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Instagram Stories vs Feed Ads: How Marketers Can Deliver What Consumers Want

Instagram has made itself known as a serious platform in the world of marketing and is only getting bigger. But, where is the best place to advertise on Instagram? And how do you target consumers successfully both via your Feed and Instagram Stories?

Over 50% of Instagrammers around the globe use stories and feed on a daily basis, so these are important issues to tackle on your Instagram for Business account.

Luckily for us, new research has recently been published via Facebook HQ revealing how different consumers use their Feed and Stories for different purposes on Instagram. Data was collated from almost 10,000 daily Instagram users across Brazil, Indonesia, the UK and the US, between the ages of 13 and 55. This blog will explain how the results can help your business to market more efficiently to consumers on Instagram and the type of content you should be posting to each of these placements to see the best results.

First off, let's cover the basics.

What are Stories and Feeds, and what are their differences?

There are many differences between stories and feeds, however users did agree that both placements were visually beautiful. We’ve highlighted the main differences in terms of aesthetics below.


What content people expect to see on their Feed and Stories

Facebook’s research has shown that people do expect to see different content in their Feed and Stories and that this does change slightly depending on where in the world you are.

Around 70% of people expected to see the following on their Feed:

  • Find information
  • Discover a product
  • Discover a brand

People expected to see the following on Stories:

  • See what friends are doing right now
  • See unfiltered and authentic content
  • See playful / funny content (in the US, UK and Brazil)

Whilst at first glance this could appear to show that businesses are more likely to see results by focusing their efforts only on the Instagram Feed, this is not the case. 

People in Brazil, the US and UK placed a higher value on product or brand-related content that could be found in stories. This provides marketers with an extremely valuable piece of information: brand and product discovery is more likely to take place in the Feed, whilst people prefer to keep up-to-date with brands and products via Stories. 

For example, Stories can be used to view product launches, events, behind-the-scenes or tutorials. Check out this example from Pizza Hut.

Based on these findings, a marketer might use feed to introduce people to or share updates on a brand or product, and stories to engage them more deeply through real-time, authentic content. 

What this means is that though Stories are becoming more popular, they should be used to compliment your Feed and not to replace it. Marketers can achieve the best results by posting to both placements. 

The next section of the blog will tell you how you can use this information to deliver what customers want.

Instagram Feed

As mentioned, the Instagram Feed is how people discover your brand. Feed content is permanently pinned to your profile until you delete it, so it’s crucial you post high-quality content to your Feed that makes a great first impression. Your Instagram Feed is the first stage of your advertising and main method of follower acquisition. A few things to remember are:

  1. Make your content easy to find using appropriate hashtags and keywords. Hashtags are more useful than ever now with Instagram’s new ‘Follow Hashtags’ and ‘Recommended Posts’ features.
  2. Make it easy for people to search for you by having keywords relevant to your business in your bio. These words are picked up by the Instagram search bar making it easy for consumers to find you.
  3. Have some sort of theme to the pictures you post to your Feed. This means that your profile will look consistent and amazing - something that will keep people on it for longer and make them more likely to follow you.
  4. Put effort into all of your posts as they can appear in multiple places on Facebook - a top quality post with the right caption and hashtags can stay on various places around Instagram for days. You also need to make sure that every post accurately reflects your brand.

For more information on using your Instagram feed check out this article.

Instagram Stories

Once people have seen your Feed and decided to follow you, you can keep them engaged through posting Stories. This enables people to stay up-to-date and feel closer to your business with minimal effort or time. 

Stories are completely different from your Feed as people don’t tend to search for stories by hashtag and location. Rather than acquiring followers, Stories tend to retain them and help to increase your customer lifetime journey. A few things to remember:

  1. Stories should be made fun and current - they are designed to offer real-time insights that keep people engaged with your brand
  2. They don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to stay true to your brand and style - stories that are not relevant to your brand will be confusing and distracting

Some examples of how you can post to your Story:

  • Discounts
  • Sneak previews e.g. of a clothing line
  • Behind the scenes
  • Discounts or sales
  • Polls on customer preferences

For more information on how to create a successful Instagram Story check out this article.


Though Instagram Stories are becoming increasingly popular this does not take away from the desire of consumers to see quality content on their Feeds. 

Content for Stories and Feeds should be different, complementing one another. Feed content should be of high quality, captioned correctly with relevant hashtags and encapsulate your brand. 

It should be easy for people to find and be used to help people to discover your brand and encourage them to follow your page. 

Content posted to your Stories doesn’t need to be as perfect. In fact, the main rule is that it has to be an accurate reflection of your branding. Stories should be used to keep customers up-to-date and interested in your brand after they have decided to follow you. This can be through, polls, behind the scenes, takeovers and many more fun ways.

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