How to get your Stories to show up on Instagram’s Explore tab

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Instagram is putting a bigger focus on Stories.
Photo: Pixabay

Instagram revealed today that it is making changes to its Explore tab to start promoting Stories from people you don’t follow.

The Explore tab is also getting redesigned with a new navigation bar that has shortcuts for Shopping and IGTV to go with channel topics that Instagram’s algorithms think you’ll be interested in. Adding Stories to the Explore tab gives users a new way to discover great content you don’t follow as well as giving your content another avenue towards peoples eyeballs. But actually getting your Stories onto the Explore tab isn’t all that simple.

Story clips will automatically start playing when you look at your Explore grid. Tapping on a story lets you watch it in full screen and then Instagram also queues up Stories from other people that are similar. So, for instance, if you’re watching basketball highlights, you’ll get more basketball videos up next.

TechCrunch talked to Instagram product lead for discovery Will Ruben about the changes and were given a few tips on how the explore algorithm works. If you want to grow your audience through Stories on the Explore tab, here are a few things to keep in mind when posting:

1 – Accounts the viewers follows and likes are the strongest input for the algorithm. Instagram tries to show similar content based on that, so if your page is very travel-focused, you probably won’t draw in a lot of viewers that like makeup videos.
2 – Stories with video get the highest ranking because they auto-play in the Explore tab and get more attention.
3 – Using a lot of text in your Story is a no-no. You can do it, but Instagram’s algorithm prefers highly visual content.
4 – Make sure you Story’s content is similar to what is on your profile. Baking tips from an account that mostly posts about music probably won’t be highlighted in Explore.
5 – Original content reigns supreme. Reposts of other people’s Stories are demoted by the algorithm.

Instagram also uses computer vision to detect content of a Story. When a users interacts with that type of content it then shows more of the same. This explains why my Explore tab is mostly a bunch travel pics mixed with Zion Williams highlights. Staying consistent with your page and Stories appears to be one of the most important factors Instagram looks for, so once you’ve narrowed in on a theme keep banging on it and create alt accounts for the extra stuff you’re dying to post.