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A lot of you asked us on Instagram: “What’s the difference between Instagram Story and Reels?”

Is one better than the other?

Here’s a quick comparison for you:

difference between Instagram Story and Reels

It’s not to say that one is necessarily “better” than the other.

We all have different types of Instagram accounts, different brands, different businesses, different strategies.

Insta Stories and Instagram Reels are different platforms and can be used to create different types of content, and to connect with your audience in different ways.

Let’s break it down:

Difference #1. Reels don’t disappear

I don’t know about you but creating Instagram Stories for my business takes a LONG time.

And unfortunately they disappear after 24 hours (unless you save them all in a Highlight every single time).

What I personally love the most about Instagram Reels is that they don’t disappear after 24 hours.

So all your hard work creating content doesn’t vanish.

It stays on your Instagram feed and in your Reels tab.

difference between Instagram Story and Reels

Difference #2. The Explore page

Instagram Reels take a lot of space on the Explore page:

difference between Instagram Story and Reels

Instagram Stories used to be featured on our Explore page too, but now they are all gone.

All the vertical videos that appear on our Explore page are now Reel videos:

difference between Instagram Story and Reels

Do you still see Insta Stories on your Explore page?

Maybe Instagram is testing different Explore pages to see what people watch more: Reels or Insta Stories?

We’ll have to wait and see.

But so far, Instagram is pushing Reels.

This means you have so many opportunities to be seen on the Explore page.

Difference #3. Hashtag Pages

Another difference between Instagram Story and Reels is your opportunity to be featured on Hashtag Pages.

Of course, you can use hashtags in your Instagram Stories, but:

  1. People have to tap on the circle image to watch Insta Stories (it’s an extra step)
  2. There is no guarantee your Story will be shown (the Instagram algorithm chooses which Story makes it to the top of the page)
  3. Your Story will disappear after 24 hours

With Instagram Reels:

  1. The Reels video takes the most amount of space on top of the Hashtag Page
  2. The video will automatically play = perfect to catch people’s attention
  3. It can stay on a Hashtag Page for a few days = awesome to get more reach even days after you post!

Tip: Everything you need to know about Instagram Reels Hashtags.

difference between Instagram Story and Reels

Difference #4. Your Reach

For Instagram Stories:

  • Nearly everyone who watches your Instagram Stories are the people who are already following you.

For Instagram Reels:

  • Your followers + people who don’t follow you yet can see you.

Therefore, Instagram Reels have the potential to increase your reach, and attract new followers.

Difference #5. Saves

When people “save” your post, it tells the Instagram algorithm that they are LOVING your content.

Therefore, Instagram will help show your post to more people.

So in a way, “Saves” are a way to grow your account.

So what is the difference between Instagram Story and Reels when it comes to “saves”?

At the moment, we cannot “save” someone’s Instagram Story (unless we screenshot it or screen-record it).

But we can save someone’s Reel video.

So if your video is really entertaining, educational or inspirational: people will be more inclined to save it for later.

And if they save it… you guess it: Instagram will show it to more people.

difference between Instagram Story and Reels
difference between Instagram Story and Reels

Difference #6. Getting re-shared

And the last difference between Instagram Story and Reels:

How easy it is for people to re-share your content.

“Shares” are another trigger for the Instagram algorithm.

The more “Shares” you have, the more the Instagram algorithm will be like:

“Ok, a lot of people are loving this, let’s show this post to even more people”.

The difference between Instagram Story and Reels:

Insta Story:

  • You can only share someone’s Story in a private message (limited)
  • You cannot share someone’s Story in your own Story (unless they tagged you in their Story)

Instagram Reels:

  • Instagram made it super easy for people to share Instagram Reels.
  • You can send a Reel to someone in a private message.
  • You can share a Reel in your own Instagram Story so that your followers can see it too (opportunity for growth!)
difference between Instagram Story and Reels
difference between Instagram Story and Reels

Have you noticed any other difference between Instagram Story and Reels?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

And if you want more Instagram tips, tricks and strategies: Steal my Instagram Growth Guide.

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