Instagram Reel vs Story: Everything You Want to Know 2022

Marketing, Social Media

How often have you sat there staring at your phone, unsure whether you should post an Instagram story or a reel but couldn’t decide on the right one? How do you know which one is best?

Well, with over 2 billion users on Instagram in 2022, no matter what you do, you want to make sure you are using Instagram marketing.

Instagram reach is unlimited, so learning the ropes is a great way to elevate your business and brand.

So if you want to know more about trending reels on Instagram, different trend tips, how to follow the trends, how to share reels on stories, and when to share an Instagram reel vs story, you’ll want to keep reading. This guide will walk you through it all!

What Are Instagram Reels?

Instagram reels are short-form videos that took after TikTok to showcase more than just a photo. Instagram reels can be anywhere from a couple of seconds to a 90-second video. Reels can be any type of video you want, making them an awesome tool for creative story-telling, marketing, and more.

When They Started

Instagram reels started in the fall of 2020. When they first started, they were less popular than they are now. As the months went on and people caught onto the trends, the popularity of reels grew. 

How Reels Became Popular

When this occurred, they became more popular because they introduced more people to new accounts. Accounts also had more reach to gain more followers. Using reels became the number one way to go viral on Instagram to gain more followers and expand awareness about your Instagram account (whether personal or for a business).

But why did Instagram roll these out in the first place? When Meta saw that TikTok was becoming increasingly popular and outpacing Instagram with downloads, they knew they had to join in on the action. To do that, they introduced Reels.

What Are Instagram Stories?

Instagram stories are quick and short stories you can post to your account that disappear after 24 hours on your profile. This is to post less curated content than you would post on your in-feed profile.

The Start of Instagram Stories

Instagram stories started in 2016, taking after the idea that Snapchat created – having quick photos or videos to showcase what you are doing at any given moment. They have since stayed similar to this, as they are less curated, but there are so many more options to use with stories to make them more personable and appealing! 

How Stories Became Popular

Instagram stories became popular because it was a way to post on one platform for both photos in your feed, as well as quicker 24-hour photos that would disappear after time went by.

Instead of using Snapchat for quick shots and Instagram for the nicer ones, Instagram gave users the option to do it all on their platform.

Reels Vs Stories: The Differences 

When it comes to what you want to post on Instagram for reels or stories, there are a few key differences to know about what you can post on either. We break that down right below.


For starters, there is a difference in the formatting of the posts on Reels and stories. 

For Reels, you can expect to only be posting in video format. The purpose of Reels is to show off different photos in a video format, several videos together, or just one video. 

When you post on your Stories, you can post both photos and videos. You can even repost videos and photos that you post on your feed. For instance, if you post a Reel, you can learn how to share an entire reel on your Instagram story, but not vice versa.


The lifespan of the two is also different.

On Reels, you can expect this to stay on your feed forever. However, there is an option to remove it from your feed so that it only shows up on the Reels tab. You can also keep it on both!

For stories, you can keep posting them on there, but they will only last up to 24 hours. If you want it to last longer on your Instagram page, you have to make it part of a Highlight. You can do this in the following way:

  1. Click on the story you posted within 24 hours of posting it
  2. Press Highlight in the bottom right corner of the story 
  3. Choose the Highlight you want to add it to. Or create a new one if you don’t already have one in place

Typically, more everyday things will be posted onto your story since they will go away, while your feed will remain more curated with edited content or content that you feel is more important.


The length of Reels and stories is also different from one another.

For Reels, although you used to only be able to create Reels up to 30 seconds, you are now able to create them to be 90 seconds. This makes it easier to advertise certain items or services, provide more time to do a voiceover and explain the video, or simply show a longer video.

Typically, the most engaging posts for an Instagram reel viewer are 7 to 12 seconds for Reels.

For stories, instead of being capped at 15 seconds per video, you now have the option to record up to 60 seconds per video. This allows you more time to get what you want to say out there!

Editing Abilities

You have different editing abilities for each option of a Reel or a story.

