Proper usage of Instagram analytics is essential to the success of any business that uses Instagram for marketing. Indeed, without a way to measure your progress, it’s hard to tell if you’re making any — or worse, if you’re going in the entirely wrong direction.
Luckily, Instagram includes a built-in analytics tool, Instagram Insights, that social media managers and business owners can use to keep check on their accounts’ vitals. By understanding the information that Insights provides, brands can make more effective social media roadmaps and more easily uncover weak points in their strategies.
However, Insights isn’t the be-all-end-all of Instagram analytics. Marketers also have a wide range of third-party tools at their disposal that can provide deeper analytics and more precise data than Insights can.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to get started with Instagram analytics. We’ll go over Insights, the native analytics tool, as well as how to make sense of the data, and different third-party tools you can use to get more precise measurements. Finally, we’ll break down what Insights specifically lacks, so you can make a more informed decision as to whether investing in another tool is worth it for your business.
What Is Instagram Insights?
Instagram Insights is the built-in Instagram analytics tool. As the name implies, it provides data that gives Instagram users insights into their performance on the platform. This data goes beyond the publicly available follower counts and into changes over time and other more complex interactions.
Instagram Insights is only available to Business and Creator accounts, so if you don’t have one of those, you’ll need to get one before you can use it.
To get a better idea of what you can learn from Instagram Insights, let’s take a look at some of the data it provides.
The Recent Highlights section of Insights gives a quick overview of major changes that occurred over the last seven days.
For example, it provides information about how many accounts you reached, the number of content interactions, and how many followers you have. Additionally, it also tells you the percentage change in each of these areas so that you can see whether you’re improving week over week.
It also gives insight into how much content you’re sharing on your account so that you can make sure you’re staying consistent with your content schedule.
Overview (Account Insights)
The Account Insights section of Insights provides data that concerns your account and its followers. Specifically, it includes information about your account’s reach, content interactions, total follower count, and the content you shared.
Content You Shared
Insights doesn’t provide information about how other people are reacting to your content, but it also gives you data about your content itself. The ‘Content You Shared’ section tells users how many posts, stories, IGTV videos, and promotions they shared over the last 7-day period.
Insights For Individual Posts
While Account Insights offers data about an account as a whole, Insights also gives users data about how their individual posts are performing. You can measure the success of specific posts in terms of engagement. You can see:
- How many people visited your profile after seeing this post
- How many people people followed you after seeing this post
Insights For IGTV
Just like data about individual posts, Instagram also provides data about individual IGTV videos. Specifically, you can view:
- View count
- Average percent of video watched
- An audience retention graph
Insights For Stories
Instagram insights allows users to view the reach and impressions of their Stories. Reach is the number of people who saw a story, and impressions is the absolute number of views. So, if one person viewed a story twice, it would have a reach of one and an impression count of two.
How To Interpret Insights To Improve Your Account
Insights aren’t worth much if you can’t use them to improve your account. In fact, the entire point of Insights and Instagram analytics in general is to find weak spots in your social media strategy as well as strengths that you can improve on.
View it like a science experiment. When you see some really promising data that’s out of the norm, it generally means you should continue along that line of thought — or stop with that line of thought entirely.
Obviously, the primary goal of Instagram for marketing is generally to increase your follower count. However, you also want to ensure that you have an engaged follower base — if you have a ton of followers, but none of them see or engage with your content, there’s a problem, and you won’t get very far with your account. In fact, low engagement rates can often be a sign of fake followers. You can use Instagram insights to check on whether your strategies are netting you real and valuable followers.
To truly make the most of your Instagram account, you should use analytics to measure the success of individual pieces of content, stories, and videos. This something of an art and a science, and there many different strategies you can use to this end.
For example, if you’re trying to grow your follower count, view the insights for all of your individual posts to see which ones brought the biggest increase in followers. Then, craft your upcoming content around that same model. Alternatively, if you see that a piece of content is performing particularly poorly, ensure that you cut that type of post from your roster.
The same can be said for engagement. If your follower count is growing at a healthy pace, but your engagement is hanging behind, you can use Instagram Insights to identify content that generates an above-average amount of engagement. However, it’s generally a good idea to check for fake followers if you’re experiencing issues with engagement.
Top Instagram Insights Alternatives
Instagram Insights is a good way to get your feet wet with Instagram analytics, but it’s really just a start. Although it can help businesses that are getting started with Instagram, most businesses will eventually need to invest in a more detailed analytics solution if they’re serious about growing their social media operations.
Here are a few tools that are worth considering.
Owlmetrics is a tool that is entirely dedicated to analytics. It provides all the data that you can get with Instagram Insights and then some. For example, you can view data about hashtag performance, engagement rates, top posts by engagement rates, and click-through rates among many other metrics. Owlmetrics also provides in-depth audience insights, including demographics. Plus, it also offers insight into the performance of your competitors, so you can see whether you’re keeping pace with the competition.
If you really want to keep a close eye on your Instagram performance, you’ll be happy to know that Owlmetrics also offers a healthy portion of this data in real-time.
Sprout Social is a fully-featured enterprise solution for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. In addition to in-depth analytics, Sprout Social also serves as a post scheduler, social listening tool, and much more.
As far as analytics go, Sprout Social offers deeper insight into hashtag performance and geotagging. Plus, you can generate and export analytics reports, which makes it a perfect solution for agencies.
Like Sprout Social, Iconosquare also offers a post scheduler and many other tools for Instagram.
However, from an analytics perspective, Iconosquare’s most useful feature is that it provides data on how your post frequency relates to new and lost followers on a daily basis. This can help you better tailor how often you’re posting content to optimize your growth.
Metrics That Are Only Available With Third-Party Tools
As we mentioned, Instagram Insights is only a starting place, not a final destination. Most businesses will eventually need to upgrade to a more powerful solution if they’re serious about growing their Instagram accounts and getting the most out of the platform.
Third-party tools can provide insight into many other data points, including:
- Click-through rates
- Engagement by post
- Competitor comparisons
- The best day and time to post
- Which photo filters drive the most engagement
The Bottom Line
The key to success in business often comes down to setting SMART goals: goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
For these types of goals to work however, you need to be able to check in on your progress. Without being able to measure how your efforts are coming along, you’ll be unable to adjust. In fact, you won’t be able to tell whether you’ve succeeded or failed if you can’t measure your work in any meaningful way.
Instagram Insights provides an easy introduction to Instagram analytics. Using the tool, you can get a bird’s eye view of how your account and posts are performing in terms of followers, engagement, and more. However, even though Insights is quite powerful, to go even further, you’ll likely need to invest in a more robust tool that can offer up more precise data.
The key to success with analytics comes down to consistency. Check your data periodically, and when something is working, follow it up with something similar. When something is underperforming, don’t be afraid to cut bait. Follow these tips, and you should be well on your way to sustained growth.