Social Media is all about engagement. And Instagram is considered to be a very engaging platform.
What does this mean for the 25 Million businesses active on Instagram? Opportunity, yes. But also competition.
Which is why monitoring your Instagram posts can be very important. All marketing strategies need to be examined, and Instagram is no different.
Marketers often have questions when it comes to Instagram, such as:
How do you check the progress of your latest campaign? What is the best time to post?
Analytics is the answer to your questions.
As Instagram has evolved into a social media marketing hub, so have the analytics it provides. Once you know how to measure Instagram analytics, you can obtain and evaluate a lot of data and results to understand the performance of your brand.
If you are new to Instagram Analytics, sit back and watch us decode each and every metric for you. So that you can figure out how Instagram analytics work by the time you finish reading this guide.
Note: Instagram Insights are available for only business accounts. If you wish to use the native analytical tool provided by Instagram, convert your personal profile into a business profile.
What is Instagram Analytics?
Instagram Analytics is more than data about individual post or stories. It is the collection and evaluation of data to really understand how your content is performing. So, instead of figuring out which post or story performed the best, you’ll see the bigger picture.
Why do they matter?
Instagram Analytics display individual metrics that when studied together will help you to evaluate your performance on the platform. You can monitor your posts to see what kind of content speaks more to the audience. Based on this, you can chalk out your future content strategy.
For example, you are a fashion blogger and want to see what kind of posts work out the best for you. You might have some posts that feature you and some posts that solely focus on products. By using metrics such as likes, comments or clicks, you can figure out which of these posts generated more engagement. If your followers are engaging more often with the product shots as compared to other posts, you should try to increase the posting frequency for such posts.
Whatever kind of profile your Instagram account may have, which can range from an e-commerce store to a blogger. Learning how to track Instagram Analytics will help you to understand your audience’s interest, improve your content and eventually, generate more engagement.
Tip: Instagram offers basic level metrics and analytics within the app. To see high-performance metrics that tell you more about your brand, click here.
Why should you switch to a Business Profile?
Think of your business profile as a new iPhone. How is it different from the previous one? It is a bigger, better and a more enhanced version but available for free. And why would you not want an upgrade if it costs nothing?
Here are some reasons why you should switch to a business profile:
1. Instagram Analytics: The biggest reason for you to make the switch is the Instagram analytics. Combining the various metrics and viewing them would give you an idea as to what works and what doesn’t. You will be well versed regarding the importance of analytics and how to use them by the time you finish reading this Instagram analytics guide.
2. Contact information: Before business profiles existed, brands would use the Instagram bio to cram in all their contact information. The only direct link available at the time would redirect to the company’s website. Considering that users on Instagram have a limited attention span, they might not take notice of your “link in bio”. Which is why the contact information button can really help.
Once you add your contact details, this button will automatically be visible below your bio. On clicking this button, users can choose whether to call you, email you or find your location on the map.
3. Instagram Ads: Ad creation is very easy from a business profile. Once you switch to a business profile, a “promote” button automatically appears under all posts. From there you can select a Call to Action button, your audience, and set budgets and timeframes for your ad.
How to set up your Business Profile?
Before we talk about Instagram metrics and how to measure Instagram Analytics. You need to make sure that you have a business account to gain access to Instagram Insights. Converting a personal profile into a business profile is very easy.
According to Instagram, these are the steps you need to follow:
- Go to your profile and tap on the gear icon ( ) in case you are an iPhone user or the three dots ( ) if you are an android user.
- Tap on switch to business account.
- Select Create New Account or Convert Existing Account, based on your preference.
- On the Connect Your Facebook Page screen, you’ll see all of the Facebook Pages you’re currently an admin on. Select the Page you’d like to associate with your Business Profile on Instagram.
- Make sure your profile is set to public as private accounts can’t switch to a business account.
- On the Set Up Your Business Profile page, review your business’s contact information, make any changes and tap Done.
Note: Keep in mind that you won’t be able to see insights for posts prior to converting your account.
As soon as you have converted to a Business account, you will find a tiny graph icon ( ) on the top right corner of your profile. This is the button to Instagram Insights.
Now that your business profile is ready, let’s move on to Instagram Analytics and how they work.
Tip: You can either use Instagram Insights or third party apps to monitor your Instagram analytics. Click here to see alternatives to Instagram Insights.
Everything you need to know about Instagram Metrics:
Instagram provides a wide range of metrics which you can use to monitor your performance and improve the results of your marketing strategy.
These metrics can either be viewed in Instagram’s native tool, Instagram Insights or third party Instagram Analytical tools.
