Instagram Video vs Reels vs Stories: Which Should You Use For Your Social Strategy?

Not sure if you need to focus on Instagram Reels, Stories, Instagram Video or all three? Here are the pros and cons of each feature to help you settle the ultimate Instagram debate!

Lauren Melnick
9 minutes read

“Instagram Video, Reels, or Stories?” you ponder.

“Which one should I use?! Or do I need to use all three?!” you lament.

If these thoughts are swirling around in your head, you’re in the right place.

In today’s post, we are unpacking each feature, looking at how it fits into the marketing puzzle, the pros and cons, as well as tips you can start using today to spice up your strategy.

Let’s jump into the Instagram Videos vs Reels Vs Stories debate!

How to Share a Video on Instagram

There are four ways you can upload a video to Instagram:

1. A feed post (as long as it’s shorter than one-minute)

2. Instagram Stories

3. Reels

4. Instagram Video

Below, we’ll compare 2-4 to help you pick the best one for your Instagram strategy and audience.

Read More: How Long Can Instagram Videos Be?



Instagram Reels

Reels are the best way to grow on Instagram right now.

…But what exactly are they?

Reels are Instagram’s version of TikTok. Users can create short 15-30 second video clips.

Reels Dimensions

The dimensions for Reels are 9:16 (you’ll need to shoot in portrait), and you have access to a range of video editing tools inside the app such as:

• Filters (expect everything from adding fake eyelashes to using a green screen effect)

• Clip speed (slow down or speed up a video)

• Music (add sounds and music from other creators and musicians)

• Clip length (adjust the length of each clip)

• Text (use the range of fonts you have access to in Instagram Stories on Reels)

• Voiceover (record yourself speaking over a clip)

• Audio mixing (control the volume of two audio clips)

How to Use Instagram Reels to Grow Your Account

Due to Instagram pushing Reels content to compete with TikTok, the reach is unmatched.

You can use Reels to create top of the funnel content, i.e. brand awareness. It’s the best way to get new eyes on your content and connect with people seeing you in their Explore tab for the first time.

When Plann’ing out your Reels content, think bite-sized tips and value-packed content.

TL;DR: Use Reels for brand awareness and growth

The Pros and Cons of Instagram Reels

Pro: Increase Your Organic Reach

Whenever Instagram rolls out a new feature, the app rewards accounts who use it

Instagram Reels is the best way to go viral on the platform and boost your organic reach without spending money on ads

Con: You Can’t Promote Instagram Reels

Instagram wants Reels to be an organic environment and currently doesn’t allow you to boost Reels. This could change in the future, but for now, there is no way to buy your way to more views.

Con: Business Accounts Can’t Add Music

If you have a business account, you can’t add music to your Reels. Only personal or Creator accounts have this feature.

However, you can use original audio clips created by other users!

Pro: Reels Have a Longer Shelf Life Than Stories, Feed Posts, and Instagram Video

Unlike other content types on Instagram, Reels don’t get lost in the ether an hour after you press ‘Publish’

The algorithm can pick up a Reel at any time and start pushing it out to more users

What does this mean for you? A Reel you posted 2-weeks ago could still go viral, and older Reels can continue to rack up views over time. 

Tips for Your Instagram Reels Strategy

• Post 3 to 5 Reels per week.

• Share educational or inspiring content which will encourage people to save and watch on repeat.

• Put a unique twist on trends and make the videos relevant to your niche

• Stick to your niche to attract the right followers to your account

• Use relevant hashtags to describe your Reel and paste them at the bottom of your caption, NOT the first comment

• Create Instagram Reels covers to keep your feed cohesive and make the topic of each video visible

how long can a video on Instagram be

Instagram Stories

Once you’ve captured your audience’s attention with a Reel, you want to build a connection with your Stories.

Stories help you connect with your audience beyond the perfectly curated feed. It creates the alli-important know, like, and trust factor and gives viewers a glimpse into your raw and unfiltered life.

However, there is a time limit.

