Instagram explained: IGTV vs IG Stories vs IG Reels

If it seems like there is a new feature to learn every time you open up your Instagram app, then you’re not alone. 

Earlier this year, Instagram launched its new Instagram Reels feature, a new content format that enables Instagram users to create and share short-form video content to followers in a new dedicated space in the app.

Instagram Reels is not the first new format that the Facebook-owned social network has introduced. Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, and Instagram TV (IGTV) are all features that allow users to create content in different formats with different lengths and special effects.

Let’s explore the differences and similarities between Instagram’s different content formats. 

Instagram Feed

The Instagram Feed is a place where you can share and connect with the people who you follow and the people who follow you. Instagram is algorithm-based, which means it uses a proprietary formula to determine what content will appear toward the top of your feed. 

As Instagram has grown, it continues to expand with new opportunities, including Instagram Stories and Highlights, IGTV and Instagram Reels.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is a secondary feed designed for more casual content sharing. More than 500 million Instagram users post and watch stories each day. On Stories, you can share multiple photos and videos for other users to watch in a slideshow format. 

To view someone else’s stories, all you have to do is tap their profile image. Oce you are viewing someone’s story, you can tap the screen to go backward or forward, or swipe to jump to someone else’s story. 

You can engage with stories by responding to the poster privately, but there are no public comments or likes for stories. Users can elicit engagement in Instagram stories by using Instagram Stories stickers (location, hashtags, user tags, polls, questions, quizzes, countdowns, emoji sliders and more). 

Instagram Highlights

Stories live on your profile on top of your feed for 24 hours, after which they vanish and are only available to you in your archive. 

To save your stories longer,  you can create Instagram Highlights and save stories to your profile for as long as you like. 

To create a highlight, simply tap the “new” circle under your profile photo. Choose any stories from your archive, select a cover image for your highlight from your phone and then give the highlight a name. To edit or remove a highlight, simply tap it and hold down until the pop up appears with both options. 

Instagram TV (IGTV) 

Separate from Instagram is IGTV, a video app that can be used alone or together with Instagram. 

Any user can create an IGTV channel and share video content that is at least one minute long, up to 15 minutes when uploading from a mobile device and up to 60 minutes when uploading from the web (which only certain verified accounts can do). 

IGTV is essentially Instagram’s answer to YouTube, and brings the “channel-surfing” vibe to Instagram on your mobile device. 

When you upload videos from your mobile device, you can upload a video cover graphic and post a preview to your Instagram feed as well.

Because IGTV videos tend to be longer, be sure to take your audience preferences into consideration when creating content. Most social media users don’t have the attention span to listen to a lengthy market update, but they will tune in for a few minutes to catch highlights, or to take a brief behind-the-scenes home tour of a fabulous new listing.

Instagram Reels

The latest and most buzzed-about Instagram feature, Reels is very similar to creating a post for Instagram Stories. You can record a series of clips from Instagram’s in-app camera, add music (certain accounts have this feature) and even certain A.R. effects. 

Reels also has more sophisticated editing capabilities than Stories does, letting you do things like speed up, slow down or add jump cuts to your videos. If IGTV is Instagram’s answer to YouTube, Reels is its answer to TikTok

On Reels, you can post videos up to 15 seconds and they have broader exposure on Instagram’s “Explore” tab, making Reels a great way to tease new content or longer-form updates that you’ve posted using some of the other Instagram features. 

Are you ready to conquer the gram? Head to Facebook or Instagram and tell us in the comments what social media marketing topics you’d like us to cover next!

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