The difference between Instagram Stories and Reels

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Source: Handmade Seller Magazine - instagram reels transitions not showing

Instagram has launched this reels feature that allows you to post short videos on your Instagram account. Due to the short nature of the video, you can attract a lot of audience engagement on your feed. This has left people wondering what’s the difference between Instagram stories and reels. In this article, we will answer this question for you.

Knowing the difference between these two features will allow you to use them in your feed. Despite the similarity between the two, Instagram reels and stories are quite different. Whether you are a brand or just want to improve audience engagement, learning about the difference will be a massive help to you.

What’s the difference between Instagram Stories and Reels?

Here are some technical differences between the two:

  • A story can either be a photo or a video, but a reel is always in video format.
  • A video story has a 15-seconds time limit while a reel can be up to 30-seconds long.
  • With a story, the audience interaction is private. However, with a reel, the audience interaction is public.
  • When you mention someone in your story, the story doesn’t appear in their feed. However, when you mention them in your reel, the reel appears on their feed.
  • A story only remains on your profile for 24 hours. Insta reels on the other hand always stay on your feed until you delete them.  

How to use the two?

Keeping the above differences in mind, here’s how you can use the two features to maximize engagement on your feed.

1. Editing

Since stories are only 15-seconds long, it doesn’t make sense for you to edit them heavily. Furthermore, they will only last for 24 hours. Instead, use the stories as a teaser for your videos and reels. You can do this by uploading the first half of your Insta reel as a story. Along with that, you can put a link to the reel. This will maximize engagement by enticing viewers to click.

Insta reels offer advanced editing tools that you can use to unleash your creativity. Always edit your reels by adding transitions, effects, and audio. Insta reels offers a wide range of available music catalogs.

2. Hashtags

Just like editing, it doesn’t make sense for you to add too many hashtags to your Instagram stories. Your stories won’t show up on other people’s pages so it isn’t worth it. Instead, focus on adding stories that entice people to click on the actual post. Your story can act as an update regarding your actual posts.

With your reels, you should add all the relevant hashtags. This will maximize engagement as other people will be able to see and interact with your reel.

3. Sharing

If you’re using a private account, it doesn’t make sense for you to add hashtags to your reels. The goal of public posts is to be discovered by the audience. Therefore, it’s on you to decide which way you want to go. Go for a public account if you are building a brand or want to become an influencer. Once you go public, focus more on reels to maximize discoverability.

You can keep stories private as a public account. This will let you share things you only want to share with your followers.


Instagram reels and Stories are different from each other in every way. Therefore, they require different uses. Depending on your goals, you should give reels much more preference if you want to maximize engagement with your followers and the world.

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