In this article, we’re going to be talking about the Instagram followers list order (people that follow you), and also your Instagram following list order (the people that you follow). We’ll talk about how these lists are organized, and if they can help you tell when someone is “stalking” your profile (or alert people if you’re talking them)…
Social media apps can be overwhelming at times, but Instagram manages to keep a pretty clean and usable interface where everything more or less makes sense. None the less, it’s common to wonder why your followers are in a certain order, and the same goes for the accounts you’re following.
So, let’s talk about the order of your Instagram followers list, the order of your Instagram following list, and some additional information that may prove to be quite useful.
Understanding The Instagram Followers List Order
There are some variables at play here, and that’s a big part of what makes this so confusing and why you’ll find different answers across different websites, because:
- Instagram has changed the way follower lists are displayed over the years.
- Users are able to sort their own lists based a few different factors.
- Instagram will often run discreet tests which may apply to some user accounts but not others.
Originally, the following list order on Instagram was just based on when you followed them or they followed you. It was chronological.
This would allow people to keep track of big celebrity accounts to see who they are start following. You could just look at their latest follows and see who they’re hitting it off with.
For smaller personal accounts, believed to be accounts with around 200 followers or less, their followers/followings will likely still be in chronological order but once you get a larger account, or thanks to some other variables, you may not always be seeing follows in chronological order which as been causing some confusion in recent updates.
Instagram AI For Follower Lists
Now, the list of accounts you’re following and vice-versa aren’t nearly as simple as they used to be when they were displayed in chronological order.
These days, Instagram is leaving it up to their algorithm to order the list of accounts on your following screen. They’re using interesting and powerful AI along with their algorithm to “rank” accounts.
Stalker alert: There were rumors and discussions that the accounts that show up higher on your list are the people you “stalk” the most by browsing their profile, liking all their posts, and so on. We’re about to break down the Instagram algorithm for the following page, and you’ll see that there’s a lot more to it.
How Instagram Chooses The Followers List Order
There are numerous factors that play a role in this, then the algorithm assigns values to these various factors, runs its calumniators, and comes up with an order for which to display accounts.
It’s not easy to know any of these factors as 100% confirmed truth, because Instagram is very cagey about their algorithm (as are more tech companies that rely so heavily on a proprietary algo). As such, keep in mind that some of these things fall under the best guess category and others are based on various announcements from the company, patents they have filed, and other potential things. We can make some good guesses and inferences, even when Instagram doesn’t come out and openly say “this is exactly how it works”.
Factor 1: Interactions
Interactions are essentially engagements that you make with another account. It could mean liking their posts, sending them a DM, commenting on their pictures, and most other ways that one account can interact with another.
The accounts that you interact with the most will have a greater boost in terms of showing up at the top of your followers list, or the list of accounts that you follow in Instagram.
Factor 2: Mutuals
Having a large number of mutual friends with a particular account will indicate to Instagram that you and this person are probably friendly and in the same community. Even if that’s not the case, your relationship with someone who shares 150 mutual friends with you (especially when those mutuals are from different groups or cohorts) is a much closer connection than a random small business account you follow, or the kid who grow up next to your house but doesn’t know any of your other friends.
Accounts with a lot of mutual followers among themselves, at a higher than usual rate, is a sign that this isn’t just some random person you follow, you probably know them a bit better than that are might be more interested in seeing their posts.
Factor 3: Account Activity
It’s believed that an Instagram account that’s more active and posts more often will show up higher on follower lists. It makes sense that Instagram would want to prioritize posts from active accounts that are using the platform a lot, as opposed to giving any extra exposure to accounts that haven’t been posted to in years.
Final Thoughts on the Instagram Followers List Order
If you’re trying to pinpoint exactly what is responsible for the positioning in your Instagram followers list, just remember that this is a moving target.
We don’t expect Instagram to be too upfront about exactly why they decide to display things a certain way, especially when they’re using their proprietary algorithm. None the less, as a user, it’s good to inform yourself about why certain things show up on social media. For example, if you’re used to seeing the follower’s list in chronological order, it can be strange when you start to see a bunch of different accounts filling in those spaces.