We all know that at some point, you have stalked on Instagram, and you have used Instagram stories to do it. There’s no point in being coy about it. Instagram has done really well with its Instagram story feature, and now surpasses Snapchat in terms of popularity.
As you can see, Instagram stories have grown exponentially, and earned a well-deserved place as your go-to tool for engagement with your audience.
People have started to use the ‘who has seen your story’ feature to work out how well it is being received.
Think about this scenario for a second. You have just uploaded a video of the sunset, and a few moments later, you check the list of people who have viewed your story, and notice that your crush is one of the first ones.
You decide to post another Instagram story to see if they come up, and while they do come up, they aren’t one of the first ones to see it. Disappointed, you decide to post again, and discover that they are back at the top of the list.
Yes, this indicates that you are addicted to Instagram stories, but it also indicates that you are starting to become strategic about how you post.
You are starting to notice the order of people who are viewing your stories and wondering if this actually means something.
We know that you shouldn’t really care about things that are this trivial, but at the end of the day, it is in our nature as human beings to feel appreciated and noticed.
We upload content to social media, so that it has a level of impact. This is why it’s not surprising that so many Instagram users out there want to know whether their content is resonating with their audience or not.
So, this leads us to the million-dollar question: How does Instagram rank the order of people viewing your story? Is there an actual algorithm behind the stalking that we love to do?
The short answer is yes, but the long answer is not exactly in the way that you might be thinking. Initially, Instagram played a huge emphasis on showing you what you wanted to see.
They started featuring people in chronological order when you posted a story to your feed, but now, it is all about who engages with you the most.
This means that the people that are coming up at the top of the list are based on engagement data that has been taken from Facebook and Instagram.
So, we can imagine that this is a little disappointing for some people out there that love to stalk on Instagram, but there is still hope that your Instagram stories are going to be seen by more than just the people who like to interact with your content .
Does Order Even Matter?
Perhaps a more important question is why people are so fixated on knowing why their viewers for their Instagram stories appear in the order that they do.
Does it really matter that your aunt is being featured higher than the person you dated in high school?
It’s understandable when influencers and businesses rely on Instagram measurements like this to understand how they can better relate to their audience, but what about the average Instagram user who is using the app for personal reasons? Does this really matter?
The thing is that we might never know for sure what Instagram is really doing to achieve this.
Perhaps they are listing viewers in chronological order up to the first 50 views, and maybe they switch after this to the people who are viewing your Instagram stories the most.
One thing that we can say without a doubt is that people are hungry for this kind of data. Lots of people view this list for popularity, and unveiling the Instagram algorithm could answer a lot of questions that you might have, like is your ex still into you?
The Mystery Behind Instagram Story Views
At this point, we’re just going to reveal all. Nobody actually knows for sure how Instagram decides the Instagram story view list, because the thing is that it is changing so frequently.
However, there are plenty of rumors going around about how Instagram does that, until Instagram itself reveals all.
Your list of viewers isn’t chronological, although it might start off this way. It might start off this way until your Instagram story gets a specific number of views, and then it stays in a chronological order, depending on who viewed it first.
However, what does this mean when profiles you have never seen before go to the top of the list straight away?
This is most likely because of Instagram’s timeliness factor. Instagram is all about prioritizing recent posts, so you are less likely to see older posts. It is consistently working to show you what is fresh and new since you last signed into the app. However, the list also doesn’t seem to be associated just with activity data.
There is another rumor that is going around; However it is unclear facts as to whether this is based on, or whether it is just somebody’s wishful thinking.
The theory is that the people who view our profiles the most, even if they aren’t engaging with our content, rank the highest when it comes to our Instagram story list.
Basically, this means that stalkers and profile lurkers appear at the top of the list. To test out this theory, a number of users on Reddit created fake profiles, and checked out their original profile multiple times, without interacting with any of its content.
Their stalker, fake accounts started showing up at the top of the views list. Shocked? We aren’t.
How is the Order Truly Measured?
Alright, so at this point we know that the order of actual stories at the top of our feeds work in a similar way to the stories that are on our profiles.
However, there are a lot of other factors to consider, including whether you go and visit the profile, comment on their posts, like their posts, and view their stories every day.
Do you go and check out a story list more than one time? If you do, the algorithm will probably try to show you a new group of people, because it is trying to refresh the information every time you look at the list.
Instagram stories are based on moments that you care about the most.
This means that the order is determined based on a number of factors, including how interested you are likely to be in the content, the timeliness of your posts, and your affiliation with the person who was posting.
The technology has been created by machine learning, which slowly improves over time.
The Bottom Line About Instagram Stories
So, as you might have been able to guess, there is research out there from many different sources that guess how the order is determined.
As we mentioned briefly above, the main source of research comes from Reddit, where lots of users have tested it out themselves with their own stories, to see the order of their viewers.
Based on these tests, they seem to have come to two conclusions. The first is that the list of story viewers is shown in reverse chronological order, until your story has been seen more than 50 times.
The second is that after your story has been seen more than 50 times, Instagram is going to push those who interact the most with your Instagram profile to the top.
However, there is a catch to this; profile views are given the most priority.
So, you are probably thinking at this point that it’s still not abundantly clear how Instagram determines the order. Let’s do a little bit of testing of our own.
Experiment Number One
Experiment Number Two
Despite the number of viewers being at least 50 views apart, the top of the lists seem to be the same for both Instagram stories. This means that neither of the rumors going around are based in any kind of reality.
We don’t really know why the first few people have come up at the top, but we know enough to see that they are not in chronological order.
So, right now, the most popular theories circulating the Instagram mill are the profile views theory, and the chronological theory.
However, the bottom line here is that Instagram rarely relies on one single factor to determine these kinds of things.
Of course, you are probably hoping and wishing that the people at the top of your Instagram stories list are your most dedicated fans, but only the team at Instagram really knows who they are, and why they are there.
As for the rest of us, the mystery of Instagram stories algorithm is going to continue to nag at us, until Instagram finally decides to give away its secrets.