XX min read

How to Save Instagram Stories

Published on
February 9, 2024
Don’t want to waste efforts spent on doing your Instagram Stories? Check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to save Instagram stories here.

Instagram stories aren’t just popular with individual users, they’re also an incredibly powerful tool for brands. 83% of marketers plan to use stories as part of their influencer marketing efforts, according to Sprout Social. But investing in beautifully branded Insta stories can feel like a waste if you’re just going to lose them 24 hours later.

Part of the beauty of Instagram stories is that they’re designed to disappear — the ephemeral format allows brands to lower the stakes and post content that may not be perfectly polished or ready for prime time. IG stories are also a great channel for timely updates that may be relevant in the moment but don’t deserve a place on your main feed.

Of course, that doesn’t mean brands are slapping together any ol’ thing. Effective and coherent brand stories still take planning and creativity, and there’s no point letting those efforts go to waste once the story expires. If you’re wondering how to save Instagram stories, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore five ways to capture, download, and save stories from Instagram so you can access them whenever you want, even outside that 24-hour window.

Image by Tunahan Günkan on Unsplash

What You’ll Learn:

  • Even though the stakes are low, Instagram stories are still assets worth saving
  • Saving every story individually is always an option, albeit an efficient one
  • Instagram offers in-app features that can help brands save their stories
  • There are third-party apps designed to download Instagram stories
  • It’s possible to automatically save every single Instagram story your brand is tagged in

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Why Are Brands Asking How to Save Instagram Stories?

There are any number of reasons brands might want to save their Instagram stories. First, on the subject of the content that social media managers create and post themselves, it’s important to make sure all that creative effort doesn’t go to waste. Even if the Instagram stories you post from your brand account aren’t the most polished content in your arsenal, you’re still spending time on them and publishing them for the world to see.

Once they’ve outlived their 24-hour timespan on Instagram, brand stories can still be highly valuable assets in other contexts. Brands can repurpose stories in virtually any visual format, but here are some of their most popular uses:

  • Media kits
  • Investor decks
  • Influencer marketing campaigns
  • Affiliate marketing programs
  • E-commerce websites
  • Product detail pages
  • Internal presentations

Then there are all the stories that other Instagram users post about your brand. When user-generated content (UGC) that tags your brand starts rolling in, you can trust that your social media manager is doing their own little happy dance. But you’re leaving money on the table if you fail to save those assets so you can repurpose them for brand campaigns later. The pressure is even higher with stories than other UGC formats; social media managers have to find, save, and download each story within 24 hours of it being posted or risk losing it forever.

UGC is valuable social proof your brand can use to drive sales, increase loyalty, and build better influencer relationships, but only if you can capture and save the content in time. (And get permission from the creator to reuse their content, of course.) Instagram stories that tag your brand are one of the most important types of content to save, and due to the time constraint, they’re the hardest to track down and keep track of.

5 Ways to Save Instagram Stories

No matter what your reasons are for wanting to save your Instagram stories, there are a number of ways to get the job done. Here are the five best manual solutions, native Instagram features, and third-party apps that will make saving Instagram stories as easy as possible.

#1: Manually save stories to your camera roll

Let’s start with the most obvious method first: screenshot or screen record the Instagram stories you want to save. This works for both stories you post from your own Instagram account and stories other users post tagging your brand, but there’s still a race against the clock. As long as you find each individual Instagram story and remember to save it before it disappears, this method may work for you. 

Instagram also lets you download your own Instagram stories directly from the app, as long as you capture them before they’ve expired. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do it:

  1. Start on the homepage of the Instagram app.
  2. In the top left corner, you’ll see your profile picture with a ring around it (either gradient pink-to-orange if you haven’t viewed your own story yet, or grey if you have); tap it to view your story.
  3. From the specific story you want to save, open the three-dots menu or tap the more button in the bottom right corner and select save.
  4. You can tap save photo to add a static image of the story to your phone’s gallery, or tap save story to create and save video files.

