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How Many People Use Instagram Stories in 2023? – A Deep Dive

Instagram Stories have cemented themselves as a cultural phenomenon and pillar of the app. But just how widely adopted are these ephemeral 24-hour videos and photos? Let‘s dive into the latest data and trends to understand how Stories are transforming Instagram in 2023 and beyond.

500 Million People Post Instagram Stories Every Single Day

The numbers speak for themselves – Instagram Stories are ubiquitous. As noted by Instagram‘s parent company Meta, over 500 million Instagrammers are posting to Stories every day. For perspective, that‘s nearly one-third of Instagram‘s total 2 billion monthly active users sharing daily Stories.

To visualize the massive growth, back in 2020, "only" 300 million people were creating Stories. The feature has skyrocketed in popularity, with daily active users up 66% in under 3 years.

In fact, Meta revealed that across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, a staggering 4.5 billion Stories are created daily. Instagram is certainly carrying its weight with 500 million contributions per day.

Daily Active Instagram Stories Users | Source: Meta 2022 Data

And these numbers are expected to continue rising. According to forecasts by eMarketer, by the end of 2023 over 650 million Instagram users will be posting to Stories every day. The feature has hit a tipping point and become a daily habit for the app‘s core demographics.

Stories Resonate Most with Younger Generations

Given Instagram‘s popularity among teens, it‘s no surprise that Stories have been wholeheartedly embraced by Gen Z. According to multiple surveys by Sprout Social, around 70% of Instagram Story watchers are from Gen Z.

Millennials are nearly as enthused, making up around 60% of the Instagram Stories audience. When it comes to posting, Millennials are evenly split between watching and creating Stories, at 60% for each.

But Gen Z trails slightly when it comes to creating Stories themselves – only 31-34% are active posters. Even so, the appeal for watching is undeniable among young users.

Generation   % Who Watch   % Who Post 
Gen Z            70%          31-34%
Millennials      60%            60%  

Instagram Stories Usage by Age Group | Source: Sprout Social

This data reiterates how integral Stories have become to Instagram‘s value for younger generations. For teens and young adults, Instagram is Stories. The casual, authentic content provides entertainment and connects them to their friends‘ lives in a much more intimate, immediate way than curated feeds.

Conversely, older demographics have been slower to embrace Stories. Only 32% of Baby Boomers even use Instagram at all, according to surveys. And their Stories usage trails far behind younger groups.

Clearly, any brand marketing to youth audiences needs to make Instagram Stories central to their strategy. Meanwhile, platforms favored by Boomers like Facebook present better options for targeting older consumers.

Brands Are All-In on Instagram Stories

Younger users aren‘t the only fans – brands and marketers have also gone all-in on Instagram Stories for promotions, engagement and casual behind-the-scenes content.

Some eye-opening stats:

  • 1/3 of the most-viewed Stories come from business accounts
  • 50% of businesses post at least one Story per month
  • 96% of marketers plan to maintain or increase their Instagram Stories marketing

Analytics provider Dash Hudson found that brands receive over 2X more engagement on Instagram Stories compared to feed posts.

Users also appear highly receptive to businesses posting Stories – data shows the skip rate for brand Stories is just 36%, much lower than the 58% skip rate for feed posts.

Forward-thinking companies recognize the marketing potential of reaching users through immersive, ephemeral Stories instead of overly-promotional feed ads.

And they are getting creative – from polls, quizzes and contests to behind-the-scenes footage and user-generated content, brands are exploring unique ways to stand out in the Stories format.

Stories Set Themselves Apart Through Authenticity

One of the biggest allures of Stories is they provide a fundamentally different type of viewing experience compared to the curated feed.

Posts in the main Instagram feed tend to be carefully staged, edited, and filtered to portray a "highlight reel" of someone‘s life. There‘s pressure to make every photo look perfect.

With Stories, people share content in a more raw, authentic state. Videos are less edited and more off-the-cuff. As social media strategist Jenn Herman explained to me:

"Stories have given people permission to be imperfect. The posts don‘t have to be completely polished or clever. Stories can just capture random, fun moments of your day."

Many users also feel more comfortable knowing their silly Stories will automatically disappear after 24 hours, unlike permanent feed posts. They embrace the ephemeral nature.

This authenticity and temporary content creates an intimately genuine experience. Instagram has succeeded in enabling self-expression in a low-pressure way.

The Appeal of Ephemeral Content

A core aspect of what makes Stories distinct is their ephemeral nature. Unlike permanent Instagram feed posts, Stories vanish 24 hours after being shared.

And people have clearly embraced this temporary, fleeting content in a big way. But what drives the appeal?

For one, the ephemeral design creates urgency. Since Stories disappear so quickly, there‘s a fear of missing out that compels viewers to check them regularly before they‘re gone.

This feeling of exclusivity adds to the intrigue and intimacy of Stories. People also seem to more deeply value content knowing it‘s only temporary.

Additionally, the transience enables more creativity and risk-taking. As tech analyst Josh Constine told me, "People are willing to post more fun, random stuff knowing it won‘t stick around forever."

The ephemerality removes overthinking and second-guessing – you can just post as the moments happen without worrying about lasting impact. Overall, it‘s led to a more human, authentic side of Instagram.

How Instagram Stays Ahead in Ephemeral Content

Stories took the social media world by storm following their August 2016 launch. And soon, every platform wanted in on the action.

Facebook Stories, WhatsApp Status, YouTube Stories, Twitter Fleets, LinkedIn Stories…they all cribbed the feature directly from Instagram‘s playbook.

But despite fierce competition, Instagram has maintained its status as the undisputed leader when it comes to ephemeral content. Some keys to staying ahead:

Continual Innovation – Instagram relentlessly rolls out fresh updates like polls, questions, music, filters and more to keep Stories novel and exciting.

Focus on Creators – IG offers the best editing tools, stickers and effects to empower creators to make compelling Stories.

Tight-Knit Community – IG fosters a sense of intimacy with features like Close Friends, driving deeper connections through Stories.

Easy Discovery – Stories are prominently featured at the top of the app, making it natural to browse them. IG also suggests relevant Stories to check out.

Leading the Culture – IG has firmly entrenched Stories as an essential part of youth culture and the influencer community.

Even with other players getting into the game, no one has matched the magic of Instagram Stories. And the platform will continue iterating rapidly to keep it that way.

What‘s Next for Stories?

It‘s clear Instagram Stories have dramatically transformed users‘ relationships and interactions with the app itself. They bring authenticity, intimacy and engagement at a scale of millions.

IG will undoubtedly continue expanding Stories with innovative features and tools. At the same time, they need to tread carefully to avoid overcomplicating a beloved format.

Some possibilities analysts envision for Stories‘ future:

  • More AR filters and interactive effects
  • Longer video lengths beyond 15 seconds
  • Shopping and ecommerce integration
  • Video editing and production capabilities
  • Ephemeral messaging and group stories
  • Algorithms suggesting stories to broaden exposure

Regardless of what‘s to come, Instagram has proven the tremendous potential of temporary, visual content to capture attention and emotion.

Stories provide value that a permanent feed simply can‘t offer. Their meteoric rise reveals just how eager we are as humans to express ourselves and connect through authentic, ephemeral moments. For visual social interaction, Instagram Stories are just getting started.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.