Key Takeaways From A Study of 15K Instagram Stories



Buffer and Delmondo published a report summarizing key takeaways they found through analyzing 15,000 Instagram Stories from top brands all over the world. Here’s the best practices that you can learn from.


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There’s no denying that Stories nowadays lies in the heart of social media marketing. And as Instagram Stories continues to gain momentum, many brands are expecting to be investing more in the platform. So the question remaining is — how do I effectively up my game?

Look no further. We found a report jointly published by Buffer and Delmondo, in which they analyzed more than 15,000 Instagram Stories from 200 top brands around the world, summarizing key takeaways and practices for marketers to look into.

So let’s get it started.

1. The optimal posting length is one to seven Stories

The report finds that it matters how many Stories you post, and there is no such a thing as “the more, the better.”

Looking into completion rate, which is determined by the number of times Stories were watched from the first frame to the last, the report shows that completion rate continues to drop as the number of Stories increase, and after seven Stories, completion rate will drop below 70%.

Image via Buffer

So in order for viewers to have a satisfying Stories experience without being bored away, marketers need to think carefully about how to fit all information they want to deliver in a day within seven frames.

2. Post Stories off work hours

The report also finds that there are four distinct spikes of views based on hours of the day, and they have one thing in common — being off work hours — in the mornings, afternoons and evenings.

Image via Buffer

According to stats, the best times to post Stories will be 4am – 6am, 8am – 10am, 12pm – 2pm, 8pm – 10pm (Eastern Time).

Every viewer’s Instagram Stories feed is ever-refreshing. If you post during the times they are most likely to see it, your Stories will be pushed further up along the feed line, giving your content the extra boost it needs.

3. Post your best Stories first

You will hear from various social video producers that it’s extremely important to capture your viewers’ attention in the first few seconds, and that’s what data from the report shows, too.

On average, more people exit on the first and last Stories frames than any other part of the Stories, which means that if the Stories’ first frames don’t interest them, audience will exit your content in search of something more entertaining.

Image via Buffer

So, just like a good newspaper story paragraph, the best content should always be put down first.

4. Simple Stories perform better

In the report, Stories from The North Face is used as an example to demonstrate why simple Stories perform better.

image via Buffer

These Stories are consistent in that they are all static images with clear, short text overlay, and sometimes that’s what viewers want in just a few seconds they are prepared for Stories content.

According to The Guardian, simple, static graphics and quick explainer videos oftentimes outperform professionally produced video content.

Thus, the report suggests the best practices to accomplish simplicity will be:

1) Using a background image to quickly tell a story;
2) Adding short copy to convey your message;
3) Decorating with minimal graphics and logos.

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