You can also convert a story into an Instagram post, which turns it into a permanent part of your main feed. This only applies to stories you post from your brand account, though; Instagram doesn’t allow anyone to repost or download stories that other users have shared. And don’t forget, if you miss the 24-hour window, that story is gone forever. There’s no room for error, so a simple slip-up or everyday human mistake can cost your brand dearly. That makes these manual options pretty unrealistic at scale.

#2: Add stories to highlights on your profile

Another manual option that keeps stories active for longer than 24 hours is Instagram’s story highlight feature. For public accounts, story highlights stay active in your feed for anyone to see. For private accounts, only the people following you can see your story highlights. In either case, highlights are visible even after the stories themselves have expired. You’ll find them below your bio and any links you’ve added to your profile, and above your main Instagram account grid.

Story highlights are a great way to organize past stories by any topic, whether they’re chronological, themed for specific events, organized by country, or dedicated to individual products in your latest collection. You can choose a cover image for your story highlight and give it a title to make it stand out. If you want your audience to be able to see your stories beyond the 24-hour window or you just want to buy yourself some time to be able to save and download those stories later on, Instagram highlights are a great option.

#3: Use Instagram’s native story archive feature

Instagram offers another in-app feature that can help brands save their content: the stories archive. Most users these days will find that the archive feature is turned on automatically when you download Instagram from the app store or play store. When it’s activated, the story archive feature basically auto-saves all the stories you post inside a private folder in the Instagram app. While other users can see the stories you add to your highlights after they’ve expired, only you can see the stories saved to your archive.

Not sure if your Instagram story archive is turned on? Follow this quick step-by-step guide to check:

  1. Open Instagram and tap the ☰ menu in the top right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap archive and select your story archive (instead of the posts archive or IGTV/live broadcast archive).
  3. Tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner (you’re likely to see horizontal dots if you’re using an Apple iPhone, iOS, or mac device, and vertical dots if you’re using an Android device).
  4. Tap settings and make sure the save story to archive option is toggled on.

Once the feature is turned on, Instagram will automatically save all the IG stories you post to the archive. If you just want to have a repository of back-ups of all the content your brand posts, the story archive may be all you need. If you want to buy yourself some time to download those assets and save them to a different device or an external hard drive without the pressure of stories’ typical 24-hour lifespan, Instagram’s story archive is a strong interim step.

#4: Use third-party story downloader apps — if you dare

Because Instagram doesn’t offer a way to download stories that other users post about your brand, many social media managers turned to third-party downloader apps to capture and save those stories as media files. There are plenty of downloader apps out there, but they’ve gotten a bad reputation in the social media world. In recent years, third-party apps marketed as solutions for saving Instagram stories have spread viruses like wildfire.

Whether they’re stealing your Instagram credentials or installing malware on your phone, downloader apps can be dangerous and it’s hard to tell the good from the bad. Because these apps are specifically designed to get around Instagram’s privacy controls, Instagram has gotten wise to the scheme. Users have found that their accounts are disabled or deactivated after using third-party downloader apps because Instagram flags them as community guidelines violations.

Even if you’re not using the parts of a third-party app that explicitly go against the community guidelines, using an easy download button to save content created by another user without their explicit permission is technically against the rules. So while downloader apps might seem convenient in the moment (and might have saved the day in 2017), today they’re more risky than they are rewarding. Our advice: proceed with caution.

#5: Get Archive

The truth is, unsafe third-party apps are a thing of the past. Doing it all manually is unrealistic, and downloading a questionable app that may or may not leak your data to the world is risky. There’s a better way to save Instagram stories.

Meet Archive — the all-in-one influencer marketing platform that automatically collects all the UGC your brand is tagged in, including Instagram stories, Instagram reels, Instagram posts, and TikTok videos too. Archive captures your UGC even when your social media manager is offline, on nights, weekends, and vacations too. Manage usage rights, build custom workflows, turn your best stories into click-to-buy social proof you can display on your website, and so much more. Ready to do more with all the amazing user-generated content your brand is tagged in? Get started with Archive today for free.

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