Choosing Between Instagram Placements - What Works Best?

Which Instagram feature is most successful for a brand campaign? 

There are multiple ways to publish content on Instagram. There is the traditional in-feed post, the ever-popular Story option, or even the new Reels feature.  Choosing the right placement can be the difference between a successful campaign and one that under-delivers, so there’s a lot to be considered in the strategy phase of a new program. 

According to digital intelligence provider Similarweb, Instagram is currently the 5th most visited website in the world. It was also the most downloaded app in Q4 of 2021. With the social media site having as much traffic as it does, it is no surprise businesses are reaching a wider audience using the platform.  That said, between in-feed posts, Stories and Reels, which placement produces the best overall results for different campaign types? 

GIFSAs of March 2020, the most popular activity on Instagram was watching Stories, with 42% of users stating that it’s one of their favorite things to do on the platform.  From that, one may infer that Stories would out-perform other placements purely based off user interest.  We looked at reports to find out. 

Utilizing data collected from’s Traail™ sales tracking tool, we can break down the differences in
results between platform and post type. Our data shows that of influencers who posted both in-feed posts and Stories for the same campaign, more clicks and product sales came from their in-feed posts. 

Furthermore, comparing users who only posted a Story to ones with only an in-feed post, the data also shows a far greater number of clicks and product sales numbers from the in-feed posts.  On average, in-feed posts had a 23.6% higher click rate than Stories.

Those results were surprising because Stories have such a seamless click-thru experience, while Reels have to go through the bio link. It has long been thought that Stories would drive more clicks and sales.

The Reels feature is Instagram’s response to TikTok and their quick video content with 87% of Gen Z users seeing the two platforms as “basically the same thing.” Due to Reels being a newer product, we can look at results from TikTok to infer the powerful capabilities of this comparable placement when it comes to conversion results.  The format has seen tremendous popularity over the past year and a half since its debut, with no signs of slowing. 

In Summary When Looking At These placements:

  • Stories: Drive the most awareness and brand messaging, making them best for relaying visual key points and information
  • Reels and In-feed Posts: Drive the most traffic and sales, best for programs with a lower-funnel focus.
Considering other factors, it’s important to keep in mind that videos keep more consumer eyeballs than photos. The tap-forward rate for video story posts is 0.80% lower than photo story posts, meaning users are slightly more engaged with videos.

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Instagram is absolutely a force to be reckoned with in the eCommerce space.  It all depends on what you’re looking to get out of your program when looking at placements to choose, but A/B testing to see what works best is always a fantastic, reliable option.