Analytics are vital to solid strategy, be it in marketing, advertising or just business in general.
Through analytics, we can measure how our efforts resonate with our target audiences, and we can also identify areas for improvement – as well as potential methods for achieving that improvement.
Though analytics data has long been available for search engines and websites, many social media platforms simply didn’t offer performance metrics – or any metrics at all, for that matter – until very recently.
One of the last platforms to join the analytics club was Instagram.
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.
Where to Find Instagram Insights
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.
What You Can Learn from Instagram Analytics
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.
Above and Beyond Instagram Insights & Analytics
While Instagram Insights are certainly helpful, don’t use only that data to guide your strategy.
Supplement Instagram’s metrics with Google Analytics data as well, and find out how many of your followers are translating to web visitors – and how many of those later go on to view your content, buy your products and fill out your forms.
In the end, each data point is only one piece of the puzzle; you need them all to see the bigger picture.