Instagram has made big strides in terms of metrics over the last few years — especially since its takeover by Facebook.
Still, its analytics aren’t as robust as most social platforms out there, and this can leave marketers frustrated, floundering on strategy and, worse, unable to report on campaign progress to higher-ups and stakeholders.
“Setting expectations for any marketing campaign, especially influencer marketing, is key to success. Do some industry research to find relatable benchmarks based on your vertical. Set these expectations ahead of time to make sure success is clearly defined.”
–Sarah Sanchez, Manager, Performance Social at CPC Strategy
How to Measure Instagram Metrics: What’s Your ROI?
As marketers, we know we need to set benchmarks but which Instagram metrics should we measure?
To gauge how effective your Instagram campaigns are (and what tweaks you might want to make to improve them), here are some of the more telling stats you’ll want to look at:
1. Comment Totals
The number of comments you receive is directly correlated to how engaging your content is. Likes can give you an inkling of what posts are best fitting your audience, but comments mean actual interaction — that the user is taking time out of their day to engage with your brand.
Even if those comments are negative, it still means you’re creating great content — content that evokes emotion and stirs passion within people.
If your comments are low, it might indicate a change in creative or strategy is necessary. Or maybe you’re just not tuned in with your audience enough?
Try following the movers and shakers they follow on the platform. What can you do to jive with those brands and influencers? Better yet, could you use one of those influencers to market your products as well?
You can also try mixing up content types by adding videos, slideshows and creative layouts.
2. Hashtag Engagement
There are several things you can learn by looking at the “most engaged hashtags” metric in your Instagram account.
For one, it gives you an idea of which hashtags resonate the best. Is #fbf doing better than #tbt? Is #officelife getting more engagement than #9to5? Hone in on what hashtags are most engaging, and use that to drive future content strategy.
You can also combine some of your more high-engagement hashtags to up your post’s discoverability. Remember, that’s what hashtags are there for: to help users find you through Instagram’s search function. The more high-engagement hashtags you’ve got on there, the better.
3. Follower Growth
This isn’t a metric you can get much from day to day, but over the long term, it can tell you a lot. Make note of your followers week over week, and pay close attention when you see a larger than usual spike.
- What did you post that week that caused the spike in new followers?
- Did you post at different times? Change up your creative?
- Maybe try a new hashtag or throw in a video?
Follower growth can be a good indicator that your creative is solid, your hashtags are discoverable and that you’re targeting the right audience.
4. Engagements Per Follower
This is one of the most telling metrics around because instead of telling you a total number of engagements (that can be misleading), it tells you how many times, on average, your followers interact with you.
Coca Cola might have 4 million engagements in a week, but they also have 100 million followers. So comparing your 250 engagements to their totals doesn’t make much sense.
But if you’re getting 250 engagements on 500 followers? That’s a pretty darn engaging post. A high number of engagements per follower is a big sign that your content is on the mark.
Low engagements? Well, that means it’s time to step back and re-strategize.
Maybe try a different style of photograph (more candid instead of posed?) or maybe you need to get more authentic and introduce people behind the scenes. Try something new, and remeasure your engagements per follower after implementing the change to see how it resonates.
An example of how engagement can vary among influencers:
Although Leonardo Dicaprio is a mainstream figure – his engagement level is only 1.14% compared to Earthy Andy (a vegan health and wellness influencer with a 5.38% engagement rate) who markets directly to her audience via candid photos of her family enjoying homemade vegan meals.
5. Introducing Instagram Insights
The photo-sharing app just started offering its “Insights” about a year ago, starting slow with a few basic metrics, and now expanding into deeper insights as time has gone on.
Currently, Insights are only available for official “business” profiles, but transitioning your account from personal to professional is actually quite easy (more on the later). Still, they can provide some valuable data on your online audience, as well as how they interact with the content you share.
The first step to accessing your Instagram Insights is to convert your account to a business profile (if you haven’t already done so).
To do this, tap the settings icon (it looks like a little gear), then hit “Switch to Business Profile”.
This will take you through a step-by-step set-up process that only takes a couple of minutes. Keep in mind Instagram requires all business profiles be linked to an official Facebook business page, so if you don’t have one of those already, go set that up first. It’ll save you some time in the end.
Once you’ve converted your profile, you should be able to access your insights in one of three areas:
- From your profile – Just tap the bar graph icon.
- From a post – Click the arrow in the bottom right corner, then click “View Insights.”
- From a story – Tap the bar graph icon on your profile, scroll down to the “Stories” section, then hit “Get Started.”
Pro-Tip: If you’re big on posting stories: Story insights are only available for two weeks after they were posted, so make sure to access those before they’re gone. Set yourself a reminder if you need to.
Instagram Insights: Analytics, Data & More
Instagram Insights offer data on three sectors of your account: your followers, your posts and your stories (and how all three of those interact).
Follower insights give you demographic data, including the gender, age range and geographic location of people who follow you and engage with your posts.
You can even drill down by country, state and city of your followers, so if you’re a local business or looking to ramp up your customer base in a particular area, those stats can give you a little insight into how your efforts are paying off.
Pro-Tip: They can also give you important time zone data, so you can time your posts properly to maximize views and engagement for that particular geographic area.
Follower insights can also reveal the number of times each of your followers is active on Instagram daily, as well as how many of them have clicked on the link in your profile.
You can even find out how many new followers you’ve gained and when – stats that can substantially help you when analyzing the efficacy of your posts and stories.
Of course, you can also look to individual post and story insights for performance-based data.
These insights can tell you:
- Impressions, the number of times your post or story was seen
- Reach, the total number of unique users who saw it
- Engagement, the number of unique users who either liked, commented on or saved the post
- Views, the total number of times a video or story was viewed
- Saves, the number of users who saved the post
- Replies, the number of messages sent via your story
- Exits, the number of times a user skipped your story or exited out while viewing it
Instagram Insights are mapped out via graphs and charts, making them easier to view and understand, and there’s also a “Follower Activity” area that displays the most popular days and times for your followers.
Be sure to pay close attention here; as you gain and lose followers, these time frames will change.
To learn more about Instagram metrics, email [email protected]