Instagram Story Viewer Order: How Does It Work?

Updated on September 22, 2023

7 min to read

Content Writer

Published May 29, 2023

Instagram Story Viewer Order: How Does It Work?
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Wondering how the Instagram Story viewer order works? 

You’re not alone. 

Instagram users, social media managers, and agencies endeavor to learn about the Instagram Story views order so they can leverage the insight they get to improve their social media campaigns. 

Continue reading to learn how Instagram sorts your Story viewers list, why it matters, and how to leverage the information.

Table of contents

What you’ll learn:

  • Can you see who views your Instagram Stories?
  • How does Instagram sort Story viewers?
  • Why does your Story viewer order matter?
  • Tips for creating awesome Instagram Stories
  • Customers Also Ask
  • Tell your client’s Story with Vista Social

Can you see who views your Instagram Stories? 

Let’s start with the question: Can you see who views your Instagram Stories? 

Yes—and Instagram made sure everyone knows about it. 

When publishing Instagram Stories, you can see the list of Instagram users who viewed your Story. Simply tap ‘Activity’ in the bottom-left corner of your Story with a thumbnail of the top three viewers’ photos (it’s really hard to miss).

Tap 'Activity' to check.
Image Source:

Instagram will then pull up your Instagram Story viewer list along with their reactions (if any). You can also send them a message or manage your connection on Instagram from there. 

Pull up your Instagram Story viewer list.
Image Source:

While it makes sense for this list to be in chronological order, Instagram sorts users based on other factors instead. 

How does Instagram sort Story viewers?

Similar to Instagram following list order, Instagram doesn’t fully disclose how the Story viewers list is sorted.  

You can read the Instagram community guidelines, policies, and Help Center articles all you want. Instagram DOES NOT expressly state the rules on how Story viewers are sorted.

However, the Instagram algorithm for the Stories viewers list is clearly (and verifiably) affected by a handful of specific factors. 

Here’s what we know so far: 

1. Initial Instagram Stories viewers list order

If the Story has less than 50 views and zero interactions, the Instagram Story viewers list is in reverse chronological order. 

This is actually pretty easy to verify. 

Whenever you post a Story, new viewers will have their names displayed in bold. They also appear at the very top of the Instagram Story viewer list. 

2. Reactions and replies

If someone reacts to your client’s Story (like, emoji, or avatar), they will always appear at the top of the list alongside other users who reacted. 

The same goes for those who reply to Instagram Stories via Direct Messages (DMs). In this case, a snippet of their reply will be visible in the Story viewers list. 

This makes it easier to decide whether to respond or hit them with an Instagram restrict vs block

3. Recent interactions

Past 50 viewers are where the Story viewers list goes haywire. 

However, there are still obvious patterns that everyone can easily confirm. 

For one, you often see your most interacting users at the top of the Story viewer list. These are followers who frequently engage your Instagram content, be it through comments, likes, or DMs. 

4. Profile views

While it’s hard to verify on your own, several reports—including countless independent experiments on Reddit—confirm that profile visits greatly impact the Instagram Story viewer order. 

If you see an account that appears consistently at the top of the Story viewer list, they’re probably among your client’s most engaged followers.

5. Facebook friends

Some users also notice that their top Instagram Story viewers are also connected to them on Facebook. 

Ever since Instagram was acquired by Meta (formerly the Facebook company), the integration between the two social networks is more prominent than ever. You can sync profile photos between accounts, automatically cross-promote Stories, synchronize contacts, and more.

6. Non-followers

Accounts that don’t follow your account but view your Story are automatically placed at the bottom of the list. 

This is something you can easily verify, especially if you or your client has a public Instagram account. Just look at the bottom of your Instagram Story views list, and you should see unfamiliar non-followers.

Interestingly, there’s a high chance that these non-followers are fake accounts or “bots” intended for spam. 

7. Instagram updates

If there’s one surefire factor that affects your Instagram Story viewers order, it’s the unpredictability of Instagram app updates. 

Anything and everything you learn in this post may no longer be true a week, month, or even year from now. 

As such, always be on the lookout for the latest Instagram updates. See if anything changes in your (or your client’s) Instagram Story viewers list and try to work out which factors above remain relevant. 

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Why does your Story viewer order matter?

At this point, you should be more than equipped to make sense of your Instagram Story viewers’ order. 

The question is, why does it matter in the first place?

