Social Media

Here’s The Real Reason Instagram Stories Show Up In That Order

An investigation.

What does the order of Instagram Stories mean?

You’ve probably wondered what the order of viewers of your Instagram Story means before, but have you ever wondered why Stories appear on your feed in the order that they do? Do the Stories that pop up first belong to your secret admirers? Does Instagram actually know who your crushes are? Or are all Stories just listed in chronological order? There are so many theories about what the order of IG Stories mean, and believe it or not, they might be truer than you think.

Sometimes it can feel like the order of Instagram Stories is totally random, while other times it feels like the app can read your mind. But is anything ever truly “random” if there’s an algorithm involved? The answer is most likely no. Similar to how the elusive algorithm determines which Story viewers should be first and last, Instagram prioritizes ordering its Stories based on patterns of your behavior. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but it’s nice to pretend your crush was interacting with your Story just as much as you interacted with theirs.

So what does the order of Instagram Stories actually mean, and how is that sequencing determined? Here’s the rundown on what you need to know.

What Does The Order Of Instagram Stories Mean?

According to tech guide website Alphr, Instagram uses an algorithm with machine learning to suss out which accounts “may appeal to you more than others” by tracking the accounts you like, comment, and reply to the most. This applies to Stories as well, though the algorithms used for feed posts and Stories are not the same. However, they’re similar in the sense that the Story algorithm looks for “signals,” as the website calls them, or behavior patterns to essentially determine which accounts are your favorite. In other words, it monitors who you interact with the most, not the other way around.

Per Alphr, some of those signals may include searching for the same accounts often, and actively liking, commenting, and replying to certain people’s posts. The website also explains that tapping the same person’s Story every time you open the app will influence the order as well. And don’t bothering trying to convince the algorithm that you’re over your crush, because even if you skip over a Story from someone you interact with often, it will remain the first Story on your feed until you watch it.

It makes sense why the app would arrange its Stories this way. After all, would you rather view a Story posted by a close friend, or someone you went to high school with that you haven’t spoken to in years?

That being said, how much you interact with an account isn’t the only thing that determines Story order. According to Aplhr, Instagram also has a tendency to order Stories from newest to oldest. But ultimately, chronological posts don’t seem to have as much of an influence on the order as interaction signals, because older posts from your favorite accounts are given priority over newer Stories from users you don’t regularly interact with.

The TL;DR of it all is: the order in which IG Stories appear on your timeline is just another product of the almighty algorithm. It’s unsurprising, but it might explain why the app always knows who you have a crush on before you do. Plus, if your special someone just so happens to be your first Story viewer mere seconds after you posted, that could mean they’ve looked at your profile enough for their algorithm to push your Stories to the front of their feed. Or they simply logged onto Instagram at the right time, guess you’ll have to shoot your shot in their DMs to find out.