As of January 2020, Instagram averages well over 500 million active daily users. To call it one of the world’s more popular social networks, therefore, would be putting it lightly. Most people, at least those who actively use the internet, are aware of Instagram’s influence and use it to great effect.
Even extremely powerful businesses create Instagram profiles to increase the number of people they can interact with. And of course, one of the best ways to interact with someone is through Instagram stories.
What Are Stories?
Instagram stories are, to those who aren’t in the know, allow users and influencers to interact more closely with their fans by posting videos, photos or updates that expire after 24 hours. Some use them to simply broadcast snippets of what they’re doing to their followers. Others use them to post photos they took in the moment but don’t really want to keep on their main profile permanently.
Whatever your reasoning behind using or viewing stories might be, many have asked what exactly determines the order in which stories you want to watch appear in the first place. While Instagram hasn’t officially released any information about this, many different theories have been suggested.
What Contributes to My Story Order?
Again, while there might not be an official explanation, web users have made educated guesses and performed experiments to see what may or may not affect the order in which these stories are displayed. In the list below, you’ll be able to check out most of the popular of these theories.
The Algorithm of Commonality
The stories algorithm functions somewhat like the main machine learning algorithm Instagram uses to present you with content on the Explore page. That algorithm suggests certain profiles for you to check out, based on your previous interests, the kinds of pages you follow, the influencers whose stories you check out, or if there’s a certain product you’ve searched for etc. It also considers the contact you have with that person, how often you communicate, or if you leave any comments on their stories, photos or videos.
Interactions with the Story Poster
The stories algorithm works similarly. Instagram measures the strength of interaction between your own profile and those of other people you follow. By interaction, we mean the number of DMs you’ve exchanged with them and how often, if you like their posts and vice versa, if you comment on their posts, and so on. All of this is then taken into account and automatically increases the chances that that person will appear closer to the top of the list when you go to check out new stories.
Your Personal Interests
Again, taking cues from the main algorithm, the stories algorithm will also take into account the amount of times you check out a certain brand’s profile, for instance. If you’re looking at a page for a certain makeup or perhaps a tech company, to see their much-anticipated new product, then the algorithm will consider that as well. If said brand posts a story about something you’d likely want to see, it’s more likely to appear closer to the top of the list. After all, you don’t want to miss out on the announcement!
Judging from Previous Experiences
If you follow a certain profile that’s close to your heart, even if it’s not at the top of the list, then the algorithm is likely to also take this into account. After all, if you’re consistently skipping the posts recommended to you, then this must be the one you want to watch. So why not display it first to save you the trouble?
In with the New, Out with the Old
Logically, it’s safe to assume that stories are something you want to view as soon as they’re published – some would say that’s the whole point of Instagram, with creators posting stories to notify their followers of something in a quick manner. Given this is true in most cases, the algorithm will generally give you the newest stories to look at first, compared to the “old news” of yesterday’s stories which you may have missed. Granted, there are exceptions.
If you missed a story from a certain profile, and several other stories have popped up in the meantime, it’s likely to push the older one to the forefront, to make sure you’re not lagging too far behind.
There are a number of other different theories that exist on the web about how Instagram’s story order is determined. In this article, we’ve covered those deemed to be the most likely culprits. Do you think there’s something else that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments section below.