or feed from your Instagram account. However, you can put a reel on your Instagram story too. After you upload your reel, you can share it on your story so that your followers will know that you shared a new reel and check it out.

3. Caption & Hashtag

Instagram reels are more convenient in terms of hashtags and captions. You can put full captions on your Instagram reels with up to 30 hashtags. This is more than enough for Instagram users. However, this is not the case with Instagram stories, where you can only put ten hashtags with no captions. The stories do not allow you to add a separate caption. Instead, you can add a caption through the text feature. So, for someone who is big on captions and hashtags, reels would be the ideal choice. 

4. Engagement

Uploading content on Instagram is with the motive of getting engagement through active users. Both reels and stories can get you the engagement you want for an Instagram business, and a story can give you engagement through DMs. 

For instance, if you upload a story related to your clothing business, people interested in purchasing your clothes can DM you and ask you for the price and other information directly. This will increase each customer’s personal attention and give you a feel of a traditional business. 

Talking about the Instagram reels, you get engagement through comments like your feed posts. This way of engaging with users is good for influencers with no time to engage with their fans in DMs personally.

One crucial thing to note here is that your stories do not get features or won’t be visible to anyone scrolling through their reels. Instead, one can view your story by going on your profile. On the other hand, your reel has a chance to go viral, making an appearance in various people’s feeds. So, when it comes to engagement, reels lead the battle!

5. Time

Once you put a story on your Instagram account, it would automatically disappear after 24 hours of putting it. You have to upload a story again if your message wasn’t delivered to all of your audience in those 24 hours. Here Instagram reels win the race again by staying on your account forever until you delete them yourself! 

6. Audio Focus

Talking about the audio focus of Instagram stories, your story would have the option to play music tracks in the background available in the music library. In contrast, in Instagram reels, you have the option to put music tracks from songs in the music library, or you can record and put your voice as the audio focus in your reels. Reels allow you to create a more personalized experience when it comes to audio. Whereas, stories come with a certain limit over the audio focus. 

7. Editing

Lastly, we will talk about editing. You get several options to edit and film your Instagram reels by trimming and aligning them with other clips. You can also slow down your reels, giving them a slow-mo effect, or you can speed up your reel, making it fun. 


Furthermore, you can put a timer on your reels, too. However, with Instagram stories, the editing options are limited to filters, layouts, and camera effects. You can only add filters, merge pictures through the layout option, or add stickers. You do not get any option to trim your videos, align, use multiple effects, and more like Reels.

Bonus: Learn about the best time to post on Instagram with our guide! 

Instagram Reels vs Stories: Which One Trending & Has Better Engagement

A straightforward answer to this is Instagram reels. Instagram reels are considered a better way of getting engagement and getting on the trending list on Instagram. No, we do not say this just by our experience. Instead, below we have collected data from other reliable sources to determine which has the better engagement opportunity! Take a look below. 

Hootsuite engagement
Source: Hootsuite’s Instagram Insights

A recent study by Hootsuite suggested Instagram reels increase your followers count better than videos and posts on your Instagram feed. In the study by Hootsuite, we noticed a drastic increase in the follower count of the Instagram account within 1-3 days of posting reels.

The green line in the graph (picture below) indicates the increase in followers count after uploading reels.

The follower count and engagement increased after posting videos and other forms of content too, but not as much as the increase after posting reels. Talking about Instagram stories, Hootsuite claims that re-sharing Instagram reels on the story can increase the views count of Instagram reels significantly.

Now, let’s get to Later’s study on Instagram reels engagement patterns. Through later’s study, the impact of Instagram reels on engagement can be understood after the sudden drop of engagement on feed posts by 44% after the launch of the reels feature on Instagram.

Average Engagement Rate
Source: Later

We searched the latest Google trends to see people’s interest in Instagram reels and stories. Over time, Instagram reels have become the new search interest of people, whereas Instagram stories see a significant drop in terms of the search interest of people.

The blue line in the graph below represents Instagram reels, and the red line indicates Instagram stories. The bumps and rise of the blue line are enough to explain people’s love for Instagram reels.

Interest Over time

Lastly, we can see the win of Instagram reels over Instagram stories with all the above data.

When To Use Instagram Stories And Instagram Reels?

The common question everyone asks themselves when posting on Instagram is when they should use Instagram stories and when to use Instagram Reels. Both have their own purposes, so it is important to know when to use both of them.

Use Instagram Stories When:

  • Want to build relationships with your audience
  • Want to interact with your followers
  • Want to let your followers about an important update about yourself or your brand
  • Want to create highlights for your profile
  • Want to share your day-to-day life with your followers

Use Instagram Reels When:

  • Want to promote your brand or anyone else’s
  • Want to gain popularity by creating quality content
  • Want to engage with your audience
  • Want to get featured in the explore section

Summing Up!

Here we come to an end of the battle between Instagram reels vs stories! Hopefully, now you have understood what is best between Instagram reels and Instagram stories. But to sum it up, we must say Instagram reels are the best if you want better engagement and followers. 

Nevertheless, we can’t say Instagram stories are useless. Instagram stories are helpful for businesses willing to give personal attention to their customers. But, of course, If you want to choose between any two of them, then go for reels. 

We hope the above article helped you to understand the difference between Instagram reels and stories. Let us know what you believe is the best between Instagram reels vs stories in the comments below.

FAQs On Instagram Reels vs Stories

Do reels get you more followers than video posts?

Yes, a recent study suggests you get 22% more followers with reel posts compared to video posts on Instagram.

How many views are viral on reels?

More than usual engagement on reels indicates a viral reel, or more than 5 million views within 3-7 days of upload, also shows a viral reel. 

Should I post reels every day? 

Posting 4-7 reels weekly is good as it increases the account reach.

How do you make a reel go viral?

To make a reel go viral, follow these tips.
Use trendy music
Use trendy hashtags
Remove watermarks
Ensure high video quality
Optimize the text placements on-screen

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