This is How Instagram Ranks Who Watched Your Stories

By Nikki Canning

Published August 29, 2018

5 minute read

Does Instagram rank who viewed your stories? We're jumping into the details to find out.


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If you look at who watches your Instagram Stories, you’ve probably wondered: how does Instagram rank viewers? What does the order mean? Why is your Instagram crush always near the top?

Lots of people think that Instagram ranks your Instagram Stories views based on the profiles that visit, or ‘stalk’, your account the most, but the truth is a bit more complicated than that.

Read on to find out how Instagram Stories ranks your views:

How Does Instagram Rank Your Instagram Stories Views?

Unfortunately, just because your Instagram faves are at the top of the list when you check out who has viewed your story, doesn’t mean that they are stalking your profile or watching your story multiple times.

The truth is, Instagram is not revealing who is checking out your profile the most by putting them at the top of your Instagram Stories viewers list.

So how are the views on Instagram Stories ranked?

According to Julian Gutman, product lead for Instagram Home, the people you see appearing at the top of the viewers list is who you engage with the most, and not the other way around!

Gutman sat down for an interview with The Verge to explain exactly how people who have watched your story are ranked, and it actually has more to do with your activity than your followers’. The Instagram algorithm recognizes who you are regularly interacting with and will then place them at the top of your Instagram Stories viewers list, because it knows those are the accounts you care about (or creep) the most.

In the words of Gutman, the Instagram algorithm ranks your Instagram Stories viewers “based on your activity and the people you’re closest to.”

When you look at who has watched your Instagram Stories, the people that you see at the top of your list are determined by two things: your interactions with other accounts, and how often you check in to see who viewed your story.

If you’re regularly checking in to see who has watched your Instagram Stories, you’ll notice different accounts appearing at the top of your list from the last time you checked.

This is because “if you check the list multiple times, [the Instagram algorithm] tries to show you a new set of people,” says Gutman.

So that explains how Instagram ranks your Instagram Stories viewers, but how does the algorithm know who you’re engaging with?

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How The Photos You Like and Stories You Watch Affect Your Instagram Feed

Earlier this year, Instagram finally went on the record to explain exactly how the Instagram algorithm works.

According to TechCrunch, who was in the room when Instagram revealed all about the new algorithm, Instagram’s main goal is to help you see content from your “friends and family,” as it deems this group to be closest to you.

The Instagram algorithm tries to predict what posts are the most important to you, and uses three main factors to determine this: interest, timeliness, and relationship.

But how does this algorithm affect who appears at the top of your Instagram Stories views list?

Well, as Gutham explains, it all comes down to who you appear to be closest to based on your interactions, including your interactions with other accounts’ profiles, posts, and stories.

But what classifies as an interaction? We’re glad you asked because there are so many elements that make up an “interaction” in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm!

According to Instagram, a lot of different actions can be classed as an “interaction”.

Simple actions like visiting an account’s profile can count as an interaction, as well as likes and comments on feed posts, and watching someone’s Instagram Stories.

So while you may not notice the level of interaction you’re having with an account, the algorithm picks up on every tap and swipe to determine who it thinks should appear at the top of your Instagram Stories viewed list.

For example, if you watch an Instagram influencers’ stories every day, you’ll see them near the beginning of your Stories feed every day. This is also the same reason why your besties appear near the top of your regular Instagram feed when you open the app, too!

But what does it mean when accounts you’ve never seen before appear at the top of the list or top of your feed?

This is probably because of Instagram’s “timeliness” factor — it aims to prioritize recent posts, so you’re less likely to see old posts, even if they’re from your favorite profile. It’s working to show you what’s new and fresh since you last used the app.

When it comes to your Instagram Stories views, you’ll naturally see more people watching your story as the day goes on, and a change in the profiles at the top of your list is Instagram’s way of showing you ‘what’s new around here’ since you last checked in.

One other factor that could be impacting how Instagram ranks your Instagram Stories views list, is your connections on Facebook, according to The Verge.

As Instagram’s parent company, your connections, and interactions on Facebook could also be influencing who ends up top of the list in your Instagram Stories views list. Right now this is just a theory, but it does make sense.

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