Reels is less than half as successful as Stories was on the same theft timeline

Nathan Baschez in Every:

Is Reels even working?

Yes and no. Reels is now two years old and, according to my reading of the data, it’s only working about half as well as Stories was two years after it launched.

Back in 2018, when Stories was as old as Reels is now, Kevin Systrom was asked about the proportion of time spent in Stories. He declined to give a number but claimed it was “almost just as important” as the main feed. So I’m assuming it was probably somewhere in the 40–50% range.

Reels, on the other hand, only accounts for 20% of time spent—despite the fact that Instagram is pushing it a lot harder. The only thing they did to get us to use Stories was put that little row of circles at the top of our feeds. But now they’re actually sprinkling Reels directly inside our feeds so they’re impossible to ignore. If it was just a little row you could quickly scroll past, I bet that 20% figure would be much lower, perhaps below 10%.