Trends & Insights, Video Marketing

YouTube Stories vs. Instagram Stories: What you need to know

Jun 27, 2019


Ever heard of Reels? Well, it’s back and rebranded as YouTube Stories. Keeping up with competitors like Snapchat and Instagram, the video giant is sharing its own spin on the popular disappearing content feature. If you already create video for YouTube, you should get ahead of the game before YouTube Stories goes completely public (right now only certain creators have access). Here we’ve outlined what you need to know alongside the differences between the YouTube version and the Instagram one you can expect to see if you get the chance to use it.

YouTube Stories vs IG Stories

YouTube Stories is still in beta, but you should get familiar with these key differences:

  • YouTube Stories disappear after 7 days. Which is very different from Instagram Stories which currently limit your content to 24 hours. They’ll likely show up in subscriber feeds and some watch pages but fans can check all of them out on the Stories tab of your channel on mobile only. And after they disappear, you’ll still be able to review comments from each video through YouTube Studio for a full 30 days.
  • YouTube Stories beta is only available for channels with more than 10,000 subscribers. By the way, if you reach 10,000 subs while the program is still in beta, YouTube warns that it might take up to 4 weeks for your Stories option to activate. But once you are accepted, your YouTube Stories will be visible to both subscribers and nonsubscribers. IG Stories, on the other hand, are available to everyone so it will be interesting to see how high performing creators choose to use the new YouTube feature between now and when it’s released to the general public (if ever).
  • You’ll have some cool comment and engagement options. Like IG Stories, YouTube Stories offer stickers that will allow you to do things like mention other creators and link their channels.
  • Reply to fans using videos and pictures. If a fan replies to your IG Stories their response starts a conversation in your DMs. But with YouTube Stories, you can choose to highlight viewer comments to create reply videos and photos. These replies will show the original comment and, after you’re done recording, you can move or resize the comment on your screen before publishing. Plus, like YouTube Live, YouTube Stories allow you to moderate comments on the video itself or through the Studio.


  • Viewer reactions are public. In that same vein, YouTube makes it possible for viewers to publicly thumbs up, thumbs down, or heart other people’s comments which makes for a stronger community feel than the DM version of IG Stories does.
  • You can view your analytics. Views and comments tallies for each individual video show up at the bottom of that video’s screen – but only while it’s still active. And you can view the performance of all your YouTube Stories videos through the designated tab on your channel page. Right now IG Stories let you see how many people viewed each individual video but after it’s gone you lose that info permanently.
  • YouTube Stories are for channel promotion And community engagement. But IG Stories offer more slices of life content than anything else given that they’re each 15 seconds long.
  • The basics are all there. Things like deleting active Stories and sending reactions will still be part of the experience on both YouTube and IG. You can also expect to have tools like special stickers, filters, music, and text overlays on there too.

How to create YouTube Stories:

  • Open your YouTube app on mobile and swipe right to begin recording. You can also tap the camera icon and then select “Create Story”.
  • Upload videos or photos from your gallery. Or record something on the spot.
  • Edit, share, and monitor. Clip your footage or add special effects then hit publish. Analytics will be available during the 7 day lifespan of the post and 30 days after it expires.

How to upload YouTube Stories to your channel on desktop:

You actually can’t. YouTube Stories were only created for mobile app users because the whole idea behind it is that you’ll be able to connect with users on the go, like Instagram. It’s all part of the brand’s effort to give users more options beyond just making highly polished, in-studio content.

Where can you watch YouTube Stories:

  • If you’re subscribed to the channel. YouTube Stories will be at the top of the subscriptions tab (as the first photo in this article shows), much like how IG Stories appear at the top of your feed when you open the app. You’ll also see YouTube Stories appear in your Top Videos display as you scroll through.
  • If you’re not subscribed to the channel. As of right now you’ll still probably see YouTube Stories in the same places as channel subscribers even if you don’t subscribe to that channel yourself (one of the many reasons why users on the Reddit forum disapprove of the update). But if you’re not subscribed to a creator’s channel and you want to view their Stories, you can still watch them by going to the channel page and selecting the tab labeled Stories. There you’ll have access to all of their live Stories posted within the past 7 days.