Stories have become an integral part of the social media landscape. As an additional channel on Instagram they are the perfect tool to provide the target group with up-to-date content. Above all, the possibility of placing links and interactive elements in the stories means that more and more companies are experimenting with the not-so-new format. Hopes are high, but what can you really expect from Stories?
Fanpage Karma has analyzed 2.5 million stories from February 2019 and presents the results in this study. The aim was to determine the average values for the most important key figures and thus to give social media managers a guideline for their own performance. For better comparison, all 500,000 profiles studied were divided into five size categories for analysis:
- Tiny – up to 1,000 followers
- Small – 1,000 to 10,000 followers
- Medium – 10,000 to 100,000 followers
- Large – 100,000 to 500,000 followers
- Huge – more than 500,000 followers
Stories are a unique format with its own rules. They are consumed differently by users than conventional posts. This is reflected in the key findings.
- Profiles with many followers use stories much more frequently than smaller profiles. The former post an average of 3 stories per day.
- Large profiles prefer videos in stories, smaller profiles rather post pictures
- Smaller profiles reach a higher proportion of their fans than larger profiles with stories
- People reach up to 50% more followers than brands
- Replies of followers to a story are not expected. Especially on large profiles, only a fraction of the followers respond to stories
- Forward tabbing is the default behavior of the user when looking at the stories: 80% of the stories are clicked away
- Videos are 10% less clicked away than pictures
Stories are no longer new. But the established profiles with many followers seem to take more advantage of this format more than smaller profiles. Smaller profiles post stories less than once a day while profiles with more than 500,000 followers publish more than three stories per day on average.
Even regarding the type of the stories, small and large profiles seem to have a different approach . While the smaller profiles tend to post photos in stories, nearly two-thirds of stories in large profiles are videos. That this can be an advantage will be shown later.
The number of stories that follow each other within 24 hours has no significant impact on the average reach of each story. So it does not hurt to post more than one story per day. The range is influenced by other factors.
Reach and impressions
In general, Instagram is considered the industry leader in terms of reach. Posts can reach up to 60% of followers. There is a separate study on postal coverage here.
Stories do not quite reach the values of posts. With 5% for large to 20% for small profiels, the values are still satisfactory. That is because stories can be used much more often compared to posts. A profile that publishes multiple posts a day is quickly perceived by the followers as annoying. By contrast, stories with 3 or more frames are not uncommon. From a technical point of view, stories are an excellent supplier for additional reach. In terms of content, they are even more than that, since stories enable completely different types of communication and interaction.
Brands do have a harder time on Instagram than other profiles. For small profiles this is hardly significant. Their followers seem to be true and to consume the stories regularly. The larger a profile becomes, the bigger the differences are. Large profiles of real people achieve 50% more reach than brand profiles. One reason why influencer marketing is on everyone’s lips. But as on Facebook, both have no chance against pure fun profiles. Funny memes also get the most reach on Instagram.
The profiles struggling gthe most are society profiles, ie profiles with a political or non-profit agenda. Maybe Instagram is simply not the best place for these messages? While Facebook and Twitter are increasingly turning into a battleground for political views, the top hashtags on Instagram speak a different language: Instagram is about fashion, food and fitness – not Donald Trump. More on top topics on Instagram here.
What you can not expect from Stories is followers respond to a story. Not even every 1,000th follower answers to the story of a small profile. For large profiles, it is just 0.01%. That is understandable from the point of view of the follower: he can hardly expect a personal answer.
Instagram has lately introduced many interaction options (polls, sliders, etc …) for stories. Unfortunately, there is yet no data available for these in the Instagram Insights.
Forward, Back and Exit
Stories are shown one after the other. Images are displayed for 5 seconds, videos for 15 seconds. All new stories of a profile are grouped one after the other. The user has the option of tabbing to the right side of the screen to jump to the next story (Forward), to go back to the previous Story by tapping on the left side of the screen (Back) or by swiping from right to left all stories of the profile to skip and the Display stories of the next profile (Exit).
5 seconds do not seem long at first glance. For Instagram users, they are. 80% of all stories are forwarded. The famous zapping thumb from the days of linear television experiences its second spring in Instagram stories. Forward is normal, not punishment. A story that is not tabbed is a peculiarity. In the age of Instagram, the challenge is to create content that can keep followers captive for more than 4 seconds.
This works a bit better for videos than for pictures. Although videos run 10 seconds longer than images, they are 10% less forwarded. The reason is obvious: If the video is reasonably exciting, the follower wants to see the end of the video. Three-quarters of the videos are probably not interesting enough, because they are forwarded anyways.
Back is the function to return to the previous story. This measure is not appropriate for rating a single story. It does not say anything about the story itself, but rather about the previous story. Because the previous story is the reason to click back not the current one. If you look at a single story, you can safely ignore looking at the amount of Back-tabs.
Fortunately, this is also the case with the exits. The users seem to be so much in the flow with forward tabbing that an exit occurs less often than feared. On average, 5% of the stories get swiped away completely. To what extent this will affect the optimal length of stories will be explored in the next study.
Use stories more often
Follow the example of big profiles. They post an average of 3 stories a day. That’s not annoying and does not reduce reach.
Use more videos
Despite their length, videos are less often tabbed away. If you have a choice and the possibilities, when creating a story you should opt for a video.
Don’t be irritated by less reach, few replies and many Forwards
Less reach compared to posts should not deter you. It is still very good compared to many other channels. And above all, its additional. Even if users do not answer very often or keep forwarding, there is no reason to be demotivated. It is the peculiarity of this channel. Whoever uses Instagram without stories gives away countless impressions.