Instagram Posts vs Instagram Stories: Is One Better Than the Other?

Instagram posts and Instagram Stories both appear on the same platform, but they’re extremely different from one another.

If you’ve landed here, it’s because you’re trying to decide between Instagram posts and Instagram Stories—or you’re trying to figure out what content is best for each format.

We’re here to help!

Jump Links:

Differences and Similarities of Instagram Posts and Instagram Stories
When to Use Instagram Posts
When to Use Instagram Stories

Differences and Similarities of Instagram Posts and Instagram Stories

Instagram posts are the bulk of Instagram content. These are the traditional square photo and video posts that appear in your follower’s feeds.

As of 2020, Instagram posts can include captions up to 2,200 characters long, although the ideal Instagram post length is between 138 to 150 characters. Instagram posts typically feature several hashtags.

Instagram posts are evergreen. They appear on your profile forever (unless you delete them), so they tend to get more views over a longer period of time.

They need to reflect your brand image and values, and reflect the level of quality content that your followers expect. As a result, for major brands or accounts, Instagram posts are highly curated.

Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword + hashtag analytics and social media analytics across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free here.

Instagram Stories are more fleeting and fun. Instagram Stories are only 15 seconds long and disappear 24 hours after they are posted.

However, you can feature your best Instagram Stories at the top of your profile and they will sit there permanently.

Instagram Stories appear at the top of the Instagram app rather than as part of someone’s feed. Instagram Stories are in the vertical video or photo format rather than square.

They often include stickers or face filters—which you can’t use in an Instagram post.

Because Instagram stories are more temporary, they’re typically more casual. They’re used as a real-time engagement strategy rather than a perfect, polished Instagram post.

When to Use Instagram Posts

Instagram posts are best for content that is:

  • Evergreen –Content that you want people to be able to see forever
  • Curated – Aim for high-value content on your Instagram feed
  • Designed for reach – Posts are more likely to reach new audiences than Stories
  • Soundless – Most users scroll their feed with the sound off

A business’s Instagram posts may be:

  • Professional product shots
  • Well-produced videos

When to Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are ideally:

  • Timely – Stories only last 24 hours, so they can be more “in the moment”
  • Casual – Selfie videos or behind-the-scenes content are more common
  • Designed for engagement – Your Stories will be watched by your current followers
  • Sound on – Most users watch Instagram Stories with their sound on

Example Instagram Stories for business would be:

  • Breaking announcements
  • Short-term discounts or sales
  • Polls for your customers
  • Behind-the-scenes videos or interviews

Start Tracking Your Instagram Analytics

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Related Articles:

How to Get More Instagram Followers: 30 Proven Strategies

The Top 15 Instagram Analytics Tools [+ Metrics that Matter]


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword + hashtag analytics and social media analytics across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free here.

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