Here’s how to make sure all the blood, sweat and tears you’re putting into your Instagram is worth it.
The 2021 Digital Report from We Are Social and Hootsuite found that social media usage is now equivalent to more than 53% of the world’s total population, with 4.20 billion people using social media each month.
A fad, this is not.
While you might be active on the platform, how do you know if you’re winning at the ‘gram? If your social media strategy is connecting and engaging with your target audience?
That’s where Instagram Analytics or Instagram Insights enter the chat.
Reviewing and revising your Instagram based on the hard data means you’re effectively using the platform as a tool to meet your marketing goals and build a loyal and engaged community.
Let’s look at some tips and tools for using Instagram Analytics and how you can use the data to learn valuable information about your audience and inform your larger digital marketing strategy.
Instagram Grid & Account Metrics
Impressions & Reach
At a high level, you can see your recent impressions and reach for your posts. These show at the top of the screen when you click on the Insights graph button on your profile.
You can quickly see how many times your posts have been seen (Impressions), as well as how many unique people have seen your posts (Reach).
If your reach has gone up or down significantly, there are a few things to investigate; the content you have been posting, caption length and tone and your hashtag usage. Look at what’s changed regarding these elements and see if you can work out why your engagement has changed along with it.
Profile Views & Followers
Profile views is a handy metric as it shows you how many times users have looked at your profile. Clicking through to your profile shows a high level of engagement from the user – they haven’t just seen or liked your image; they’ve clicked through to find out more about you, look at your other photos and possibly even follow you.
Followers are the next metric to check on the overview section. People can get their knickers in a twist about the follow and unfollow issue – where people will follow you, expecting you to follow back. If you don’t follow them back, often they will unfollow you. Worst of all, even if you do follow them back, they still may unfollow you as they want to grow their followers!
So, don’t get too hung up about followers. In 2021, engagement is the metric you want to be focusing on. Yes, it’s nice to get followers but don’t let it consume your reason for being on Instagram in the first place.
Likes, Comments & Saves
If you look in the Top Posts section, you’ll be able to drill down into your post performances. You can change the date range from the default seven days to up to two years which is very handy if you want to look at the bigger picture. You do have to remember you won’t get any stats on images you posted before you switched to a business account.
You can then filter by content type (photos, videos or carousel posts) and metric too.
It’s a quick way to look at how your different content has performed in terms of reach, impressions, comments, likes and even saves.
This is a great section to check out – it tells you a lot about your followers, including when your followers are on Instagram. It breaks it down by the hour, which helps work out when are the best times to post your content.
It also shares a gender breakdown and city and country location for your followers. Having this information is useful as you can see what sort of audience you are attracting and compare if it aligns with your goals. If you are a local business in Perth and your followers are all in rural France, perhaps you aren’t doing the right things to attract your target audience.
Looking at all these insights for your Instagram posts, you will see what content has worked well and what has bombed. There is so much to consider on Instagram, from posting times, content type and hashtags, so it can sometimes feel a bit like a minefield, one you may not be sure is worth the effort in pursuing.
But remember that even the most ‘boring’ businesses can usually find quirky ways to make an impression on this platform – sometimes all it takes is a bit of creativity, and the stats to back up your content plan!
Instagram Story Metrics
The completion rate tells you how many people have viewed your story in its entirety. A high completion rate means that people have spent time watching or tap through each slide until reaching the end.
To calculate this rate, divide the number of viewers of your last Instagram Story slide by the number who viewed the first slide and times by 100.
Your completion rate can tell you if you are posting too much or if the content is simply not resonating with your audience.
Tap Forward, Tap Backward, Next Story & Exit
Taps forward are the amount of times viewers have tapped to view the next story in the queue, where a tap backward is the amount of times viewers have tapped to rewatch the previous story.
Exits are the number of times a user has left your story, and the next story refers to the number of users who have tapped to the next account’s story.
While all four of these features are different, they paint a picture of how your content performs, especially when you experiment with varying content types. For example, you can test whether lo-fi content keeps your audience engaged over polished, highly produced content.
Swipe-up links are only available for Instagram business profiles with over 10,000 followers, so if you’re one of the lucky ones, be sure to utilise this great feature.
Brands commonly use these links to drive traffic to their website yet are challenging to track. We recommend including UTM parameters in the link so you can follow the results (such as sessions, conversions) in Google Analytics.
If your audience is not swiping up on your Stories, direct them by adding text letting them know to “swipe up” or add pointing up arrows.
Replies are the number of times someone has directly responded to your Instagram Story. They live in your inbox and cannot be viewed by your followers. Pay attention to what type of content your followers are replying to and any patterns in what they are saying.
Instagram Ad Analytics
A click-through rate is used to measure how effective a paid Instagram post is, referring to the number of people who saw your ad and then actually clicking the ad. The formula to calculate the click-through rate is Clicks ÷ Impressions x 100. If you have a low rate, it might be worth reviewing whether your ad is compelling enough.
For lots of e-commerce brands, conversions (selling a product, signing up a new lead, securing an email address) are the ultimate goal for running paid ads.
Instagram Reel Analytics
Currently, the only analytics available for the Reels feature is view count, likes and comments, with the Insight section not including any additional information on Reels at this stage. However, it is essential to note that Reels count in your account’s overall reach for the week.
Other Tools You Can Use
There are also many other apps and tools out there that you can use to monitor your Instagram analytics and effectiveness.
Squarelovin’ is a free Instagram analytics tool that provides insights on top posts, recent growth, and post-history in categories of year, month, day, and hour. You can also analyse photo and video Instagram Stories to precisely determine which type of content performs best.
Sprout Social is a popular option for external tools that measure your Instagram analytics. The reports include your engagement rates, new followers, impressions, unique users, and even incoming messages and sent messages.
Iconosquare allows you to track your hashtags and audience metrics on Instagram. It has a brilliant section that reports back on who had followed and unfollowed you (don’t get sucked into this game, though!). It starts at a reasonable monthly cost for smaller businesses concerned about their Instagram account.
Union Metrics provides an in-depth analysis of your Instagram account, including identifying top fans and advocates, information on who interacts with your content and how you can connect with them. It also provides insights into the type of posts your audience engages with most and how you can improve your content to reach your audience better.
A newer entry into the market and specific to Instagram is Followers+. It’s available on Apple and Android as an app and hooks up to your chosen Instagram account. Metrics it tracks includes, new followers, lost followers and they also track who follows you that you don’t follow back, as well as those you follow who don’t follow you back. It’s free with a limit of one account but some pro features aren’t included.