Instagram Stories have more than half a billion users watching them everyday. Half. A. Billion. That’s more than everyone who has ever suffered through one of my improv shows combined, if you can believe it!

If you’re a social media manager, these are some seriously compelling numbers. (Also: will you come to my next show?) Instagram Stories are a golden opportunity to reach your audience. And with the growing suite of apps that help make stories even more captivating, the potential for creativity is endless.

If you’re new to Instagram Stories or are just struggling to get your stories to convert, read on for our favorite cool tools to create unique, eye-catching content.

(And if you’re looking for some inspiration for engaging Instagram posts, too, head over to our Instagram Apps blog post.)

Download your free pack of 20 customizable Instagram Stories templates now. Save time and look professional while promoting your brand in style.

15 Instagram Story apps marketers should know

1. Spark AR Studio

Instagram stories spark AR studio

What to use it for: Though filters have been around since 2017, we are in the midst of filtermania—and with the release of the Facebook-owned Spark AR Studio, you don’t need to be a coder to create your own interactive augmented reality experience.

Whether you’re creating a virtual makeover filter for your cosmetics brand, or a healthy snack company launching a cheeky “What Nut Am I” AR quiz, this is an opportunity to put your stamp on users’ Stories.

Key features:

  • Free sample projects and assets
  • Icon templates for your Instagram or Facebook effects
  • Robust tutorials
  • Use face, hand tracking or touch gestures, and add audio, light or 3D objects

Price: Free

Download: Creator on Windows or Mac; Spark AR Player for iOS or Android

2. Hootsuite

Creating an Instagram story in Hootsuite

What to use it for: Scheduling your Stories

Plan and create your Story content in advance, and then use Hootsuite to post it at the optimum time for maximum eyeballs. Here’s the how-to guide if you’re really keen to master the art of Story scheduling in advance.

Key features:

  • Create content in advance to post at your own pace
  • Edit your images directly in the dashboard
  • Upload Stories from desktop or mobile

Price: 30 day free trial

Download: Desktop, iOS and Android

3. VSCO

Instagram stories apps vsco

What to use it for: This is the gold standard for photo editing (whether or not you identify as a VSCO girl), with professional-looking editing presets and highly detailed tools for adjusting color, texture, light, and perspective. High-definition RAW photos from your professional camera can be easily imported and tweaked on the go, so your snaps can look good even if your phone-tography skills aren’t perfect.

Key features:

  • 10 free presets (200-plus available for paid subscribers)
  • Editing tools and textures
  • Video editing, including color control
  • Build montages with videos, photos and shapes

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS and Android

4. Unfold

Instagram stories app Unfold

What to use it for: Unfold bills itself as “a toolkit for storytellers,” featuring a variety of photo and text layout templates that make every Story look like a mini digital magazine.

Key features:

  • Over 200 template options (some paid)
  • Advanced text tools offer a variety of font and styles
  • Built-in photo-editing tools
  • For paid subscribers, early access to new templates

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS or Android

5. Patternator

Instagram stories app Patternator

What to use it for: Create playful animated backdrops for your stories using a library of gifs and quirky images, or add in your own photo stickers to really customize the experience. Tweak the speed and movement of the cascading graphics to complete your delightfully dizzying personalized video wallpaper.

Key features:

  • 23 pre-set pattern options, plus tools to tweak movement and layout
  • Export as a gif, video, live wallpaper, or HD image

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS and Android

6. Lifelapse

Instagram stories app Lifelapse

What to use it for: Attention-grabbing stop motion videos. The in-app academy walks you through best practices and techniques for a perfectly polished final product.

Key features:

  • Ghosted image overlaps for easy shooting
  • In-app video editing tools
  • Add music (premium only)
  • Interval timer and one-shot timer

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS and Android

7. Storyluxe

Instagram stories app storyluxe

What to use it for: Stylish photo collages for daaaays. Templates mimic the look of film strips, or taped together photos; neon elements add some serious punch.