There are quite a few Instagram Metrics available for you to measure. To make them more understandable, we have divided them into 3 sections:
The outcome of your marketing strategy depends heavily on the type of your audience. Which is why you need to understand the demographics before understanding how other Instagram Analytics work. Knowing the location of your audience, their age and their gender can help you to understand their interests and in turn make suitable changes to your content strategy.
Let’s take a look at the Analytics available under this section:
1. Gender and Age Range: This data gives you exactly what you need as their preferences could make an impact on your strategy. Knowing who you engage with daily can change the way as well as when you roll out your content. For example, if your audience is from a younger age group, you can use relevant pop culture related themes to make your content more appealing.
2. Top Locations: Once you know where your audience is from or what language they speak. Customization of your content and scheduling it becomes super easy. In case you see that the majority of your followers are from a different time zone, you will schedule your post accordingly. Similarly, if you realize that some of your followers are from non-English speaking nations, adding more visuals to your content will make it more understandable.
3. Hours and Days: Instagram also gives you information which tells you how often or when is your audience engaging with your content. You can toggle between the hours and days options to see this data. The data in both these sections are calculated on the basis of past history of engagement between you and your followers. This data can be very helpful when you’re trying to determine when to upload your posts. How does this make a difference? If you see that the engagement has been higher towards the weekend, you will try to save your important content for the weekend.
Creating content that engages your audience is important. But it is also important to constantly interact with them. The metrics under the “Activity” section allow you to measure your engagement.
How to measure engagement using Insights?
An insight in its basic sense is the capacity to gain a deep understanding about something or someone. This is exactly how you gain a deep understanding of your profile by reviewing the activity metrics.
What is the difference between the various Activity metrics?
1. Impressions: Impressions is the number of times your content is seen by a person. This includes all kinds of content, i.e. images, videos or story. Whether the post is clicked or not, it is counted as an impression.
2. Reach: Reach is similar to impressions in terms of viewership. Both of these metrics focus on viewership but while impressions focus on the total number of viewers, reach narrows it down to unique users views only. How is this calculated? If a single person or user views the same post multiple times, it is counted as one reach. On the other hand, this is counted as multiple impressions.
3. Engagements: This includes the total number of accounts that have liked, commented or basically interacted with a particular post. The number of times your posts are saved are also included in this. Multiple comments from the same user are still counted as only one interaction as users tend to comment multiple times during promotional offers.
This is not available as a single metric but you can use the Unbox social tool to see engagements for your posts. You will find this under the “posts” section in the tool, where clicking on any post will give you engagement stats for that post.
4. Engagement Rate: Engagement Rate is the percentage of viewers or followers that interact with all your posts. Since this metric is not available in Instagram Insights. We will give you two ways to calculate this. The difficult way: if you want to calculate the engagement rate for your profile, divide the number of likes or comments with your follower count. This will give you a percentage. Not so difficult, was it?
Now look at the easy way, or easier. You can use the Unbox tool to see your engagement rate. Apart from that, you can also view the average engagement and average viewership per content form. This includes specific data based on Images, Videos and Carousels.
5. Followers Growth: Instagram Insights will tell you the number of followers you gained in that particular week, but it won’t let you monitor the growth of your followers over a period of time. Follower growth is how many followers you have lost or gained over a particular period of time. Why is this important? It tells you how quickly or slowly is your account growing. If you want to analyze your followers growth, click here. (You can use the Unbox tool to see the progress of your account).
Note: Captions are important when it comes to creating engaging content. To see how you can use captions to maximize your growth, click here.
Calculation of metrics does not change with the change in content form. The metrics are calculated in the same way whether it’s a video, post or stories. This, however, should not be the criteria to compare them with each other.
Why? Because user’s experience differentiates based on the form of content. In more simpler terms, a user’s interaction with a video is different as compared to his interaction with an image.
Photos and Videos
Have you noticed that your images get more likes than a video does? This could be true even when the video looks better than a particular image. Does this give you a reason to NOT use the same metrics to compare the posts? It should. The user interacts with both the posts in a different manner.
Imagine this- You are scrolling through your feed. You like a photo. Within seconds you can double tap and actually “like” a photo. Whereas when you come across a video, you’ll have to wait for the content to completely load. And only after you reach a certain portion of the video will you realize that you like it. By now, you must have forgotten to double tap and continued to scroll. This is why likes can’t be used to compare photos and videos.
So, how else do you measure the performance of your videos? Views. You can use views to see whether your post is influential or not. How are views calculated? Different platforms calculate views differently, but on Instagram, a view is counted after 3 seconds. This rule holds whether it’s a thirty-second long video, a boomerang or a hyperlapse video. Which is probably why Instagram won’t let you upload videos shorter in duration than 3 seconds.
Tip: You can also view stats for individual post directly from any of the posts. There is a ‘View Insights’ option available next to every post.
Carousels are a series of images available in a single post. If you use Instagram insights, you could find some difficulty in trying to locate the specific metrics for carousels. Because there are no separate metrics for carousels.
While you don’t have individual metrics for carousels, you can use Unbox Social in order to see how your carousel posts are doing when compared to others. The tool offers two metrics in its Insights section that can help you analyze the performance of your carousels.
1. Average engagement per content form: This metric compares all your posts and tells you which content form has been most engaging. It compares data for Videos, Images and Carousels.
2. Average viewership per content form: Similar to the previous metric, it compares your posts based on content form and tells you which has generated more views.
Using these two metrics, you can see how engaging your carousels have been as compared to videos or images. Based on this, you can decide which posts you need to improve on or post more.
Stories are completely different when it comes to user experience. In order to engage with your profile’s story, the user must tap on the top of the feed. After this, he can choose to move forward, watch the story completely or close it. None of these can be done for an individual post on the feed. While the post turns up on the feed itself, a user chooses to tap on your story and view it. This makes it even more important for you to analyze your stats and create a brilliant post for your story.
While you can still use impressions and reach to evaluate the performance of your story, there are some additional metrics which you should take into consideration.
Exits: Exits are the number of times a particular user has swiped out of your story. This is not always a negative thing as it could mean that your story has concluded or the user has moved onto the next story. In case you have a hyperlink, it could also mean that the user has moved on to that link to see more. However, the fewer exits you get, the better. You can add elements to make your ads more interesting.
Replies: This is similar to what comments are for a video or a post. But instead of going out publicly, these replies end up in your inbox. The type of replies you get should tell you how well you’re performing. But generally, a higher number of replies indicates higher engagement, which is good.
Completion Rate: Completion rate refers to the percentage of users who completely watch your story before it ends. A higher completion rate indicates a positive result. It means that users find your story interesting and hence watch it till the end. As Instagram Insights don’t offer this stat, you can find them in the ‘stories’ section of Instagram Analytics in the Unbox tool.
Note: There are no analytics available for Instagram Live videos at the moment.
How to use Instagram Analytics to improve your business strategy?
Once you have gathered and evaluated all the insights, it’s time to act on these insights and improve your content strategy. Here are some ideas which you can use to achieve better results on Instagram.
1. Scheduling your posts
The search and explore algorithm is always changing. This indicates that there are no specific timings to upload a post. The algorithmic feed means that each brand has its own specific time to upload. Using the Instagram Analytics you can find the perfect posting times for your brand.
Using the audience demographics, you can study things such as their location and the times they are most likely to be online. Taking all this into consideration you can decide when to post. Let’s say that your followers are more active on weekends and from 6 to 9 pm on weekdays. You can either post during the peak hours to reach more audience, or you could try posting during the off-peak hours in order to avoid competition. You can try experimenting with both in order to determine which works for you.
2. Improve your content based on audience responses:
Audience demographics continues to be one of the most important metrics for Instagram Analytics. Combining it with other metrics and studying them together can make a huge difference. Demographics plus engagement is one such combination. For example, you have users from multiple age groups. You should then see which has a higher number and whether the engagement rate is higher too. If this said age group fits in the criteria, you should create content that resonates more with them. Another example can be the kind of post your users liked more. If videos constantly generate more engagement than photos, then you should focus on more videos.
3. Create compelling stories by using individual metrics:
By individual metrics, we don’t mean focusing on a single metric such as exits. But using metrics that are confined only to stories and not to all posts. Instagram Insights provide more data for stories such as exits, engagement rates, impressions and reach.
You can combine all this data to tell a compelling story.
For example, our story about our invoicing feature resonated more with our targeted audience and hence generated more engagement. This made us realize that though people want stories to be fun, they want them to knowledgeable and add value. This became a core part of our strategy for stories.
You can go back and forth and check for common points in the data of your stories to see what didn’t work for you. For example, checking at which moment did people exit can help you understand how to make your stories more interesting.
The huge amount of data available on Instagram has made life easier for marketers. And with the help of various third-party Instagram Analytical tools, marketing has been more data-driven than ever.
Although the impact of analytics is huge, you still need to remember one thing. Analytics are directional in nature. They will guide you in the right direction but it depends on how you utilize them. You need to keep experimenting with everything right from the type of content to the posting times. Achieving success on Instagram is dependent on the perfect balance between creativity and using analytics to push out that creativity in the right manner.