May 3, 2019

5 mistakes to avoid to rank higher on Instagram stories feed

A man hand holding iphone with search page screen of instagram stories. Instagram is largest and most popular photograph social networking

In 2016, Instagram launched the ‘Stories’ feature on the photo-sharing app. But it wasn’t the first social media platform to think up the idea. The feature was initially launched by Snapchat. But within two years of its release, the daily active users on Instagram Stories were twice as much as that of Snapchat. 

Want to know how the Instagram Stories feed is populated? Read on.

Previously, Instagram used a simple reverse-chronological order to show pictures in feeds and stories. But as the capabilities of computers improved and Instagram started analysing their users – especially after Facebook acquired the app – it started using a new complex algorithm. 

Some of the factors that are taken into consideration nowadays include: 

1. How interested users are in consuming content similar to their account by analysing past behaviour 

2. The recentness of your posts like the original method

3. The relationship of your account with your users; that is, how often they interact with your posts by likes, comments, tags etc.

Apart from these, there are other minor factors, such as how often a person uses the app, the number of accounts they follow, and how much time they spend scrolling through the app. According to a survey published by Instagram, the new algorithm shows people up to 90% of their friends’ posts, up from just 30% that the earlier algorithm used to display.

Is it necessary for brands to worry about ranking higher on the Instagram Stories feed?

Yes! Stories are an excellent way to capture your users’ attention without filling up their feeds with just posts. Stories also allow brands to create informal, yet more personal content that can help users really connect with the brand. Additionally, Instagram Stories can be enhanced by using various text fonts, stickers, filters, emoticons etc. to grab your users’ attention and differentiate your stories from others. Stories are also the perfect way to promote a single product or share a piece of exciting news since each story lasts for only 24 hours.

Here are five things you should avoid if you want to feature higher on Instagram Stories:

1. Leaving out the links or having incorrect links

2. Using too many hashtags or not using any at all

3. Using extremely tiny text

4. Making your stories too text heavy

5. Long gaps in storytelling

Here’s a deep dive into each of these –

1. Leaving out the links or having incorrect links

Through Instagram Stories, you can link products, a landing page on your website, a post on Instagram, tickets to your event and so much more! Brands use this feature of Stories to instantly try and convert the interest of users by taking them to the respective pages. A mistake that many brands make is incorrect linking or sometimes forget adding a link altogether. If you hype a product but don’t give consumers the means to buy it, you end up losing out on many quality conversions. Additionally, through broken or incorrect links you mislead users and mess up the user experience. Potential customers may end up associating your brand with just this unfortunate experience. 

2. Using too many hashtags or not using any at all

Hashtags let new users find new content. So, if you aren’t using hashtags in your stories, you’re definitely missing out on all the traction you could receive from consumers who aren’t aware of your brand. On the other hand, don’t spam your stories by using too many hashtags. The canvas available on a story is limited so choose the hashtags you want to put out wisely.

3. Using extremely tiny text

Remember, your end goal is to get users to engage with your account, which is why you should choose the font size wisely. Your efforts could go to waste if you add tags or hashtags in tiny font size. Consider another scenario – you highlight five unique features of your product but use a small font, making it difficult for users to read it. In both these cases, you end up hampering the user experience instead of benefitting from it.

4. Making your Instagram stories text heavy

Instagram, as a platform, is entirely about sharing photos and videos. While using extended captions for Instagram posts makes sense, making your Instagram stories text heavy might not bring out the best benefits. Every story, by default, plays barely for a few seconds, and if your photos are text-heavy, your users might not have the time to read all the text you add to it. Let your photos do the talking instead! 

5. Long gaps in storytelling

Instagram Stories can be used for so many different things, but it is primarily used to tell a story. When a brand starts a story, consumers expect it to be continual and finish over a stipulated period. For example, let’s say a brand posts its first Story – part of an event – in the morning, and the next post only later in the evening. Users will fail to make sense of the entire picture due to an incomplete story like this, and will eventually lose interest in it. Additionally, since a story stays available for only 24 hours, by the time you get to the conclusion of a series of stories, the first part of the story will be lost. 

Last Words

Ranking algorithms are built around the aim of giving users a customised and relevant online experience. For this reason, your focus should always be to provide your users with the best experience too. As and when there is an increase in the number of users interacting and sharing your brand’s stories, you should see an improvement in rankings as well. 


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