Key features:

  • Custom branding watermark (premium only)
  • Themed templates: choose from categories like “paper,” “collage,” or “tape.”
  • Add text and patterned backgrounds
  • Export directly to Instagram Stories

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS only

8. Enlight Pixaloop

Instagram stories app enlight pixaloop

What to use it for: Can’t decide between a video and a photo? This editing app offers the best of both worlds, animating static pictures to create dynamic ones. Add elements and overlays, then adjust the speed for customized movement. Move the clouds in the sky, make hair blow in the wind like there’s a magic Beyoncé wind machine, whatever you want! Magic!

Download your free pack of 20 customizable Instagram Stories templates now. Save time and look professional while promoting your brand in style.

Download the templates now!

Key features:

  • Add moving elements to still photos with user-friendly functionality
  • Control movement, direction, speed, and style
  • Sky replacement technology and AI water animation

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS and Android

9. Typorama

Instagram stories app typorama

What to use it for: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But what about a picture with words on it? A thousand-plus! Yowza! Typorama layers beautiful typographic elements atop your photos for a stand-out blend of photo and text.

Key features:

  • 100+ different fonts and typefaces
  • 3D distortion and shadows for text
  • Gradients, overlays and adjustment tools
  • On-trend color palettes

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS and Android

10. Boosted

Boosted app ad

What to use it for: Craft sleek videos (tutorials, Q&As, whatever!) using eye-catching video templates, and easily layer in text and music to really make your content pop.

Key features:

  • Stylish video templates
  • Add branded filters, fonts, music, and color
  • Combine multiple video clips
  • Access the Getty Images video clip library

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS and Android

11. Clipomatic

Clipomatic

What to use it for: Caption your video with automatic live voice-to-text translation. This isn’t just important to reach the high percentage of users who are watching Stories with no sound (guilty!)—it also makes your content accessible to users with hearing challenges.

Key features:

  • 40 different languages to choose from
  • Editing capabilities, to make sure your message is nice and clear
  • A variety of caption styles
  • Record in square or full-screen format

Price: $4.99

Download: iOS only

12. Hype-Type

Instagram stories hype type

What to use it for: Add a little drama to your copy with this video text animator. Flip it, reverse it, speed it up, slow it down: just get those words moving.

Key features:

  • Combine multiple video clips or apply to single photo or video shots
  • Control of text placement
  • A variety of font styles and animations

Price: First week is free, then $20 for the year

Download: iOS and Android

13. A Design Kit

Instagram stories design kit

What to use it for: Between the brushes, the fonts, the design details, the collage templates and the stickers, this might be your ultimate design toolkit. Its sister app, A Color Story, is a great companion if you’re looking for influencer-approved Insta filters and effects.

Key features:

  • Tons of super fun stickers
  • 60+ fonts and 200+ designs
  • Realistic brushes to add texture and color
  • Bold background options like metallics and marble

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS only

14. Seen

Instagram stories seen

What to use it for: It’s from the makers of Facetune, so you know these guys are all about flawless presentation. Though there are templates and stickers here, the real highlight is the dramatic transitions. Images dissolve into one another, text fades in and out, and photos slide away fluidly.

Key features:

  • Slick transitions
  • Trendy templates (including seasonal options)
  • A huge sticker library
  • Mix video and photo within the same layout

Price: Free, with paid premium features

Download: iOS only

15. Adobe Spark (App Family)

Adobe Spark on iPhone, desktop, and iPad

What to use it for: It’s a suite of tools from the folks at Adobe that just work together super seamlessly. Spark Video lets you add effects, audio, or animation to your clips, while Spark Post is a foolproof graphic design tool: tweak images, incorporate text, or track down the best stock photography for your brand.

Key features:

  • Add animation your videos
  • Backup your masterpiece to the cloud
  • Access tons of text and effect options
  • Import audio from your phone, or from Adobe’s extensive collection

Price: Free, with paid subscription options

Download Adobe Spark Post: iOS, Android, or Desktop

Download Adobe Spark Video: iOS or Desktop

These are just a fraction of the tools available to make your Instagram Story pop. Download one, download them all, but remember that Stories are the perfect place to experiment—so get creative, try new things, and see what works best for your brand first-hand.

It’s Story time: let’s get messy.

Ready to start scheduling Instagram Stories and save time? Use Hootsuite to manage all your social networks (and schedule posts) from a single dashboard.

Get Started