The Algorithm of Compelling Stories

The Algorithm of Compelling Stories

We no longer want to speak to the people. We want the people to speak to us. 

Although few people know exactly how many points are allocated to each “effort” used to “outsmart” the algorithm, there are a few tactics that can be used to better your chances. The Instagram algorithm is not only looking at views or reach, but it is focusing on the interactions and engagement from your current audience. Therefore increasing engagement is key.

When it comes to the Instagram Story Algorithm, the amount of time spent viewing your content is a factor when determining its popularity. Thus, ensuring your followers interact with your content is crucial when you are looking to outsmart the algorithm. 

“The algorithm takes into account all the interactions you receive on your Instagram Stories — this means, the more that a user interacts with your Instagram Stories, the more likely your posts will show up in their feed.”

Interaction bait

Interaction Bait is any feature you use with the intention of having someone “bite”. 

For example: Polls, Questions, Stickers, Sliders, Quizzes and even a call to action being a Direct Message or Screenshot can better your interaction. Believe it or not, this is no IQ test – the simpler and easier for people to interact, the better. However, there is a fine line between simple and so simple that people start “speed-tapping” through your stories. 

Some of the best ways to ‘interaction bait’ can be done by making use of Instagram’s stories’ features. 

Instagram’s stories’ features. 

In 2018, Instagram launched interactive features that can be added to your stories in order to ‘bait’ your followers to engage authentically with your content. 

Say goodbye to the silent influencer, and hello to your new, interactive friend.” (thelovelyescapist)

Questions & Polls

This feature allows not only entices your followers to engage with your content by asking you a question but it also notifies those that asked you a question, once it has been reshared and answered – giving you an automatic story view. Polls, on the other hand, are a quick and easy way for your followers to engage with your content.

Location Location Location

By adding a geolocation tag to your post, you can increase your engagement by 79%. It is one of the most undervalued ways to generate traffic to your profile, believe it or not. When you use location stickers, people who aren’t already following you can discover your stories through the explore page.


Adding hashtags to your Instagram story is equally as important. When people search on hashtags there’s a story-section! This means that your story is visible to everyone who watches your particular hashtag’s story. By adding a hashtag to your story – you can increase your reach by up to 12.6%.


Prompting your followers is one of the best ways to generate engagement.

Add longer text to your stories.

By adding longer text to your stories, your followers will have to “hold to read”. This simple navigation triggers Instagram’s algorithm by noting that the user is interested in this – all based on the “hold to read” action. “Tap for more” is yet another prompt that you can include as text or a GIF – this entices your followers to continue watching your story instead of “speed-tapping” through. 

Is your content “screen-shot worthy?”

Did you know? That you are awarded more “points” when your followers screenshot your content? It’s true! Although the exact amount of points awarded are not publicly known, it sure helps when it comes to outsmarting the algorithm. Some examples of this are original wallpapers including your content, “fill in the blanks” and native content.

Slide into the DM’s 

Well, at least, get them to slide into yours…

When someone direct messages you from your stories, the algorithm awards you with points! Meaning that your story will be shown to more people. It’s simple!

Contagious Content

On the upside, this means that Influencers and brands will now need to create and share only the best content and become more readily available to their audience and followers. 

Video & Animation

Video and animation is the way to go. Video allows you to be concise and to the point within the first few seconds of your ad or post. 

“Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users” (Wordstream)

It’s therefore imperative to create unique content in the form of video in order to not only grab their attention but entice the viewers to take action or learn more. 

“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” (Jon Buscall)

Read our blog on creating contagious content to find out more!