Let’s talk about Instagram Metrics!
You’ve probably heard that old quote that says something about how the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.
That’s true—and most social media managers know that Instagram is no exception to that rule. Understandably, you don’t want to keep investing blood, sweat, and elbow grease into your Instagram marketing strategy without some sort of confirmation that what you’re doing is actually making a difference. But, how can you know what’s moving the needle—and what needs some tweaking and refinement? Well, it all comes down to your Instagram metrics.
We can hear you groaning from over here. We get it—needing to wade through all sorts of different numbers, graphs, and charts to get the information you need most probably isn’t your favorite task.
However, it can be made a lot easier (not to mention far less overwhelming) by knowing which specific metrics you should focus on.
Are Metrics Really That Important?
Chances are, you already know that metrics carry some serious weight when it comes to effective social media marketing and management, but we figured it couldn’t hurt to touch on some of the core reasons that you need to be keeping an eye on your numbers.
There are a ton of reasons that your Instagram metrics are important. But, for the sake of simplicity, we’re going to break it down into two categories that we know strike a chord: time and money.
Let’s start with the time aspect. As the old saying goes, knowledge is power, and Instagram analytics will empower you with the information you need to maximize your strategy on Instagram.
You’ll be able to figure out what types of content are resonating, and which are falling flat. You’ll gain insight into things like the right hashtags to use, the best times to post, and more.
That means that you aren’t wasting precious hours and your mental energy on creating posts that won’t generate results. Analytics allow you to target your efforts and see the greatest return on your time investment.
Speaking of ROI, let’s expand on the second reason that analytics matter: money.
Attempting to prove ROI on your time spent on social media can feel like a never-ending battle.
Tracking the right analytics will allow you to not only determine how many followers you’re converting into customers, but also help you save dollars.
Maybe a peek at your analytics shows that your current Instagram ads aren’t as effective as you thought they’d be. That’s marketing budget that you could be spending elsewhere—on an Instagram tactic that will actually contribute to your business growth.
OK… But Are All Metrics Important?
Alright, so you know that metrics are important. But, that still doesn’t answer the question of exactly what you should be tracking.
Not all metrics carry the same weight in every situation—and some of them can even be misleading. You’ve probably heard the term “vanity metrics” used before in the marketing world.
“Vanity metrics are things like registered users, downloads, and raw pageviews,” explains Erick Schonfeld in an article for TechCrunch, “They are easily manipulated, and do not necessarily correlate to the numbers that really matter: active users, engagement, the cost of getting new customers, and ultimately revenues and profits.”
While we do think that tracking things like your impressions and your follower growth (more on those later!) is important, don’t get so wrapped up in only those more straightforward digits.
Remember, your goal with metrics is to increase your understanding of what’s working and what isn’t, so that you can use that information to take action and improve.
So, pay some well-deserved attention to the metrics that are actionable, rather than only the ones that artificially inflate your ego.
Digging Into the Numbers: 10 Instagram Metrics You Should Be Tracking
We’ve laid the foundation, and now it’s time to dig into the specifics. What Instagram metrics should you be looking at?
There are 10 that we think are must-haves for any individual or brand who is trying to grow their own Instagram presence.
We’ve broken those down below in the following categories: Individual Post Metrics, Traffic and Growth Metrics, Audience Engagement Metrics, and Other Instagram Metrics.
Individual Post Metrics
While you don’t want to miss the forest for the trees, it’s still important to see how your individual Instagram posts are performing. Doing so will give you a firmer grasp on what type of content your followers love to see—as well as what they could live without.
This is the number of people who saw this particular post. That doesn’t mean that they took any sort of action such as liking or commenting. This metric just represents the sets of eyeballs that piece of content received.
You know by now that Instagram’s algorithm can be a little picky about what gets displayed in users’ feeds.
Keep an eye on the impressions of each of your posts to know about any trends that help to get your content seen—whether it’s the time you posted or a certain hashtag you used.
2. Individual Post Engagement
For the big picture, you’ll look at the overall engagement rates for your entire account. However, it’s also worth taking a look at the engagement for your individual posts.
Again, this will clue you in on what’s resonating with your followers and what’s coming up short.
For example, maybe you notice that photos featuring real people always seem to see more engagement than the fancy quote graphics you’ve been creating.
Traffic and Growth Metrics
Your goal with Instagram isn’t to be stagnant. Like anyone, you want to see that your Instagram marketing strategy is leading to a growth in your follower base—and, eventually, more devoted fans and customers for your brand.
That’s where these metrics come into play.
3. Follower Growth
We know—your sheer number of followers is something that often falls into the “vanity metric” category.
And, it’s true, you shouldn’t be obsessed over just this one number (really, engagement is far more important). But, hear us out for a moment about why this is still worth monitoring.
The bottom line: You want more followers. The more followers you have, the more people you have viewing your content, clicking through to your website, making purchases, and spreading the word about your brand.
However, increasing your following on Instagram is no easy task. It involves quite a bit of strategy and effort.
By monitoring your follower growth, you can see whether the different tactics you’ve put into place are actually working.
To get the most value out of tracking your follower growth, do so over a longer period of time—rather than just day by day. Again, that will help you identify trends that can shape your content strategy moving forward.
