As video explodes in popularity for viewer consumption, social networking platform Instagram has made the format more accessible to those with smaller budgets, and even with no budgets whatsoever.

Launched back in August 2016, Instagram Stories are now one of the easiest and best ways to connect with your readers.

Boston, MA-based video marketing platform Wave.Video  has partnered with Socialinsider to analyze 661,565 Stories and 64,571 Story Ads.

It wanted to see what brings results to businesses on Instagram, which formats work better, and to see how audience behaviour has been changing from April 2019 to September 2020.

Instagram Stories are pieces of content posted from a given account within the past 24 hours. One in three of the most viewed stories come from businesses.

The study showed that brands need to publish five stories per day to keep their customers engaged. These customers might drop off the video for the first couple of stories, but after the fourth or fifth story, will stay until the end.

Larger brands have the resources to post more frequently. Brands with over 100,000 followers post on average 14 – 15 stories per month, and brands with 50k to 100k followers post around 10-11 stories per month.

Brands with 10k to 50k followers post 7-8 stories per month, and brands with fewer than 5,000 followers post on average 3 stories per month

Brands with more followers manage to retain their viewers. If a brand has fewer than 10,000 followers then they struggle to retain viewers and suffer a 6.37% exit rate from their stories.

However, brand profiles with under 5,000 followers have the highest reach rates with a 9.54% average reach rate. Large profiles with over 100,000 followers only reach an average of 3.92% of their audience.

Types of Instagram stories are important too. Just over half of the stories are video (52%) and 48% are image stories. Larger brands with over 100,000 followers are especially fond of video, as it amounts to 55% of their story content.

Images have a higher tap-forward rate, regardless of the number of stories that brands publish. This could be interpreted as videos being more engaging, as they have the power to keep viewers watching for longer.

Video format seems to be successful at engagement, driving higher reply rate than images regardless of the size of a brand’s Instagram handle.

interestingly the smaller the brand is, the more engaged the audience is. Most of their followers seem to be genuinely interested and engaged in the content.

So if you want your brand to succeed on Instagram, you will need to publish at least five stories a day to reach around 40% of your audience and retain 70% of the users.

That will certainly keep your marketers busy.