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Everything you need to know about Instagram Story Viewers

March 12, 2019

Find out how Instagram prioritizes your viewers and learn how to increase your viewers and shoppers with Stories.

Find out the truth about the Instagram Story Viewer list right here and now.

Learn how the Story viewers list is prioritized, according to an interview with Instagram’s Product Lead Julian Gutman.

Then, let us show you how to get more people looking at your Stories – and how to turn viewers into customers.

By the time you finish reading, you’ll know everything there is to know about Story Viewers, and how to use Instagram to meet your most important business goals.

Increase your viewership and convert viewers into customers starting now!

What is the Instagram Story Viewers List?

“Story viewers” is a list of people who’ve viewed your Story.

Recently (February 2019), Instagram updated the Story viewers list and now viewer history is only available for 24 hours.
Instagram Viewer lists Gone
Source: @theviridiansea Twitter

The update upset many Instagram users, who voiced their outrage across other social media outlets.

However, user outrage is based on a misunderstanding of how the Viewer list works. Many people think its’ a list of people who’ve viewed your Story the most.

The Biggest Myth About Instagram Story Viewers

The biggest myth surrounding the viewers list is that it shows who’s “stalking” your Stories.

In fact, it’s actually the opposite.

The viewers aren’t arranged by who’s viewing your Story the most.

According to Julian Gutman, Product Lead for Instagram Home “…The people that show up on that list are not the people that stalk you the most.”

Instead, viewers are arranged by whom Instagram thinks you’re closest to, based on your interactions with them — not the other way around.

How Instagram Determines your closeness

Instagram won’t reveal details about how its viewer algorithm works, but we do know they judge closeness by how often you:

  • Visit their profile
  • Like their posts
  • Comment on their post feeds
  • View their Stories

Who you’re connected to on Facebook also influences the algorithm, since Facebook is Instagram’s parent company.

What about the people on your list that you’ve never interacted with?

Gutman says, “If you check the list multiple times, it tries to show you a new set of people.

So, if you’ve checked the list multiple times in one day, the viewer may be encouraging you to connect with new people.

How Does the Viewers List Help Brands?

Since the algorithm is based on your interaction with users and not the other way around, the Story Viewers list isn’t helpful to your brand marketing.

The good news is that Instagram Analytics has plenty of information about your viewers! Brands have a lot to gain from Instagram Insights, which reveal far better information for businesses.

Find out How Popular Your Stories Are

Instagram insights offer a peek into how people are reacting to your Stories. So, even though you can’t access a list of user names, you can discover how popular  your content is.

Using the filters in your Stories insights, you can discover what type of action people take when viewing your Stories.

Find out about how users are reacting to your content with the following insights

Find out more about how users are reacting to your content by referencing the following insights:

  • How many people viewed your Story: Reach
  • How many viewers tapped away from your Story: Exited
  • How many viewers tapped ahead to see the next item in your Story: Forward
  • How many times they opened a link in your Story: Link Opens
  • How many users tapped away from  your Story and moved on to someone else’s: Next Story
  • How many replies did a photo or video get: Replies

If you’ve never used Instagram insights before, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to Instagram Analytics. You’ll learn, step-by-step, how to use all Insight’s data to grow your audience and increase engagement on Instagram!


In the next section, we’ll share some valuable tips to increase your Instagram Story Viewership

Why Use Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are a fun and engaging way to relate to your followers. They can include any of the following:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Posts
  • Stickers
  • Hashtags

While Stories are ephemeral (they only last 24 hours), you can add them to your profile by turning them into highlights. Highlights stay on your profile until you remove them.

There are now over 500 million people that use the Instagram app every day, according to a recent report by Statista.

Number of daily active Instagram Stories users from October 2016 to January 2019

Whatever your brand, product, or industry, Instagram has an audience for you. The question is, how do you reach them?

In this section, we’ll give you some tips for increasing the number of viewers for your Stories.

7 Ways to Get More Instagram Story Viewers

Make the most of your Stories by using the following features. They’ll help to expand your reach, engage your followers, and convert your audience to paying customers.

1. Add Hashtags To Stories To Get Seen In More Feeds

Use relevant hashtags to place your Stories into search feeds, so more viewers will notice you.
Hashtags work best when you don’t spam them, but instead research and choose them carefully.

You don’t need a lot of hashtags to increase viewers. Target a niche audience by selecting hashtags that potential viewers or buyers will be typing in the search boxes.

2. Use Location Stickers And Geotagging To Get More Viewers And Boost Your In-person Traffic

Location stickers and geotagging are powerful ways to increase your following and drive users to your physical location.

location sticker geotagging examples
Source: Julian Castro on Instagram

If you have a brick and mortar location, events, or popups, be sure to add location stickers into your Stories!

3. Use Questions And Polls Stickers To Engage Your Audience

Questions and polls help you engage and connect with your audience.

