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Reel vs Story: Which Is Best for 2024?

Reels? Stories? Which type of content works best in 2024? Uncover key times to use a Story or Reel to reach your engagement and reach goals.
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Reels, Stories, carousels – if you find yourself getting lost by all of the types of content on Instagram, you’re not alone. But if you’re trying to grow your account, you need to know the difference between a Reel vs Story and which one you should focus on in 2024.

Instagrammers are spending 17.6 million hours a day watching Reels, and more than half a billion people watch Stories every day.

With both getting so much engagement from users, you may not know which one to focus on with your account.

What are Reels?

How Long Can Reels Be on Instagram

Reels are short, vertical videos that can be up to 90 seconds long (60 seconds is the average). They don’t disappear and are meant to be polished forms of content. 

Treat Reels like you would other video content you post on Instagram.

It’s important to use a few best practices when creating Reels:

  • Make sure your content has an aspect ratio of 1:9:1 to 9:16.
  • Add trending audio to make your Reel more discoverable
  • Add a few relevant hashtags to help people find your content
  • Create engaging captions for your Reels that ask viewers to comment and like your video

Reels are extremely popular on Instagram and get a lot of engagement from viewers. They’re a great way to grow your following because they have a higher reach. 

However, for Reels to be effective, you need to put more time and effort into creating them. Instagram and users expect these videos to be clean, polished and professional.

Reels are not a place for candid content. That’s what Stories are for. 

When To Use Reels

Use Reels when you want to:

1. Boost Engagement

There’s no question that Reels will boost your engagement. They’re more easily discoverable by the entire Instagram community, and they’re longer than Stories.

People love scrolling through Reels, and they’ll be more inclined to tap the like button or drop a comment.

2. Go Viral

If you want to go viral, Reels are the way to go. If your Reel makes it to the Explore Page, there’s great potential to get a ton of likes, comments and followers in a short amount of time.

3. Get New Followers

Because Reels can be seen by anyone in the Instagram community, this type of content is a great way to get new followers.

Studies show that Reels generate 22% more new followers than regular video posts in your feed.

What are Stories?

Instagram Stories are watched by hundreds of millions of followers per day, and they have immediate real estate on Instagram. At the top of the app, you’ll see Stories, which take up the most prominent space on the website/app.

If you follow someone who creates enticing content, you’re likely watching their Stories because they resonate with you.

Stories have a few quirks that you need to know:

  • 24-hour view time before they’re removed
  • 15-second length, and you can have multiple clips
  • 7-second view time for a photo post on Stories

Your Story is meant to engage your current followers, but if you have a public profile, anyone can view your Story if they go to your profile.

A Story can also include stickers, such as a poll or questions that entice followers to interact with your story. 

A few of the key downsides of a Story vs Reel is that:

  • Stories are shorter, so it can be challenging to show a lengthy product demo or get your point across without going to the next Story. Reels can be 60 – 90 seconds long, so you can go more in-depth on a topic with less risk of people clicking off.
  • Your Story will not go into the Instagram Explore page, so it’s very unlikely to get you new followers. However, if your Story does get shared by other people and your account is public, it can lead to new followers.
  • Stories only last for 24 hours, so they’re short-term pieces of content.
Pro Tip: If you create an awesome piece of content, you don’t need to debate whether it’s best as a Reel vs Story. Instead, you can post your Reel and share it in your Story, allowing you to leverage both types of content at once.

When To Use an Instagram Story

Once you know how to make Instagram Stories, you’ll need to know when to use them to meet your goals. Every piece of content should have a goal attached to it, such as:

  • Engagement
  • Nurturing
  • Education
  • Connection
  • Etc.

Stories are powerful pieces of content for two main scenarios:

  • Maintenance: If you’ve worked hard and want to keep an active user base, Stories are going to be the best option for you. Users can connect with their audience using Stories and build loyalty and long-term connections. Add polls, ask questions and let your audience learn more about you or your business with a Story.
  • Promotion: If you run a brand account or even sell your own merch, you can show off your latest product promotions or offer discounts right in your Story. You do want to be cautious of promoting too often because it can lead to followers unfollowing you in the long term. No one wants to feel like you’re promoting to them multiple times a day.

Of course, there are nuances of Reels and Stories that you’ll need to know about and consider when focusing on engagement.

Reels vs Story: Which One Gets More Engagement in 2024?

Perhaps the most important debate that you’ll have is whether a Reel or Story gets more engagement. An engagement rate of 1% to 5% is common across all niches, but your audience will play a role in whether a Reel or Story performs better.

Stories may have more engagement because they’re:

  • Shown to your followers
  • Watched by 500 million users per day

Reels have a greater reach and the potential to go viral because they’re the “hot” content on the platform. You’ll find Reels on the Explore page, but you won’t see Stories there.

If you want to keep your current followers engaged, Stories are going to be your strongest piece of content

Reels are a strong choice for engagement with followers and non-followers.

You can think of the two as follows:

  • Stories are the ultimate choice for nurturing followers and building deep connections.
  • Reels are your go-to option for attracting new followers and allow you to go in-depth on topics with 90-second-long videos.


We recommend that you create both Stories and Reels on a regular basis to keep engagement high. A healthy mix of content will allow you to appease Instagram’s algorithm from multiple angles.

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