Instagram now has a billion monthly active users, while Instagram Stories usage continues to climb, currently sitting at 300 million daily actives. But what’s the difference, from a user standpoint, between how they view Stories versus their regular Instagram feed?
That’s what Facebook sought to find out with its latest research report – Facebook surveyed almost 10,000 people who use Instagram at least once a week from Brazil, Indonesia, the UK and the US in order to get a better understanding of the differences in perception around both options, and what that means for marketers looking to maximize their Instagram performance.
And their insights provide some good food for thought – here’s what they found.
Facebook’s top line finding is that people use Stories for more immediate, off-the-cuff content, while the feed is more focused on specific information.
“For instance, they're more likely to say they visit stories to see live, unfiltered content -think behind-the-scenes clips from Fashion Month or Boomerangs of athletes getting ready for a big game. On the other hand, they’re more likely to say they go to feed for a broader range of reasons, the most common of which are to find information and discover products and brands.”
That’s a key benefit of Stories – the temporary nature of the form reduces some of the performance and presentation anxiety that can come with the regular feed, which can make it a great stepping stone for brands and individuals looking to move into video content.
But there’s also more to it than that.
“When we asked people to opt for either Instagram Stories or Instagram Feed for a range of objectives, we found that, on average across the four countries, people more often turn to stories than feed in just two situations. The first is when they want to see what friends are doing at the moment, which indicates that stories function as a way to bring people closer together in real time. The second is when they want to see unfiltered, authentic content - which could mean everyday moments or even “non-moments.”
This further underlines the point, that people are looking for more light-hearted, in-the-moment content in Stories, while it also presents a way for brands to create comedic, relatable content.
This is a key element of Stories, the capacity to connect with your audiences in new ways, to show the humanity of your business and build community through that. It doesn’t have to be perfect – in fact, its likely better when it’s not. The clear emphasis in these stats is on immediate, humorous material – while more informative, product-driven content should go in the feed. The balance between these two elements is fairly clear.
Facebook has included a range of other findings in its full report, including regional variations and more detail on the focus on products in feeds. But as noted, the main findings is that people are looking to Stories for real-time, engaging, active content, while the feed remains a platform for more in-depth discovery and information.
If you’re looking to improve your Instagram performance, the full report is definitely worth a look.