How to Use Instagram Stories to Outsmart Instagram Algorithm

27 April 2023
Reading: 4 min

Outsmarting the Instagram algorithm refers to leveraging algorithmic knowledge to optimize content, engage with the audience, use hashtags, post consistently, optimize captions, utilize Stories, collaborate with influencers, and promote user-generated content for more visibility and engagement. Ready to learn more how to tell the stories?

What’s the fuss about Instagram?

Instagram‘s popularity continues soaring with over 2.35 billion users and 1.318 billion reachable through advertising. With 21.1% global usage among those aged 13 and above, Instagram ranks fourth among the most popular social networks, boasting a user base equivalent to the combined population of the EU and North America.

Despite the presence of bots, Instagram remains a go-to platform for marketers, with India, USA, Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia leading the way in the number of users. With an average user spending 30 minutes on Instagram, it has become a cultural phenomenon, capturing the attention of billions worldwide. From celebrity influencers like Cristiano Ronaldo telling their story to record-breaking posts, Instagram’s allure is undeniable, making it a social media powerhouse in today’s digital landscape.

Instagram’s history of changes

Instagram, a photo and video-sharing social media platform, has undergone several significant changes in its history, including updates to its algorithm, to make it more user-friendly.

  1. Chronological Feed: Instagram initially displayed posts in a chronological order, with the most recent posts appearing at the top of the feed. Users could see posts from accounts they followed in the order they were posted.
  2. Introduction of Algorithmic Feed: In 2016, Instagram transitioned from a chronological feed to an algorithmic feed. The new Instagram algorithm used various factors to determine the order of posts in a user’s feed, including engagement, relevance, and user behavior. This change aimed to show users more relevant Instagram content based on their interests and interactions with Instagram.
  3. Focus on Engagement: Instagram’s algorithm has evolved to prioritize posts that generate higher engagement, such as likes, comments, and shares. Instagram posts with higher engagement are more likely to appear in users’ feeds and gain wider visibility.
  4. Stories Feature: In 2016, Instagram introduced Stories, a feature that allows users to share temporary photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Stories are displayed at the top of the feed and are ranked based on various factors, including user interactions, relationship with the account, and recency.
  5. Relevance of User Interactions: Instagram’s algorithm also takes into account a user’s past interactions with accounts, such as likes, comments, and direct messages. Instagram accounts that a user engages with frequently are more likely to appear in their feed.
  6. Explore Tab: Instagram’s Explore tab, which showcases content from accounts a user doesn’t follow, is also driven by the algorithm. The Instagram content shown in the Explore tab is based more on a user’s interests, engagement history, and trending content.
  7. Advertisements: Instagram’s algorithm also plays a more distinct role in displaying advertisements. Instagram ad placements are determined based on factors such as ad relevance, engagement, and bid amount.
  8. Anti-Spam Measures: Instagram’s algorithm has also been updated to detect and filter out spam, fake accounts, and low-quality content to improve the overall user experience and quality of their stories.
  9. Emphasis on Video Content: In recent years, Instagram has placed a stronger emphasis on video content storytelling, with the Instagram algorithm favoring video stories in users’ feeds and explore tab more.
  10. Influencer Partnerships: Instagram has introduced features such as branded content tags and affiliate marketing options, allowing influencers and creators to monetize their content and partner with brands, which has put more impact on the algorithm by influencing the visibility of such posts.