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4. Bio Link Clicks
While it’s nice to see your follower count increase—let’s face it—your goal with Instagram isn’t to have a huge audience that never does anything.
You want to get them invested in your brand and encourage them to engage with other platforms—whether that’s visiting your website or entering their email address on a landing page in order to download a free resource.
Marketers are often reminded of the fact that they don’t own their social media followers (the platform can always change how and when you’re able to interact!), so social media is better used as an entry point to other marketing platforms and channels.
With that in mind, you should keep an eye on how many people are actually clicking the link in your bio.
That gives you a good idea of what percentage of your followers are interested enough in what you’re offering that they want to learn even more.
Audience Engagement Metrics
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It’s all about engagement.
A large audience means nothing if they aren’t at all invested or engaged in what you’re doing—it’s a lot like speaking in front of an auditorium full of people who are all asleep.
Here are the most important engagement-related Instagram metrics that you should be keeping an eye on.
5. Average Likes and Comments
When we talk about engagement on Instagram, we’re primarily focused on likes and comments. These are people who go beyond just viewing your post and actually take action to interact with it.
Take a look at your average number of likes during any given period. Did they increase? Decrease? What did you do during that span of time that could’ve led to that change?
Do the same thing with your comments. Comments represent an even higher level of engagement, since it requires quite a bit more time for a user to leave a comment on your photo than it does for them to simply double-tap and like it.
Looking at your average number of likes and comments is great for getting a bird’s-eye view of your content, but as we noted above, it’s also important to drill down on an individual post level to see which posts are garnering the most likes and comments. That’s content worth replicating and repeating.
6. Branded Hashtags
Creating your own hashtag for your brand is a great way to generate excitement while also getting your hands on some user-generated content. However, as with any other marketing strategy, you should keep tabs on how it’s performing.
You don’t necessarily need any sort of fancy analytics tool to figure this out.
Instead, simply search for your branded hashtag on Instagram and see the amount of posts that pop up. Is it more than you were expecting? Less?
Depending on your answer, you’ll know if you need to focus more energy and attention on encouraging followers to use that hashtag on their own content.
7. Average Engagement Rate
Your engagement rate is the percentage of your total followers that are engaging with your posts, and that’s important for you to know in order to gauge how well your content is performing overall.
There’s plenty of conflicting advice and disagreement over exactly what constitutes a “good” engagement rate. But, we recommend aiming for between 3-5% engagement.
We know—that seems low, but it’s actually a pretty solid rate across industries.
8. Post Time and Day
Not all times and days are created equal on Instagram.
Perhaps your followers are far more engaged on weeknights, as opposed to weekends. Maybe they’re way more likely to see and engage with your posts during evenings, rather than early morning.
There is no one best time and day for you to post on Instagram—it all depends on your unique follower base.
While this can be somewhat trickier to monitor, it’s worth picking out any trends in terms of date and timing of your posts.
That will help you craft a content schedule that caters to the times that are best suited to your followers.
Other Instagram Metrics
We’ve covered a lot, but we aren’t quite done yet.
The above metrics will help you get a handle on your traditional post content and your followers, but there are two more aspects that deserve tracking: your Instagram stories and any ads that you’re running.
9. Instagram Metrics for Stories
Instagram stories are a different beast entirely. They’re quickly becoming one of the most engaging features on Instagram. In fact, Instagram stories have a whopping 300 million active daily users.
That means this feature comes with a set of metrics all its own. Here are a few important Instagram stories metrics that you should be watching:
Impressions: Similarly to above, this is simply the amount of people who saw your story—basically, those who loaded it.
Forward Taps: How many people have tapped forward during your story in order to skip that segment. Keeping this number low means that your story content is engaging and inspiring your followers to stick around.
Back Taps: The number of people who tapped backwards to see your story again. If this number is high, that’s a good sign—it means people are watching your story more than once!
Exits: The number of people who leave your story before it’s finished. You should aim to keep this number low.
Swipe-Through Rates: If you have an Instagram business profile, you’re able to include swipe-up links on your Instagram stories. This metric shows you how many people are actually accessing links through your stories.
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10. Instagram Ad Metrics
Similarly to Instagram stories, Instagram ads are another feature that come with a set of analytics all their own.
You’ll be able to access analytics for your Instagram ads through your Ads Manager, where you’ll be able to see things like your total amount of spend and the reach of your ads.
But, what you really want to be paying attention to is the results.
The goal of your ad is to drive people away from that advertisement and to another destination, so you need to monitor how well your existing ad is doing that.
Tracking Instagram Metrics: How to Do it
There are numerous different ways that you can keep an eye on your analytics. If you have an Instagram business profile, you can view insights into the performance of your posts directly within Instagram.
Additionally, you can use Schedugram, where you’ll have access to a variety of information and metrics within your Schedugram dashboard.
To get a high-level overview of your Instagram metrics, go to the Overview section, and to check individual post metrics in the Post Report section. Plus, Competitor Report is coming soon. You can also easily export these reports as PDFs to share it with your team.
You don’t want to continue to sink time and marketing dollars into Instagram without analyzing how all of that work is paying off. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to gain insight into how your content is resonating and performing.
Make sure to keep an eye on the 10 different Instagram metrics we’ve outlined here, and you’ll have the information you need to refine your strategy and give your Instagram presence a boost.
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