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Stories, Reels, IGTV: What’s the Difference?

Stories and reels and IGTV . . . oh my!

Instagram is one of our favourite social media platforms. It is highly image and video driven and really appeals to those with a creative streak. Instagram also gives you a lot of different posting options. There’s the standard image posts which are posted to your feed, but then you also have the option of posting reels, stories and IGTV videos.

So what’s the difference?

All three of these are different video posting formats (stories also allow you to post still images). We’re going to give you an overview of each individual format so you understand the differences and can make better informed decisions when choosing how to post your content.

Stories

Stories aren’t posted to your feed, but rather to your ‘story’ which appears along the top of the Instagram app. Stories can be likened to Snapchat, in that they can only be viewed on your profile for 24 hours, after which they disappear. However, they can later be added as ‘highlights’ which can permanently be viewed on your profile. 

We like to use stories to share content as it’s happening in the moment. This is a great way to make your followers feel like they are connecting with you in real time. You have the ability to post images or videos to your story, as well as add fun add-ons such as stickers, GIFs and hashtags. 

You can also encourage your followers to engage with your stories by adding polls, questions, quizzes and other interactive add-ons. If you’re collaborating with another business, it’s always a great idea to tag them in your story so they can see and share it too.

Story aspect ratio: 9:16

Where are they posted: To your ‘story’ with the option of adding to your highlights.

Best content to post: ‘In the moment’ content, content that encourages your followers to engage, reminders of new posts in your feed. 

Reels

Reels are short and engaging videos up to a maximum length of 30 seconds, and are the latest add-on feature to Instagram. 

If stories can be likened to Snapchat, Reels can be likened to TikTok. When creating Reels, Instagram allows you to edit, cut and add effects as an in-app feature. You can also stitch videos together to create a series such as step-by-step instructions or before and afters – be as creative as you like! As they are the latest feature, Instagram is favouring this type of content, so it’s a good idea to start brushing up on your video editing skills and share Reels alongside your regular content on Instagram. 

Reels aspect ratio: 9:16

Where are they posted: To your feed, as well as to a dedicated Reels tab on your profile.

Best content to post: Short, fun and engaging videos less than 30 seconds. You can also repurpose your TikToks here!

IGTV

So far we have stories (likened to Snapchat), Reels (likened to TikTok) and lastly we’re going to give an overview of IGTV, or Instagram TV, which one can compare to YouTube.

While shorter videos (less than 60 seconds) can be posted to your regular feed, IGTV is a feature dedicated to posting those longer videos of up to 10 minutes. You have less in-app editing features when it comes to posting IGTV videos, which is why you’ll notice many of these videos have been professionally edited beforehand.

Within your own IGTV ‘channel’ you also have the option of sorting your videos into a series, some examples include recipes, fitness videos, how-tos or timelapses, but the possibilities are endless!

Another stand out feature of IGTV, is that it is the only instagram feature with it’s own dedicated app. While you can still watch IGTV videos within the Instagram app, the IGTV app is a space solely dedicated to sharing Instagram video content.

IGTV aspect ratio: Vertical videos 9:16 or horizontal videos 16:9

Where are they posted: A preview is posted to your feed, while the full video is posted to a dedicated IGTV tab on your profile.

Best content to post: Pre-edited videos longer than 60 seconds.


We hope this overview has you feeling like you’re ready to take on all the posting formats of Instagram! 

Social media is ever changing – there are new features and updates coming out all the time, so it’s completely understandable for one to feel a little lost. If you would like some help navigating the world of social media, we’d love to offer our training and social media management services! Click here to book in a free 15 minute consultation.

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Minna Salmesvuo

Social Media & Online Marketing Strategist