Instagram Stories

An incredible 400 million people around the world use Instagram Stories on a daily basis (with that number rapidly growing by the minute).

Besides being an interesting and fun way to connect with friends and family, stories offer businesses a unique opportunity to capture the direct attention of audiences and potential customers.

Instagram Stories Research - Stories Growth

But where do you start? And what makes for great stories content? We partnered with Delmondo to answer these questions, and more!

Together we analyzed more than 15,000 Instagram Stories from 200 of the world’s top brands in one of the largest Instagram Stories research studies to date.

Today, we’re excited to share this brand new research with you (spoiler alert: Instagram Stories content is incredibly engaging) as well as proven best-practices on how your business can create content for Instagram Stories that both engages, and converts.

Let’s dive in!

Table of contents

Key findings from analyzing 15,000 Instagram Stories

Delmondo is a Facebook and Instagram Media Solutions Partner and was the first to launch Instagram Stories analytics in the summer of 2017. In doing so, they now have access to some of the most robust Instagram Stories data on the planet, which powers a ton of incredible research studies like this one where they shared findings from more than 5,000 Instagram Stories.

Earlier this month, we approached their team with one (not-so-simple) question:

How are Instagram Stories performing for brands and businesses heading into 2019?

Here’s what we learned…

1. One to seven stories is the optimal posting length

It’s long been debated whether or not posting more leads to better results on social media. Many brands report a positive increase in results when they post more, while others experience the opposite.

Which is exactly why we wanted to know what top brands are experiencing when it comes to optimal posting length. I.e., how many individual stories produce the highest completion rate.

Completion rate is determined by calculating the number of times your stories were watched from the first story frame all the way to the last story frame within the given 24-hour time period.

What we found is that one to seven stories is the optimal posting length:

Optimal Instagram Stories Length

After seven stories, completion rate drops to below 70 percent.

However, it’s important to note here that this is more of a guide than a hard limit on the best time to post to Instagram Stories. It’s crucial to experiment with various story lengths and use your own data to determine what works for you.

Even if your brand or business posts a longer story length, say 12 to 20 story frames, the results are still phenomenal. There is very little difference in completion rate between 12 and 20 frames as there is between one and seven.

Perhaps more incredibly, top accounts that post 20 or more stories still see a 55 percent or greater completion rate, proving just how engaging stories content can be at any length.

2. The best time to post to Instagram Stories is outside of work hours

One of the most interesting takeaways from our research with Delmondo is around the best time(s) to post to stories. Given the ephemeral nature of stories, brands that work hard to create great Stories content will want to maximize the reach of that content.

And while there are hundreds of different factors that go into the Instagram Stories algorithm, post timing arguably still plays a key role in the success of your content.

We found that there are four distinct spikes in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. In other words, outside of normal U.S. working hours (all times are Eastern):

Best Times to Post Instagram Stories - Instagram Stories Research

Based on the data above, the best times to post to Instagram Stories are:

  • 4am – 6am Eastern Time
  • 8am – 10am Eastern Time
  • 12pm – 2pm Eastern Time
  • 8pm – 10pm Eastern Time

One hypothesis for this finding is that people have more time to watch Instagram Stories before work, during their lunch break, and in the evenings after work. Posting during these prime hours will give your stories the extra boost they need.

3. More content leads to greater median reach and impressions

Another reason that Instagram Stories are such a powerful channel for brands and businesses is that the threshold for content consumption appears to be higher.

There is only so much space in the news feed. The more content that people and brands post, the less space there is for everyone else. Because stories disappear after 24 hours, that makes more room, so to speak, for fresh new content to be shown.

The data from our research shows that the more stories top Instagram accounts post, the more median reach and impressions they get. We can definitively say that stories posting length has a positive correlation with reach and impressions metrics.

Correlation between stories length and median reach:

Instagram Stories Average Median...