August 25, 2016 Last updated on November 24th, 2017
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So as you’ve probably noticed, Stories are here and yes, they look a lot like Snapchat stories.

All of us over here at Iconosquare really love the concept of getting to see ephemeral, ‘daily life’ photos in the same place as (but separate from) the high quality, sight-for-sore-eyes stuff that is the average Instagram account.

HOWEVER, we did wonder whether the arrival of Stories would hurt engagement on the platform – which is currently 58 times higher than engagement on its parent network, Facebook. Instagram has grown from the ground up in the past few years, and always has been based on a clear value: beautiful photography. So, the adding-in of a completely different feature, based on a totally different value is great. But do the two really go together?

We thought it important to find out what effects Stories are having on Instagram.

When we put to our users and Instagram followers the question “Since the arrival of Stories, what do you spend most of your time on Instagram doing?” we got a total of 1,272 responses. The results were interesting.

988 respondents answered “Browsing feeds” and 284 respondents answered “Watching Stories”.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.04.20

Hang on a minute. This means that in only 3 weeks, almost one quarter of the Instagram users we surveyed have seemingly ditched their usual Instagram activity in favour of watching Stories.

That’s pretty huge even for Instagram.

What impact on engagement?

Next, we wanted to back this information up with numbers. We wanted to know what impact this apparent change in behaviour has had on the engagement on traditional posts.

Over a period of 7 weeks (4 weeks before the launch of Stories and 3 weeks following), we inspected the evolution in engagement of 30 top brands from our brands index who use Stories, in comparaison to the evolution in engagement of another 30 top brands who use the feature rarely or not at all.

This is what we found:

Looking at the graph above, it’s clear to see that starting at the beginning of August (Stories was launched on August 2) there is a drop in engagement for brands using Stories, but also for those not using Stories.

The drop in engagement since the arrival of Stories isn’t huge, but remains significant.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 10.14.43

We have noted a global decrease in engagement over 3 weeks, dropping from 1.11% to 0.94% – which is a decrease of around 15%. We imagine the level of engagement on traditional posts will continue to fall as more and more users switch their attention over to Stories.

What does this decrease in engagement mean for businesses on Instagram?

This is a difficult question to answer simply because we have no real perspective on the matter at this time. During our study, we also checked up on how many traditional pics were being posted to Instagram, and on average, that figure doesn’t seem to have changed massively – which means that the segment of brands we studied have not modified their existing Instagram posting strategy, even if some have now begun posting Stories as well.

We will continue to monitor engagement on similar sections of our brands index and keep you updated on this issue!


Tell us! Do you use Stories for your business account on Instagram? Have you felt a drop in engagement in the past few weeks?


Don’t hesitate to leave us your views on this information in the comments below.

About the author
Emily Marsh

Emily Marsh

Emily is an Inbound Marketer for Iconosquare, based in the Limoges office. She loves all things social and revels in keeping on top of the social media marketing game by writing for the blog. She’s also a bit obsessed with sushi and Netflix.

More posts by Emily Marsh

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