Coffee and Convos on IG Question stickers

Use question and poll stickers to spark conversation with audience members and keep them browsing your Stories for more.

4. Use Instagram Influencers To Dramatically Increase Your Viewers And Engagement

Are you looking for a massive amount of new viewers? Hire an influencer to promote your brand!
No matter what size your business is, there are influencers to fit your budget and help you expand your viewership.

Influencers can promote your brand through product images, takeovers, and recommendations.

Micro-influencers are especially helpful for small businesses. Even though their audiences are smaller, micro-influencer engagement rates are usually higher than big-name influencers. Plus, their prices are usually affordable for any size business.

5. Create A Compelling Instagram Profile And Bio With Plenty Of Stories Highlights

Your Instagram profile is the first place viewers go to learn about your brand and decide if they want to follow you.

Instagram Profile Hightlights
Source: Richard Branson on Instagram

Fill your profile out completely and add your best Stories as highlights, so they remain on your profile for as long as you like.

6. Use Instagram Live To Give Your Brand A Boost In The Newsfeed.

Instagram Live, a feature of Stories, helps you get attention in your users’ newsfeed. Go live often to keep your brand at the top of viewers’ minds.

Create engaging live videos that encourage users to interact and get to know the people behind your brand.

7. Promote Your Stories With Paid Advertising

Ready to grow your audience? Reach people who are looking for brands just like yours by promoting your Instagram posts and Stories.

Instagram has a wide assortment of stickers, features, and enhancements that help your brand to increase, engage, and convert your followers.

In the next section, we’ll give you some tips for converting your viewers into customers.

3 Ways to Convert Viewers into Shoppers

Shopping stickers and links in Instagram Stories and posts allow you to convert viewers into customers.

Shopping stickers don’t require your brand to have a large following or to be verified. The requirements are minimal.

Stickers are added to images in your Stories and posts and link to a full product page on Instagram.

Stickers are added to images in your Stories and posts and link to a full product page on Instagram.
Source: Stadium Goods on Instagram

The product page contains a large call-to-action that brings users directly to your website’s product page.

Some brands also have the ability to add swipe-up links to product pages.

Instagram Stories Shopping link example
Source: Chanel on Instagram

Here are 3 ways to convert more viewers into shoppers on Instagram

Three ways to convert Instagram Stories Viewers into Shoppers

1. Prompt Your Viewers To Click On Shopping Stickers!

In some cases, viewers may not know that an image has a product sticker attached.

For example, on an iPad, a Story with a shopping sticker has a “Tap to view products” label that disappears after a couple seconds. After about 6 seconds there is no label and no icon to indicate that a shopping sticker is attached to the image.

So, if your viewer is looking at the product image or reading a description, the shopping sticker prompt and icon may disappear by the time he or she finishes.

Shopping stickers are (sort of) new, and not everyone knows to tap on images. Plus, not all images have stickers attached. People don’t know there are stickers to tap unless they’re given a prompt.

Draw attention to your shoppable stickers with prompts, captions, or arrows that teach your viewers to tap on products for more information. This will help your shopping stickers get noticed!

2. Promote Your Instagram Account Outside the Platform

Send more traffic to your Instagram account and shopping catalog by promoting it on your other channels, including:

  • Other social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • From your website with Instagram icons
  • In your mailing list with images and Stories teasers

3. Create User-Generated Content Campaigns

According to a report by Turn To Networks, over 70% of U.S. consumers make at least one online purchase every month, and 25% purchase online weekly.

If you want to convert viewers to shoppers, user-generated content is a must:

  • Almost all consumers (90%) said that user-generated content is the most influential part of their buying decisions.
  • More than half (63%) believe user-generated content makes the shopping experience more authentic.
  • More than half (61%) say user-generated content encourages brand engagement
  • Most shoppers (65%) say user-generated content is more interesting than brand-created content.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) is any non-paid content that other people create about your brand. This includes images and videos that show or mention your products, reviews, and recommendations.

One way brands encourage followers to create UGC is by offering giveaways or sweepstakes to users who post images of their products along with hashtags.

Others offer a chance to be featured. For example, Airbnb asks users to tag their images to be featured on its Instagram account page.

View this post on Instagram

got lucky with this airbnb. 💯

A post shared by jared chase bowser (@jaredchasebowser) on

Airbnb’s Instagram account is nearly all UGC content because they repost content generated by their customers.

Airbnb on Instagram

Boost Your Instagram Story Viewers To Increase Sales

The Instagram Story Viewers list is prioritized by how much you interact with other people and has nothing to do with how often they view your Stories.

To find out more about your Viewers, research your Instagram Insights which will give you valuable information about the people viewing your Stories.

Instagram offers a wide selection of tools that help brands build an audience, engage followers, and increase conversions.

Use a combination of shopping stickers in Stories and user-generated content to convert your Instagram viewers into customers.

7 Ways to Get More Instagram Story Viewers
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