Are your Instagram Story icons too big? How to adapt your approach

Some Instagram users suddenly have Story icons that are bigger than they used to be, and this could affect your engagement if you do not adapt.

Instagram, like all other social media platforms, is constantly changing and adapting to make the platform more appealing to use.

Although Instagram has not yet confirmed whether the new, bigger Story icons will be a permanent change or not, you will have to adapt your strategies if you want to keep the engagement on your Stories high.

Recent changes to the Instagram interface

Instagram may be one of the OG (original) social media platforms, but it is still used by 2 billion active users every month.

In order to stay relevant and to hopefully keep all of these active users happy, Instagram (like most other social media sites) is in a continual cycle of upgrading and updating its interface to keep things fresh.

In fact, since the beginning of 2023, Instagram has already introduced a whole slew of new features and changes.

This includes adding a multiple link function for bios, adding a “Following”-only view to users’ main feeds, introducing collaborative posts, removing the Shop Tab, and much more.

Are your Instagram Story icons too big? How to adapt your approach

Although most of the changes that platforms like Instagram make to their interfaces are supposed to make the platforms relatively easier to use and navigate, it can be a constant battle for marketers and businesses to try and stay ahead of this curve.

Near the end of May 2023, many Instagram users logged onto the platform as normal and were surprised to see that the Instagram Story icons at the top of their screens were suddenly much, much larger than they had always been.

This change is only showing up for some users though, and Instagram has yet to release an official statement or explanation for why this is happening.

It is, of course, entirely possible that these new ‘too big’ Story icons are a simple glitch or bug in the system. However, it is more likely that Instagram is testing out this feature with a few users first before rolling it out to the rest of the platform.

This means that these bigger Story icons may actually be the first indication that Instagram will be focusing much more on Stories moving forward, as an extension of the other conversational features that have been introduced on the platform recently.

Whether this turns out to be true or not, one thing that is certain – you will need to adapt your approach to your Instagram Stories. This is because your stories will now have to rank even higher on users’ feeds to even make it onto their home screens.

Instagram’s renewed focus on conversation and connection

Some of the most recent changes that have been made to the Instagram interface (including the new Notes feature and the Collaborative Collections feature) indicate a real push to make Instagram the platform where people come to connect.

The same can be said for some of the changes that will be coming to the platform really soon (like the update to the Add Yours Story feature and various collaborative profile features).

Stories are certainly one of the most organic ways to connect with your audience on the platform, and it may be the key to keeping your brand top of mind.

How Instagram ranks stories

The Instagram algorithm uses what they call “signals” to determine which stories are shown first (ranked highly) on a particular user’s feed. The most important ranking signals for Instagram Stories are:

  • A user’s viewing history – Have they clicked on and watched your Stories before?
  • A user’s past interactions with your Stories – Do they regularly like, comment, share or reply to your Stories?
  • The user’s proximity to you – Does the user regularly interact with your profile?

The best strategies for ensuring that your Instagram Stories rank high

About 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. And from what we know about how the Instagram algorithm ranks Stories, it is absolutely crucial to keep the engagement on your Stories high.

Especially if you want to make it onto the Home screen of your target audience –since so few bigger icons fit.

Some of the best strategies for improving the engagement on your Instagram Stories include:

  • Make sure to utilize newly-introduced features like Candid Stories and Add Yours stories, as the algorithm usually favors early adopters.
  • Encourage responses from your audience with polls, quizzes and questions to keep engagement numbers up.
  • Create exclusive value within your stories that encourage users to click. This includes story-only offers, time-sensitive news, contests and more.