The Difference between Instagram Stories and Reels in Marketing

The Early Beginning of Instagram

While many people are familiar with the name Instagram, few might recognize Burbn. Instagram was launched in San Francisco as Burbn, a check-in application where people can share pictures and plans of their meet-ups. Because of his love for fine whiskey and bourbons, Kevin Systrom, an American computer programmer, co founded Burbn and his colleague Mike Krieger, a Brazilian-American entrepreneur and software engineer.

It is hard to imagine that Instagram started because Kevin Systrom wanted to have a platform where people can check in to the location of the best places to enjoy whiskey, as the name suggests!

The Shift to Instagram

After noticing how similar Burbn was to the Foursquare Application, Kevin and Mike decided to refocus their app on photo-sharing. This shift has made Instagram much more appealing to its users.

The Concept of the Name Instagram

Instagram is a portmanteau of the terms “Instant camera” and “Telegram.” A name easy to follow, pronounce and spell would stand out, Systrom thought. As we know it today, Instagram launched in 2010, a free online photo-sharing app and social networking platform that Facebook acquired in 2012.

Reels are the viral growth tool next to Instagram stories, among its many features. Since over 2 million businesses connect with people on Instagram, it is a marketplace for many companies. Still, for those business owners looking for growth, the choice of stories or reels always rises.

An Instagram Reel is a short-term vertical video that can be up to 90 seconds. It can express a brand story, educate an audience and most importantly, attract people to the advertised business.

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Whereas an Instagram Story is a feature that allows Instagrammers to post photos or videos in a slideshow format that will automatically disappear within 24 hours.

The Difference between Instagram Stories and Reels

Instagram has become a powerful marketing platform to reach targeted audiences, and understanding whether Instagram stories or reels are going to help a business get a wider audience can be challenging. Knowing about the difference is not a bad idea whether you’re a business owner or not.

We will list below the main differences between Instagram reels and stories:


The length of an Instagram reel varies from a business account to normal Instagram users. A business account reel length is up to 90 seconds, while other normal users enjoy 15, 30, or 60 seconds reels, depending on their mode.

On the other hand, an Instagram story’s maximum video length is up to 15 seconds, and an image has a length of 7 seconds in a story. Thus, uploading longer content reels provide a better service with no interruption, as in the case of stories.


An Instagram reel appears as a short video, while an Instagram story appears as a picture, video, or feed from an Instagram account. Nevertheless, a reel can be shared as an Instagram story after uploading it.

Caption and Hashtag

Putting full captions with up to 30 hashtags is possible with Instagram reels. In the case of stories, ten hashtags with no captions are only possible because stories do not allow separate captions. To add captions, Instagrammers use the text feature instead. Therefore, a business owner can decide what best serves their business regarding hashtags and captions.

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Both reels and stories can generate the desired engagement. What differs, in this case, is the type of engagement. Stories provide engagement through DMs, giving the sense of the traditional business. In comparison, reels create engagement through comments, which is a better choice for influencers and celebrities with no time to engage through DMs.

There is no denying that reels have a greater chance of reaching more users, as they can appear in various people’s feeds. A story, on the contrary, is only visible on the profile of the person who shared it.   


If a story did not reach all the targeted audience within 24 hours, it would disappear; therefore, the user would have to share it again. On the other hand, Instagram reels stay on an account until the user deletes them.


Options vary between reels and stories in terms of editing. On the one hand, slowing down, speeding up, trimming, and aligning with other clips are all options with reels. Not to mention setting a timer.

On the other hand, editing Instagram stories include filters, layout, and camera effects. It should not go unnoticed that some applications today allow editing more freedom for both reels and Instagram story maker.

The Bottom Line

Nowadays, Instagram is one of the leading photo-sharing applications. Instagrammers enjoy both reels and stories. Knowing the difference between them can make their choice better suit their personal or business accounts.

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