Spoiler alert: As with most things, there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all answer. The optimum length for your Story is going to vary based on what your audience wants to see from you.
Fans of a celebrity might be happy to watch them max out their Story monologuing about their day, for example, while another brand might find it harder to hold its audience’s attention for that long.
So how do you find your sweet spot?
Experiment, then measure.
Even if you’re not using our analytics, you can see in your native Instagram insights how many people have viewed your Stories. Look for a common drop-off point in Stories you’ve posted. Does everyone tend to stop watching around a certain post number? If so, you know your sweet spot is just before that.
If you are using our analytics, it’ll look like this:
And you can see at a glance replies, taps forward, taps back, exits, impressions and reach. Taps back are especially important to pay attention to because they show that viewers wanted to be sure they understood a particular Story post enough to go back and replay it.
Exits are more important when you can see a pattern in them, like everyone exiting consistently after the 7th post, or when you post a specific post format.
Look for those to tell you more about what your audience wants to see from you and help you determine the best length for your Stories. That length might also change over time as you refine your Stories and your audience shifts their taste in the formats they like, or even who you have representing your brand in your Stores. That’s why it’s important to keep experimenting!
If you want to do more with your Stories but aren’t sure where to start, check out Everything you need to know about Instagram Stories features and How to create good graphics for your Stories.
For a deeper dive into the data behind Stories, see our post on just that.