Instagram Reels vs Story: what are the differences

Instagram’s journey has been predictable. The company started out as a photo sharing service and quickly embraced the latest trends from the main app. First, it took care of downloading videos, then Instagram direct message arrived. Later, Instagram took a page from the Snapchat book and implemented Instagram Stories. Now the Facebook-owned company is getting on the TikTok train with Instagram Reels – a 15-second video feature with music, live filters, and all the fun stuff. Sometimes it becomes confusing for users to choose between Instagram Story and Reels.

Coils vs history

Instagram story and reels are integrated in the same interface. You can swipe right from the main interface and open the viewfinder menu with the Story, Live and Reels option.

At first glance, Story and Reels may seem the same, but they both serve different purposes for users. In this article, we will talk about the main differences between Instagram Reels and Story. Let’s start.

Where is the story and the Instagram reels

Instagram Reels and Story are in the same interface. You can slide your finger to the right or tap on the story option in the upper left corner to open the camera interface on Instagram.

Instagram reels

Instagram reels

By default, Instagram opens the Story interface and urges users to opt for Instagram Story. Swipe left to open Instagram Live and swipe right to access Instagram Reels.

Fundamental differences

Instagram describes stories as something that lets you “share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.” The feature lets you share multiple photos and videos, and they appear together in a slideshow format, meaning a reel, like Snapchat. And, of course, those photos and videos will be gone after 24 hours.

Instagram reel tips

Instagram reel tips

Instagram Reels is a content format that lets you create and share 15-second videos with other people in a new dedicated feed on the Explore page. Much like TikTok, Instagram Reels gives you a set of creative tools for making short, fun and engaging Instagram videos. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip Reels videos with audio, text, special effects and stickers, then share them with your followers.

In many ways, Instagram Story videos overlap with Instagram Reels. The company added several functions to erase the differences between the two.

Tools for creating content

Since the Instagram Stories feature has been around for a while, you’ll find better feature-rich options for crafting a perfect story. Instagram Reels is a relatively new kid in the neighborhood. While the company has added the features most relevant to Reels, content creation is far from accessible.

Below are the main tools for composing a beautiful Instagram story.

Text: You can add text to your Instagram story with a bunch of gradient backgrounds.

Boomerang: With Boomerang, you can create captivating, looping mini-videos and then share them with your friends.

Disposition: As the name suggests, Instagram layout allows you to put up to 6 photos in a single story. You can choose from a large number of frame sizes and shapes.

Story layout

Story layout

Superzoom: Superzoom allows you to zoom in on content using various effects such as Heart, Fire, Drama, Beat, etc. It is popular among the younger generation.

Story effect

Story effect

Hands free: The new hands-free function allows you to record video with just one click.

On top of that, you can always add a bunch of effects, stickers, draw doodles, and even add text with fancy fonts, location, and time to the story.

Story scribble

Story scribble

Instagram nailed the Story experience. On top of that, you won’t have a hard time finding the tool you are looking for. Everything is well organized to keep it as simple as for the end user.

The reels are more attractive, lively and fun with the music and the playing speed. Unlike Story, Reels are all about using the perfect music with the corresponding video, and creating relevant Reels with effects and stickers. Take a look at all the features of Reels and you will see how it is more geared towards different creators.

The music: Music is at the heart of creating an attention-grabbing Reel. Instagram has tons of ready-made music videos.

Music on reels

Music on reels

Adjust recording speed: Lots of users will love it. You can slow down the video by 5x or speed up the reel by 3x. It’s different from Story Boomerang.

Effects: Effects are at the heart of the Instagram experience. Depending on the mood, you can add a silly face, party lights, green screen, and choose from dozens of other effects for the perfect Instagram Reels.

Add a timer

Add a timer

Video length: Instagram Reels allows us to create up to 15 seconds of video. But there is no need to stretch the video to 15 seconds each time. You can also create a 5 or 10 second video.

Add a timer: This is something that is missing from the Instagram story. You can set a three second timer to capture the right times at the right time.

Align the captured video: If the captured video is shaky or blurry, you can use the Align option to straighten things out.

Coils line up

Coils line up

Looking at the feature list, you can see that Instagram Story tools are more geared towards enhancing the final image. The features of Instagram Reels aim to create an enjoyable and engaging video.

Also on Guiding Tech

Sharing experience

There is a noticeable difference when it comes to sharing an Instagram story and a reel. With Story, you can share it with your followers via direct message or post it to your profile. However, the Instagram story will not be added to your feed. And it will disappear after 24 hours.

Share reels

Share reels

You can share Instagram reels anywhere. Instagram lets you share Reels as a story, use Direct Message to send it to your followers, and even post it to your feed. You will also find a dedicated Reels tab in the Explore menu.

In short, Instagram Reels has a better chance of reaching a larger audience than the story.

Story or reels: your choice

It all depends on the type of content you create for subscribers. Stories are a more personal way to share memories with friends and family. The reels extend the experience with music, reading and other options. Marketers, publishers, and influencers will love it. And you? What feature do you use the most to share those precious moments on Instagram? Share your opinions in the comments section below.


Looking to master Instagram history? Read the article below for the top fifteen tips and tricks.

Last updated on August 30, 2020

The above article may contain affiliate links that help support Guiding Tech. However, this does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains impartial and authentic.

(function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=”″;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,’script’,’facebook-jssdk’)); .

Leave a Reply