Which do you prefer: brands that post a single Instagram Story per day or ones that share a flurry of updates? Which of those tactics actually earns a brand more reach? Is there even a “right” number of Instagram Stories to post in a day?

We’ve got our own personal preferences, of course, but opinion is no match for data. As dedicated social media scientists, we put on our lab coats and fired up Instagram to find out once and for all if the number of Stories you post per day can impact your reach.

Bonus: Download a free Instagram Stories style guide template that will help you maintain a consistent look and feel on your channel and be the single source of truth for your team.

Hypothesis: Posting more Instagram Stories per day will improve your reach

We’ve wondered about this before, but the idea for this experiment came from popular social media consultant Rachel Karten‘s (great) Link in Bio newsletter.

Karten’s theory was simple: you can ruin your reach by “only posting 1-2 IG Stories in a 24-hour span (I feel like the reach is better when you put up 5-10 story slides instead of one rogue story post).”

When you think about it, it makes sense — Instagram (and other social platforms) tends to reward power users with higher reach and engagement.

Plus, when you post Stories more often, your followers are more likely to see your profile picture at the top of their Stories feed. Your MOST active followers will see each one as you post.

The only way to know is to try, so I decided to test this hypothesis using my business Instagram account.

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I’m an avid user of Instagram Stories for my business, so posting 5-10 stories a day is no issue — I usually do this already.

Here’s what I did:

  • Week 1: Post 1-2 Instagram Stories per day
  • Week 2: Post 5-10 Instagram Stories per day

On days when I was only posting a couple of stories, I spaced them out throughout the day. On days when I was posting several stories, I posted 2-3 times per day and put up a few back-to-back stories each time. To make sure I gathered enough data, my experiment spanned two weeks.

Armed with my hypothesis, I began my experiment.


At the end of the experiment, I went back to Instagram’s native analytics to review the reach, engagement, and impressions of each story.

Here were my results — remember, Week 1 is 1-2 Stories/day and Week 2 is 5-10 Stories/day:

# of Stories Posted Total Reach Total Engagement Total Impressions Avg Reach* Avg Engagement** Avg Impressions
Week 1 15 1,966 37 1,985 131.1 2.47% 132.3
Week 2 55 5,678 94 5,732 103.2 1.71% 104.2

*To calculate these averages, I took the total number of reach/engagement/impressions and divided it by the number of Stories posted that week (ex. 1,985 impressions/15 Stories = an average of 132.3 impressions per Story).

**Average engagement is represented as a percentage. Most social media marketing experts agree that a good engagement rate is between 1% to 5%.

As a bonus experiment, I checked my numbers to see what type of Story post had the best reach and engagement. Here’s what I found:

Week 1: 1-2 Instagram Stories/Day

Type of Post Average Reach Average Engagement
Carousel/Reel repost 93.8 2%
Call to Action – Vote on poll or interact with a sticker 139 1%
Static photo post 169.4 4.2%

In Week 1, static posts easily outperformed reposted carousels, Reels, or any interactive posts.

Week 2: 5-10 Instagram Stories/Day

Type of Post Average Reach Average Engagement
Carousel/Reel repost 96.7 0.83%
Call to Action – Vote on poll or interact with a sticker 110.1 1.75%
Static photo post 110.8 3.1%

In Week 2, the results were the same, with static photos still outperforming other content types.

In short, Stories that featured static photos performed better regardless of how many Stories I posted overall.

Static story Instagram with two people posing for a photo wearing costumes

Here’s a static photo Story that performed really well.

What do the results mean?

After conducting this experiment, it seems that my average reach, engagement, and impressions were all better when I stuck to posting 1-2 Stories per day. This was interesting and not at all what I expected, since it contradicts Karten’s original hypothesis!

I turned to the Hootsuite Social Media Trends 2024 Report to see what may have caused this dip in viewership.

“Too focused on self-promotion” tops the list, and I think that may have been my issue throughout this experiment. I kicked into advertising mode and my followers probably found my Stories too self-promotional.

audiences give too much self promotion a thumbs down graph with results from Hootsuite survey responses

Authenticity played a role in this, too. I try to infuse humor into my brand voice, so funny posts got a good response, like this one:

humorous brand voice listing item on a Wednesday resulting in high performing authentic content

Meanwhile, people were less interested in straightforward sales-focused content like this:

brass on the grid happy shopping lower performing less authentic Instagram Story

After wrapping up this experiment, I think a modified version of the original hypothesis is correct:

Posting more Instagram Stories per day will improve your reach, as long as you post the right type of Stories. Read on for some takeaways to help you nail your brand’s Instagram Story strategy.

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Be consistent

When developing your social media strategy for Instagram Stories, focus on consistency. In our Social Trends Consumer Survey, 14% of respondents said that infrequent posting negatively impacts how they view brands.

In the end, it’s not really about how many Stories you post — it’s about consistently connecting with your audience on that platform.

Share exclusive content

Drive followers to your Stories by creating content they can’t get anywhere else.

This might mean weekly AMA (ask me anything) sessions, behind-the-scenes videos, sneak peek at upcoming releases, or another unique form of Story content that makes sense for your viewers.

Need some inspiration? Check out this post on 19 Engagement Post Ideas That Will Blow Up Your Analytics

Give your audience what they want

Schedule a regular check-in to review the metrics on your Instagram Stories and tap into your findings.

Identify what performs well, then focus on that. Maybe your viewers love responding to polls or question stickers: if that’s the case, design a “question-a-day” Story to keep them coming back.

Keep it real

According to Hootsuite’s Social Media Trends Report, 56% of consumers think that brands should be more relatable on social media.

Use Instagram Stories to build connections with your audience rather than talking at them about your brand. Stories can facilitate meaningful interactions with your followers, and this will help you forge deeper long-term connections.

Save time managing Instagram for business using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can create, schedule and publish posts directly to Instagram, engage your audience, measure performance and run all your other social media profiles. Try it free today.

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The post Experiment: How Many Instagram Stories Should You Post? appeared first on Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard.