Your Simplified Guide to Instagram Stories Ranking Factors


Instagram’s ranking factors change as fast as trends on the app. It can be quite confusing when you feel like you’re doing your best to create content but your followers aren’t being able to view your Stories. Instagram wants to help brands grow on the app and they’ve recently updated their ranking factors. Instagram wants to improve the experiences of users on the app and help them benefit from the time they spend scrolling. We are presenting you with an updated blog on the new features of Instagram, and how to brands can get their content out to customers via Stories.

Table of Contents

Ranking on Instagram

The first step to getting more followers on Instagram is understanding how ranking works on the interface or to buy real Instagram likes. Creators, influencers, and brands need to understand how ranking works on Instagram in order to get their content out there. Instagram doesn’t just use a singular algorithm that decides what people see and don’t see on their Feeds. The platform uses a variety of algorithms that are faced with different responsibilities. The aim of Instagram is to get people to spend as much time scrolling as possible, without wasting their time.

Feed, Stories, Explore, and Reels all use different algorithms, classifiers,  and processes which are dependent on how people use it. For example, people use Stories to keep in touch with their loved ones and Reels to find new, entertaining creators. There are different forms of ranking for different parts of the app. The algorithms also take advantage of customizations like Close Friends, Following, and Favourites.

How Instagram Ranks Stories

The point of social media marketing, especially Instagram marketing, is to get new customers, but maintaining your original follower base is extremely important. Creators and brands can do this by harnessing the power of the Stories, the personalized home base which helps users stay in touch with friends, family, and most importantly, their interests.

This means that the Stories will contain content only from accounts users follow, along with sponsored ads and recommended Stories. The Stories bar considers the recent posts shared by accounts the user is most close to. But, creators and brands can also reach their targeted audience through sponsored ads and recommended posts. The Stories are based on what the user likes and whom they follow or have engaged with recently. The Story’s goal is to reach a balance between content from accounts users interact with and accounts they don’t follow but may be interested in.

Next, the Stories takes note of all the information about what was posted, accounts which made those posts, and user preferences. There are also other factors such as the format of the Story, for example, if a user prefers videos on their Stories, then that’s what they’ll be shown first. Instagram calls these “signals” and uses them to their benefit. These signals include everything from when a Story was shared to details about the Story, and whether a user prefers videos or photos or Reels. Here are some important Stories ranking factors, or signals–

  • User Activity. Posts that someone has liked, shared, commented on, or saved, are a signal of what they may want to see on their Stories.
  • Information About the Posts on Stories. Information about posts is another signal Instagram uses heavily. These signals are factors like popularity– how many likes, saves, and comments a post has, or when the post was made or it’s location.
  • Information About the User Who Posted. Instagram is careful about understanding when a user is interested in an account or wants to interact with it. For example, if a user has interacted with another user a lot in the past few weeks by, say sending them a lot of reels, both users will see each other’s Stories on their Feed. Instagram carefully keeps track of the users another user interacts with, through messages, comments, likes, saves, and shares.

Instagram takes these signals or factor into consideration while making a set of predictions on which Story to show a user first. The app makes educated guesses at how likely a user is to interact with a Story from an account in various ways. There are five main interactions mainly that the Story depends on. These five user interactions are:

  • How likely a user is to spend a few minutes or seconds on a Story
  • How likely an Instagram user it to comment on a Story
  • How likely an Instagram user is to like or double tap on a Story
  • How likely a user is to react to a Story on Instagram
  • How likely a user is to tap on the profile photo on Instagram

The more likely a user is to interact with a post, the more heavily Instagam weighs in on that interaction and makes decisions on curating the Stories. There are a few exceptions to these interactions too, though there are exceptions and other considerations. For example, a user will see the Stories from their favorite accounts.

The Bottom Line

Instagram is always exploring ways in which they can help content creators understand how to gain popularity through Stories. If you aren’t getting enough Story interaction from your followers. , there is probably a reason for it. For example, Instagram is currently working on notifications to let creators know when a watermark is affecting the reach of a brand’s product. Instagram is also working on ways to increase reach organically for creators so that even small businesses can reach Instagram fame.

Instagram is currently working on new effects and tools to help Instagrammers understand and address issues impacting their reach. The interface is working on more resources to help the brands on Instagram understand the ranking factors, best practices, and guidelines. If you are forming a social media marketing strategy, we suggest using the Creator Lab, which helps you interact with other creators to understand how to improve your reach. You can also follow “creators” and “Mosseri” to stay updated about the latest and greatest tips and tools to help your marketing strategies.

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