There is no editing for stories. Once you take the video, that’s what you get (except for a few filters that you can apply to the story). However, for Reels, you can speed up or slow down videos. You can also trim them, move different pieces of the video around, insert your own audio, and more.


The audio options that you have for each are also different. 

For stories, you can select to have your own audio from the video itself as part of the story, or you can import media from the music options that Instagram gives you.

For a reel, you can create your own audio, do a voiceover, use selected audio options from Instagram, or insert music options that Instagram has.


If you like to plan ahead, you can easily do this for Reels, but you cannot do this for your Instagram stories. 

On the Reels tab, you can save drafts to post for later. For stories, you have to post them right when you create them, or they will not save.


Story engagement looks a lot different than how people can engage with your Reels.

Reel engagement is public, like likes and comments that others can see. If you are looking to get more engagement on your posts and Instagram as a whole, you’ll want to focus on posting Reels rather than stories. Using trending reels on Instagram is a great way to join in on the fun of what’s popular on the platform while increasing engagement.

Stories are private engagements. Any likes or comments will go directly to your direct messages, which only you will see.

Placement and Sharing

Sharing is an important aspect of getting more Instagram reach, especially for video marketing.

Your stories are typically private unless you choose to add hashtags or geotags that will share to those stories and hashtag pages. However, a Reel will reach much further.

The Reel will show up on the explore tab for others to see, even if they do not follow you. In addition to the explore tab, your reel will also show up for your followers, you can post it on your story, and others can also repost it onto their stories. This is what makes these so great for Instagram marketing. 


There is also a difference in the type of captions you can post with a story and a Reel. 

With a Reel, you have access to a full caption, much as you do for a post on your feed with a photo. With a story, there are no captions. However, you can add text to the story to be somewhat of a caption – it just won’t show up as an actual caption would.

Different Trend Tips

When it comes to using stories and Reels, there are different things you have to do to stay on top of the trends that are happening.

So what are some different trend tips? Keep on reading below to find out! 

Instagram Stories

For stories, there are always new trends when it comes to the type of stickers you can use. The trending stickers show up when you first click on the add button.

You can even add your own stickers now if you want! These are often shopping stickers.

There are other features that you can use as well that are becoming increasingly popular and trending at the moment. For instance, you can incorporate music, the time of a post, a sticker of another photo in your camera roll, and even a countdown if you are trying to gain hype around something you are debuting. 

For Instagram stories, you’ll also want to focus on different ways to use stories. For example, many people appreciate it when you face the camera to talk rather than just taking videos of everything else without you in them! Be sure to prioritize that depending on what you are promoting or discussing in your stories. 

Instagram stories have also become longer in the past few months. While stories could only be 15 seconds not too long ago, a length of 60 seconds is now allowed! This makes stories less choppy so that you can showcase whatever you want without such a short time limit! 


Reels are trending to be a bit longer than they used to be. While reels are used to highlight content that was short and sweet (about 6-12 seconds long), it now favours content that is longer.

This allows for more content to be produced per reel. It also has increased the popularity of voiceovers within reels as well, instead of just music.

Adding captions to reels (much like TikTok allows you to do) is also more popular.

In the past, reels used to focus on sharing pictures in the form of a video. While that still is possible, and there are trends that showcase those from time to time, using videos within reels is the most popular way to do it.

You can even turn stories into reels after you post them! You can also post the Reels on stories to showcase the content that some may not see in your feed and only in your stories. This makes sharing more versatile. 

Instagram Reel Vs Story: It’s Time to Start Doing Both

After reading this guide, you probably have a better understanding of both Instagram reels and stories and when to use both.

While an Instagram reel vs story isn’t that different, they are quite different when it comes to how to use them. If you are trying to increase your Instagram engagement and Instagram reach, you’ll want to make sure to utilize what you have learned here! 

While reels will help you with your reach, stories will help with keeping engagement on your account high! People want to know what’s happening behind the scenes!

If you feel that this is all a bit too much and you need help, we’re here for you. Keeping up with the social media aspects, and everything else you have to do for your business can be hard. At Elevated Business Solutions, we are here to help you through it! We can help you with your social media postings to increase your reach and grow your business.

Ready to start? Contact us today!

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