Each Story is only 10-seconds long, and you can record up to 4 at one time. The Instagram video dimensions for Stories are 9:16. 


How to Use Instagram Stories to Build a Connection with Your Audience

By using Stories as the BTS (behind the scenes) of your business and life, you become more relatable and personable.

Why is this important?

People don’t buy from strangers. They buy from brands and people they like and feel some sort of affinity towards.

Stories help you build this connection.

That means, when you’re ready to sell your latest course, product, or service, your audience is ready to buy, and the selling process is effortless!

TL;DR: Use Instagram Stories to build up trust and engagement before asking for the sale.

Instagram story dimensions

The Pros and Cons of Instagram Stories

Pro: Swipe Up Feature

Once you hit 10k followers on Instagram, you’ll have the ability to add links to your Stories.

This is a powerful way to drive traffic back to your site and make sales.

You don’t need to try to get people to click the link in your bio. The ‘Swipe Up’ feature lets you bypass that extra step and get your audience onto your website with a flick of their thumb.

Con: Stories Disappear After 24-hours

The biggest drawback of Instagram Stories is that all your Stories will disappear after 24-hours.

Unless you add the content to a highlights folder.

Pro: It Promotes Less Curated Content and More Engagement

On Stories, you can show a more raw and unfiltered side of your life and business. You can show up with a messy bun and tracksuit pants while delivering value for your audience. 

The features inside Stories let you engage with your followers in new ways. You can run polls to learn more about their likes and dislikes, create quizzes, host informal q&as and more.

Tips for Your Instagram Reels Strategy

• Post 10 Stories each day at different intervals.

• Use engagement features like polls and questions to boost views on your Stories.

• Add hashtags and location tags to improve your reach.

• Change the colour of the text to match your brand colours.

• Share value in your Stories. Don’t just post a picture of your smoothie. Share the recipe.

upload a video to Instagram

Instagram Video

Think of Instagram Video as Instagram’s version of YouTube.

Users can upload long-form, high-quality video content between 1-10 minutes long.

The major difference between the two platforms?

Instagram Videos vertical, and the dimensions are 9:16.

Not sure how to upload an Instagram Video? All you have to do is open the app, select the video from your camera reel (make sure it’s longer than one minute!), and Instagram will prompt you to upload a long video to Instagram Video.

How to upload an IGTV

How to Use Instagram Video to Add Value

Not sure how to add Instagram Video to your content mix?

Think of it as the home for your more polished content.

You want to share videos like:

• Q&A’s

• Cinematic ads

• Short films

• Tutorials

• Product reviews

Basically, anything which requires you to go more in-depth.

If you’re a coach, you can use Instagram Video to give people a taste of what it’s like to get coached by you. 

For influencers, you can use Instagram Video to host a weekly show. For example, you could do a round-up of your favourite products related to your niche. It will give your audience value and show brands how they can easily fit into the content you create.

Read More: Instagram Videos Sizes and Dimensions

The Pros and Cons of Instagram Video

Pro: Add More Value

A longer video format means you have more time to add value. Whether it’s an in-depth make-up tutorial or a full-length interview, there’s more time for you to make an impact. 

Pro: Create a Series

Instagram Video lets you group videos into a series. If you want to cover different topics or types of videos on your account, this is a fantastic way to keep things organised.

It also helps viewers quickly find videos related to their interests and boost how many videos someone watches.

Con: No Monetisation

One thing missing from Instagram Video is the lack of a native advertising platform. Unlike YouTube, creators can’t earn money from ad rolls. It creates a lack of incentive for people to move away from a platform like YouTube and invest time creating content for Instagram Video.

Con: No Detailed Search Functionality

Instagram Video matches videos to users based on their interests, followed accounts, and trending videos.

Unlike YouTube, you can’t perform a search based on videos. This limits the discoverability of content and the content people are exposed to.

The Ultimate Strategy Guide
The Ultimate Strategy Guide

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Use Plann to keep a finger on the pulse of your Instagram strategy. Sign up for Plann today. It’s free.


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