What Navigation in Instagram Stories Actually Means

Harshita Agrawal

Harshita Agrawal is the Founder at eSocMedia. She is a social media and influencer marketing specialist who spends most of her time behind the screen. She's also an avid reader and a travel enthusiast.

How many times have you seen Instagram insights for your Stories and come across the term “Navigation”? The Navigation tab is the metric that helps to understand how viewers are responding to your Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories have become one of the most used features on Instagram with 500 million people using Instagram Stories every day. Launched less than 3 years ago, Stories have become an important channel for people to express themselves on Instagram. Even brands participate graciously in Stories posting 2.5 stories per week on an average.

With such hustle around Instagram Stories, it has become important to understand how well are your Instagram Stories received. With Instagram Insights provided for your stories, you can learn how many users are viewing, forwarding, or replying to your stories. You may also learn which Stories are bringing more attention and visits to your Instagram account.

In this article, we will look at the ways to understand Instagram Insights for your Instagram Stories with the primary focus on the Navigation tab. 

What Does Navigation Tab Signify and how to Understand it?

The navigation tab is a peculiar feature as it can get slightly confusing when you are trying to interpret its insights. Partly ambiguous, partly intelligent, navigation tab is the perfect way to know if your story is perceived. You get some understanding of people who are exiting your story or watching it again with their interaction numbers.

Navigation involves 4 important metrics:


Back is the number of times a viewer has tapped on the left side of the screen to rewatch the previous story. 

Back is a good sign as it indicates that a lot of people have decided to re-watch a story as it has created an impact. They may want to re-watch the story for its content or to participate or just have a look again. If you have many stories and a user back taps, each back tap would take them to your previous story. 


Forward is the number of times a viewer has tapped on the right side of the screen to move to the next story.

Before we discuss what these numbers tell you, it’s important to know that the forward tap is the general way how viewers browse Instagram Stories. Many viewers are forward tapping to swiftly move forward through all of their Stories. 

Hence, if you go through the Navigation metrics of multiple stories, you would find the highest numbers for the Forward tap. Though a high number of Forward taps are normal, it definitely indicates that your story wasn’t interesting for the viewer to wait for it to finish. 

For Stories with similar number of viewers, you can compare the number of Forward taps to know which stories were more captivating. Lesser the number of Forward taps, more interesting is your Instagram Story.

Next Story

A powerful metric, the Next story is when a user slides your Instagram story to stop watching your stories and move to the next user. If you add many Instagram Stories, then this metric can help you know at which stories your maximum users drop off. 

Analyze the Next Story metric for all your Stories and look for the Stories with maximum Next Story numbers. This will signify your losing stories where maximum people decide to move to the next user and hence, stories that you need to avoid. It can also help you learn the number of Instagram Stories that you should add at any given point. 


An Exit means that the user has stopped watching Instagram Stories at this point. Now, this may, may not be related to your Story and not an important metric to understand your content. Users may exit to do some other stuff or check their Instagram feed or swipe up to click on a link. 

How to Check Navigation Insights for your Instagram Stories:

You’re eligible to check your Instagram Insights only if your Instagram account is a business account and not a personal account. So, the first thing would be to check if your account is business or personal. 

Go to your Instagram Settings -> Account. If you see the option as Switch to Personal Account, it means you already have a Business Account. If you don’t, then click on “Switch to Professional Account”. Now, you can verify your details and connect your Facebook account to switch to a Business account or Creator account. Once your account is shifted, you can access your Instagram Analytics on your Instagram app. 

Now, you can click on the “Eye” icon on any story to check the Navigation metrics. Just click on the “Eye” icon, click on the Insights tab on the left and scroll down. The last section would show the Navigation metrics that you can use to analyze your Instagram Stories. 

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