How Instagram Stories Work? Quick Guide (2024)

How Instagram Stories Work

Instagram Stories allow users to share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Launched in 2016, Stories aimed to replicate the success of Snapchat Stories by adding a layer of spontaneous sharing on top of the traditional Instagram photo feed. Rather than focus on curating a perfect image, Stories are meant for “in-the-moment” content like glimpses into your day.

Key Features of Instagram Stories

Some key features that differentiate Instagram Stories from traditional Instagram posts include:

  • Stories disappear after 24 hours to keep content fresh
  • Stories are displayed vertically and full screen for a more immersive viewing experience
  • Users can react to stories with direct messages without engaging publicly on someone’s profile
  • Instagram offers creative tools like drawing, stickers, filters and polls for interactivity in stories

Differences between Instagram Stories and Instagram Posts

While Stories and posts are both hosted on Instagram, there are important differences in how the content is created and shared:

  • Posts live permanently on your profile feed while Stories disappear after 24 hours
  • Posts support longer captions and have performance metrics like likes and comments
  • Stories emphasize visuals, sounds, animations, and interactivity over detailed sharing
  • Stories do not generate likes, or comments or save to your permanent Instagram profile
How Instagram Stories Work?

How to View Instagram Stories

There are a couple of different ways to view Instagram Stories based on whether you’re looking at your own or others.

Viewing Your Own Instagram Stories

To view your Instagram Stories, open the Instagram app and tap your profile picture in the top left. Then swipe left on your profile photo to cycle through any stories you’ve posted in the last 24 hours.

Viewing Other People’s Instagram Stories

Stories posted by the accounts you follow will be displayed directly above your DM inbox or above your profile story when browsing Instagram. Tap on a circle profile photo on the top bar to view someone’s stories. You can also tap on your friends’ profile photos anywhere on Instagram to view their stories.

Creating and Sharing Instagram Stories

Sharing content to your Instagram Story is simple. Here are the basic steps:

Taking a Photo or Video for Your Story

Open the Instagram camera from the top left corner and snap a photo or record a video up to 15 seconds long directly within the Instagram app. You can also upload existing photos or videos from your camera roll.

Adding Text, Stickers, Filters and More to Your Story

Once you have your media, you can customize your story further with creative tools. Add interactive stickers like location, tag friends, and take a poll. You can also draw on photos, change the color filter, and more.

Sharing Your Story with Followers

Finally, tap “Your Story” at the top to post. By default, your story will be shared with all of your followers. You can also share to “Close Friends” if you only want a smaller circle to see it. Once posted, the story immediately becomes visible to your audience for 24 hours.

Instagram Story Views and Reach

While Stories disappear, Instagram provides some insights into how popular your stories are.

How Long Stories Stay on Your Profile

Instagram stories remain visible to your followers for 24 hours from the time they are posted. After that point, stories will no longer show up when someone visits your profile.

Factors Affecting Story Views

The number of views a story gets depends on factors like how many followers you have, how engaged your audience is, when you post and whether your followers interact. Popular posting times tend to be mornings and evenings.

Leveraging Instagram Stories for Social Media Marketing Services

In addition to self-promotion, many brands and influencers are finding ways to generate revenue directly from Stories.

Instagram Story Advertisements

Advertisers can promote their brands and products using full-screen takeover ads or sticker ads placed within Instagram stories. These story ads follow similar auction-based bidding and targeting as Instagram feed ads.

Branded Content on Instagram Stories

Popular influencers on Instagram frequently create sponsored content for advertisers directly within their Instagram stories. This type of content aims to be valuable for both the influencer’s followers and the paying brand.

Instagram Story Analytics

Instagram provides limited analytics for stories to help measure their performance and reach.

View Story Insights and Analytics

Go to your profile, tap “Instagram Stories” and then “Insights” to view data on total views, most seen stories, viewer accounts and more over the last two weeks.

Measuring Story Performance

Story metrics include story views, reactions (taps, comments), saving or sharing of stories, as well engagement from specific accounts. Tracking these metrics and follower feedback can help refine future story content.


Instagram Stories have brought a new dimension of informal, fleeting sharing to Instagram. By making photos and videos more casual and ephemeral, Stories has opened up Instagram to a wider range of moments that people want to commemorate and share in real-time with their communities. Although Stories disappear after 24 hours, their impact on how brands, influencers, and individuals engage on Instagram is likely here to stay.

Share the Post:

Related Posts