Here are the top reasons why every agency or social media manager should pay attention to Story views:

  • Optimize your content strategy for maximum engagement: The users who consistently appear at the top of your Story viewers list are probably your client’s biggest fans. Analyze them to learn their preferences—their profiles are a goldmine of potential hashtags, content formats, and Instagram notes ideas with the highest engagement returns. 
  • Win over disengaged audiences: Make your way to the bottom of your Story viewers list to find your client’s not-so-engaged followers. Analyzing their profiles will tell you a lot about the content they enjoy, helping you tweak your strategy and squeeze more engagement. 
  • Help clients land quality prospects: Being at the top of the Story viewers list is a strong indication of interest. For clients, these users are prime targets for their lead-generation efforts. 

Lastly, monitoring your Instagram Story viewers will help you create better Stories over time. 

What you want are multiple names sitting at the top spot of the viewers’ list. Diversify your strategy until you find a set of repeatable Story ideas that cater to more followers. 

Tips for creating awesome Instagram Stories

Happy with your client’s Instagram Story viewers list? 

Getting to know their most engaged audiences and adapting your strategy to their preferences is just the beginning. 

Below are additional tips to help you make the most out of Instagram Stories: 

1. Use a social media scheduler with direct publishing to Instagram Stories

Vista Social is one of the first SMM platforms to ever offer direct publishing to Instagram Stories. 

If your client has an Instagram Business account, simply connect their profile to Vista Social, launch the publisher tool, and schedule a Story. Vista Social will automatically publish the Story on your client’s behalf—no need to manually post it. 

This is a HUGE advantage compared to other “scheduling” tools that can only set reminders for Instagram Stories.  

To schedule a Story, log in to Vista Social, click ‘Publish,’ and select ‘Publish a single post.’ Prepare your content as usual and select ‘Publish as Story’ in the drop-down menu (below the first comment field). 

Schedule a Story.

Why should you schedule Stories through Vista Social? 

Check these out: 

  • Get posting time suggestions: By analyzing previous content performance, Vista Social determines the best posting times for maximum engagement. You can find and use posting time suggestions in the second step of the publishing process. 
  • Cross-promote in a snap: Want to share your Instagram Story with a wider audience? Vista Social’s unified publisher lets you schedule your Story content—be it a video or image—on multiple social media networks simultaneously. 
  • Stream content curation: With Vista Social, you can create “Smart Publishers” that automatically curate content from authoritative sources. Alternatively, use the bulk publishing option to source content from stock media sites, CSV files, blog RSS feeds, hashtag search results, and more. 

2. Use the ideal dimensions for Instagram Stories 

Believe it or not, Instagram Stories have a “safe area” that ensures the visibility of important elements. This can be a CTA, interactive sticker, brand mention, or hashtag. 

The ideal size for Instagram Stories is 1080×1920—that’s an aspect ratio of 9:16. 

Luckily, you don’t need to learn how to resize photos on Instagram for this. Most modern phones can natively capture videos and photos with that aspect ratio. 

3. Repurpose old content into Stories 

Stories are meant to show a brand’s human and relatable side. 

And what can be more relatable than a short clip or photo dump with your client’s “behind the scenes” shots?

The only rule here is to be as genuine and unfiltered as possible. Just give the audience some context through well-written photo dump captions or perhaps extra elements like text overlays, GIF stickers, and voiceovers. 

If you’re feeling extra creative, you can try learning how to make a Reel with photos and multiple video clips. This will improve your client’s discoverability through Instagram’s dedicated “Reels” and “For You” pages. 

Customers Also Ask

What does the order of Instagram Story viewers mean?

The order of Instagram Story viewers can help you identify your most active followers. The more engagement and interactions, the higher someone will appear in your Instagram Story viewers list. 

Why is the same person always at the top of my Instagram Story views?

If the same person is always at the top of the Instagram Story viewers list, it could be because they engage with your client’s profile a lot. This may come in the form of profile visits, likes, comments, DMs, shares, and so on. 

Can you see how many times someone viewed your Instagram Story?

No, there’s no way to check how many times a specific user views your Instagram Story. You can only identify who saw your Story first since the viewers’ list is sorted in reverse chronological order (this will only work if the Story has less than 50 views). 

Tell your client’s Story with Vista Social

IG Stories is the breakthrough that enabled Instagram to go toe-to-toe with TikTok—the undisputed king of short-form video. 

Stories are compelling, relatable, interactive, and definitely eye-catching. But for Stories to do their best, you need to be equipped with the right SMM solution. 

Vista Social can help take your Instagram marketing strategy to the next level.

With features like AI content generator, posting time suggestions, direct publishing to Stories, and automated content curation, your Instagram storytelling efforts are guaranteed to pay off. 

Try Vista Social today by creating a free account!

About the Author

Content Writer

Jimmy Rodela is a seasoned freelance writer and content marketer with over 8 years of experience, with work appearing on sites such as, Yahoo, SEMRush, and SearchEnginePeople. He specializes in digital marketing, small business strategy, marketing automation, and content development.

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