Instagram’s algorithm has evolved over the years, moving from a chronological feed to an algorithmic feed that considers factors such as engagement, relevance, user behavior, and interests. The algorithm plays a more significant role in determining the content that appears in users’ feeds, explore tab, and ad placements, shaping the overall Instagram experience for its vast user base. More importantly, though, Instagram introduced the so-called Stories

What are Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a feature on the Instagram platform that allows users to share photos, videos, and other content in a slideshow format that disappears after 24 hours. Stories appear at the top of the Instagram app, and users can tap on a story to view it. Instagram Stories offer a range of interactive features, such as stickers, polls, quizzes, music, and more, which users can use to engage with their audience. Stories can be shared with a user’s followers, and users can also choose to share stories with specific users through direct messaging. Instagram Stories provide a fun and engaging way to share in-the-moment content, connect with followers, and express creativity on the platform. In a nutshell, the Instagram Stories are helpful for:

  • Pro-Stories 1: Increased engagement
  • Pro-Stories 2: Authenticity and behind-the-scenes content
  • Pro-Stories 3: Creativity and storytelling
  • Pro-Stories 4: Timeliness and urgency
  • Pro-Stories 5: Increased reach and discoverability
  • Pro-Stories 6: Audience insights
  • Pro-Stories 7: Integration with other features
  • Pro-Stories 8: Business and influencer features for driving sales and partnerships

There are more advantages to Instagram Stories, but it’s up to you to discover more about Stories and Instagram storytelling.

How to be one step ahead of the Instagram Stories Algorithm

Instagram Stories, a feature that allows users to share temporary photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, can be a powerful tool for businesses, influencers, and individuals to engage with their audience, promote their brand, and tell their story. Here are some ways to take advantage of Instagram Stories:

  1. Behind-the-Scenes Content: Share exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business or personal life to give your audience a unique and authentic view into your world and your story. This can help build a more intimate connection with your audience and create a sense of exclusivity — hail to Stories!
  2. Product/Service Highlights: Use Instagram Stories to showcase your products, services, or upcoming launches. Share product demos, tutorials, and testimonials to highlight the value and benefits of what you offer.
  3. Polls, Quizzes, and Q&A: Use interactive features such as polls, quizzes, and Q&A sessions in your Instagram Stories to engage with your audience and encourage them to participate. This can be helpful for valuable insights, feedback, and engagement fostering.
  4. Storytelling: Utilize the storytelling format of Instagram Stories to share compelling narratives that captivate your audience. It can be helpful to use a combination of photos, videos, captions, and stickers to create visually appealing and engaging stories.
  5. Behind-the-Scenes Takeovers: Collaborate with other users or influencers to take over each other’s Instagram Stories for a day. This can help you tap into each other’s audience, cross-promote, and reach a wider audience.
  6. Exclusive Offers and Promotions: Use Instagram Stories to share exclusive offers, discounts, and promotions to incentivize your audience to take action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or participating in a contest.
  7. Engage with User-Generated Content: Share user-generated content in your Instagram Stories to highlight your community, show appreciation to your followers, and encourage others to create content related to your brand.
  8. Add Location and Hashtags: Use location tags and relevant hashtags in your Instagram Stories to achieve more discoverability and reach. This can help your stories appear in location-based searches and hashtag feeds, exposing your content to a wider audience.
  9. Use Instagram Stories Ads: Consider utilizing Instagram Stories ads to reach a broader audience, promote your products/services, or drive traffic to your website. Instagram Stories ads can be helpful to boost your brand awareness and reach.
  10. Monitor and Analyze Performance: Keep track of your Instagram Stories’ performance using Instagram Insights or third-party analytics tools. Analyze metrics such as views, engagement, and completion rates to understand what resonates with your audience and optimize your content accordingly.

By leveraging the various features and strategies available in Instagram Stories, you can create engaging, interactive, and authentic content that helps you connect with your audience, promote your brand, and achieve your business goals.


Instagram Stories is a feature on Instagram that helps users to share photos, videos, and other content in a slideshow format that disappears after 24 hours. Instagram Stories offer interactive features such as stickers, polls, quizzes, music, and more. To outsmart the Instagram algorithm and take advantage of Instagram Stories, users can share behind-the-scenes content, showcase products or services, use polls, quizzes, and Q&A sessions, and utilize the storytelling format to engage with their audience and promote their brand. Instagram Stories can provide a unique and authentic way to connect with followers, foster engagement, and express creativity on the platform, which is helpful for any enterprise.

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