Instagram Stories launched in August 2016 and brought a totally
new approach to content on Instagram with photos, Boomerangs and
videos that disappear within 24 hours of being posted.
Stories feature at the top of the Instagram app feed, making
them a perfect way to keep your brand top-of-mind no matter what
algorithm is doing at the moment. Plus, since their short-term
nature leads to more off-the-cuff and less exactingly curated
content, they’re a great source of content that can run parallel
to your grid’s brand messaging, while bringing a unique
Instagram has clearly recognized all the creative use cases
people have come up for with Stories, and continues to build out
features such as Stories Highlights, which lets you save a group of
Stories to your profile permanently.
With this mix of unique FOMO-driven content, you probably
already know Stories are an important channel to tackle as part of
strategy. The question you might be asking now is how you can
track the performance of your Stories and pinpoint what people are
engaging with, so you can continue to optimize your approach.
Read on to find out what the unique types of metrics for Stories
are, and what they mean for your brand. We’ll also show you how
you can easily report on them using Sprout.
Understanding Stories metrics
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Stories don’t have likes, comments, and saves as Instagram
posts do. Instead, they offer their own set of ways to
Taps Forward: The number of times a viewer tapped the
right side of the screen to go to the next story.
Taps Backward: The number of times a viewer tapped the
left side of the screen to rewatch the previous story.
Exits: The number of times a viewer swipes down to stop
watching stories and go back to the main feed.
Replies: The number of times a viewer swipes up and
responds to a story. The reply feature starts a direct message
conversation between you and the viewer.
Stories also come with their own daily unique reach and
impressions, letting you understand how broadly your stories are
Using Stories data to build a winning strategy Is your audience
The first question you should ask is whether or not your
audience is interested in watching Stories at all. While they’re
highly visible on Instagram, they’re also certainly more suited
to certain types of brands and topics than others. Either way, you
can get a feel for how motivated your audience is to consume
Stories by reviewing their reach.
You can find this metric in Sprout either at a message level in
the Sent Message report, or at a profile level in your Instagram
Profile Report. This latter view is a great way of getting an
overall feel for whether your audience is interested in Stories
If you’re new to Instagram Stories, look for daily unique
reach to be trending upward. This means that there may be
opportunity for growth in your story strategy.
Once you’ve validated that Stories is an area where you want
to invest marketing efforts, you’ll want to refine your content
strategy. Looking at impressions and interactions from Stories will
help you identify what’s working best. Analyze your top stories
to see if there are concepts, copy, or creative material they all
have in common. You can see message-level data in your Instagram
Insights, or in your Sprout Sent Messages report to compare
Next, look at interactions to get a feel for how your audience
is motivated to engage with your content. Since the interactions
for Stories are fairly unique compared to the standard Instagram
feed, or even other social platforms, you want to consider the
different implications each action could have.
Why does your Instagram Stories audience tap back?
Taps back don’t necessarily indicate a negative–in fact,
they typically show that your content was so interesting that the
audience wanted a second look.
While that might sound like there’s not much to change, there
are a few takeaways you can glean from taps back, and they mostly
center on being conscious of how much your audience can absorb
during a Story’s short display time frame:
If you packed too much text into a specific frame of your Story
and it’s getting lot of taps back, you might want to space out
that content over multiple images so people have more reading
If you posted a video and it wasn’t clear it needed sound,
people might be tapping back to restart.
Consider either signaling that sound should be on with a
sticker or emoji on the frame that leads in to the video, or
offering an option such as captioning or a CTA that summarizes the
takeaway without sound.
If you included a clickable element like a poll, make sure you
didn’t place it so far to the left that it’s causing accidental
You also want polls to be extremely obvious when they’re
featured–don’t include a lot of introductory text on the same
slide so that readers have to figure out what the poll is with one
read-through, then tap back again to actually vote.
Again, lead up to a frame that features only the poll by
spacing out how you use text across multiple images in your
What about Story replies, taps forward and exits?
After getting a feel for what your audience liked enough to tap
back on, look at replies, which can be considered the most powerful
type of interactions. Users who reply to your story are passionate
enough to invest the time drafting a comment. Use replies as a
source for influencers and co-marketing opportunities.
To see what’s not
working in your Stories, take a look at taps forward and exits.
Taps forward tend to indicate that your audience wants to skip your
content for some reason. This may be because an image does not
resonate with them or a video is too long. Exits are the biggest
form of negative feedback–these users decided to ditch Stories
altogether and return to the grid. While a few people might be
exiting just because they’re done for the moment, look at Stories
with a large number of exits and evaluate what they have in common
and try to minimize those features.
How are Stories impacting your post engagement?
Whenever you’re trying out something new on social, you should
keep an eye on how it’s impacting other areas of your social
strategy. In the case of Instagram Stories, evaluate how the
creation of Stories is impacting your post engagements. If you find
that your post engagements are decreasing but your Stories
interactions are not increasing proportionately, you may want to
shift some efforts back to your post strategy.
How are Stories impacting your audience growth?
As with engagement, you’ll want to evaluate the impact of
Stories on your audience size and audience growth. Do you see a
larger number of followers lost on days you post stories? If you
see more followers gained, it may mean that more of your target
audience has adopted Stories, and you may want to invest more
Find out how you can delve into your Stories analytics and
figure out what works with a free trial of Sprout
To discover more visit: sproutsocial.com