In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know about Instagram analytics — from what metrics and insights are available to how to get all them for free to what you can do with them to boost your Instagram marketing.
Over 1 billion people around the world use Instagram and spend an average of 28 minutes each day on the app. That’s a lot of people and plenty of time for brands to reach them.
But without Instagram analytics, your marketing efforts might be getting lost in all the noise.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the basics of Instagram metrics, share details on a few paid and free Instagram analytics tools, and provide tips on how to use analytics to improve your Instagram strategy.
Chapter 1: Instagram metrics: Understanding level-one versus level-two performance metrics
Instagram provides a wide range of metrics that help you measure your performance, understand your audience, and improve the results of your Instagram marketing.
Most metrics can be considered level-one metrics—or data in its most basic form. These Instagram metrics are straightforward numbers such as followers, impressions, reach, likes, comments, and clicks. While this information is helpful, the numbers are a snapshot in time. To focus on continuous improvement, growth, and optimization, you’ll need to look at level-two performance metrics.
Calculating level-two performance metrics with Instagram analytics
Metrics without context won’t help you take action.
If you’re comparing your follower count to a celebrity influencer’s, your account will likely seem unimpressive—and that comparison won’t help you improve your own content. Calculating level-two performance metrics is all about using your own data as the benchmark so you can pinpoint what your audience loves (and what they scroll right by).
There are three general types of level-two performance metrics:
Growth metrics show you the change (increase or decrease) of a metric. For example, follower growth shows how your follower count changes over time.
(Metric at Time 1 - Metric at Time 2 / Metric at Time 2) x 100 = Growth %
For example, if you ended October (Time 1) with 950 followers and had 710 followers in September (Time 2), your follower growth rate would be 33.8%.
Other Instagram metrics to track for growth: impressions, reach, engagement, clicks, and replies.
Rate metrics give you a percentage figure to help you understand a particular metric relative to another metric. For example, interaction rate is the percentage of your followers that have interacted with your post, story, or IGTV.
For posts and IGTV, Instagram analytics groups likes, comments, saves, and shares under interactions. For Instagram stories, replies and shares are considered interactions.
(Metric (e.g., number of interactions on a post) / Follower count when the post was published) x 100 = Rate %
If you have 950 followers and a post received 175 interactions, that post’s interaction rate is 18.4%.
For Instagram Stories, completion rate is a useful metric if you want to see what percentage of people watched the entire story.
(Number of impressions on final post / Number of impressions on first post ) x 100 = Instagram Story completion rate %
So, if 93 people viewed the first post and 59 made it to the end, your Story’s completion rate would be 63%.
Average metrics give you a benchmark for the general performance of your Instagram posts. For example, the metric “average likes per post” tells you generally the number of likes each of your posts received.
Sum of metric for a period (e.g., total likes on posts in January) / Number of posts in that time period = Average
If you shared 12 posts in January and received a total of 715 likes, your average likes per post would be 59.
The common denominator to use is the number of posts (i.e., per post). But you can also use a time period (i.e., per day or per month). For instance, you could calculate the average number of viewers for your Instagram Live videos on different days of the week to determine which day might be best to live stream on Instagram.
Not interested in doing the math? Many of the Instagram analytics tools covered in Chapters 3 and 4 automatically calculate these metrics for you.
Chapter 2: How to view Instagram analytics with Instagram Insights
To gain access to Instagram Insights for your Instagram account, you’ll have to convert your personal Instagram profile to a business account. Here are thesimple steps from Facebook.
Once you’ve converted to a business account, you’ll see an “Insights” button on your profile.
f you’re looking for Instagram Insights for desktop, unfortunately, you won’t find it. For now, Instagram Insights is only available on mobile. If you want to run reports on a computer, take a look at the free and paid Instagram analytics tools we discuss later in this article.
Instagram Insights sections
After you tap the “Insights” button in your business account, you’ll see data for the last seven days broken into the following sections.
- Accounts reached
- Content interactions
- Total followers
Content you shared
- Instagram Stories
You can click on any of these sections to dig deeper into specific posts. You’ll find information such as what content led to profile visits and follows, which days your content received the most interactions, and other Instagram audience details.
Change your posting day and/or time
There isn’t a single best time to post on Instagram. Instead, each brand has its own perfect time to post. With Instagram analytics, you can find your ideal posting time based on your audience’s habits and past content’s performance.
With Instagram Insights from the Instagram app, you can tell the days when your followers are most active and the average times they’re on Instagram on a typical day.
Adjust content based on performance and Instagram demographics
Using Instagram Insights, you can easily find your top Instagram stories and posts based on impressions, reach, and engagement. Once you’ve sorted your top posts, do you notice any trends?
For instance, our giveaway posts tend to generate the most comments, while user-generated landscape photos usually receive the most engagement. To drive more engagement, we can continue to post landscape photos from our community.
You can also dig into your Instagram demographics and turn to your audience for guidance with content. For example, HIKI, a company with a full-body sweat line, leverages polls and questions in Instagram Stories to gather feedback from their audience.
Tinah Ogalo, HIKI’s social media coordinator, says she keeps a close eye on pop culture and the HIKI community for inspiration. And since HIKI’s audience is predominantly Gen Zers and millennials, HIKI speaks to that demographic.
Tell better Instagram Stories
Instagram Insights provides data such as impressions, exits, and replies, which you can use to tell better Instagram Stories.
While each audience’s attention span will differ depending on a variety of factors, we discovered some trends by analyzing 15,000 Instagram Stories. Here are some key takeaways:
- People are most likely to exit Instagram Stories on the first or last post, so make sure you hook your audience at the beginning.
- Stories with 1–7 posts have higher completion rates—try not to overwhelm your followers with too much at once.
- People tend to watch Instagram Stories outside of work hours. Stories only stay live for 24 hours, so make every hour count by posting when people are most active.
Take a close look at the content that gets higher impressions, replies, and reactions. Is there a type of story that tends to do better than the rest? Is there a common point when most of your followers exit your stories?
For example, some audiences might respond better to videos versus photos or stick around longer if you provide text captions along with your audio. Play around with different formats and continuously check your Instagram analytics to see what gets the most love from your followers.
Experiment with Instagram IGTV, Instagram Live, and Instagram Reels
While Instagram analytics get a bit murky with these formats—particularly with Instagram Live and Instagram Reels—it’s still worth incorporating them into your Instagram marketing strategy.
Instagram limits videos in your feed to 60 seconds, but Instagram TV (IGTV) allows you to share videos up to 60 minutes long in your feed. This is a great way to integrate long-form videos that have a permanent spot in your feed so you can keep an eye on metrics such as views, interactions, reach, and shares.
Instagram Live is a subset of Instagram Stories with a key difference: Live videos completely disappear from your profile as soon as you end the broadcast. While Instagram Insights does not offer analytics after an Instagram Live video ends, you can be strategic before and during a Live. Beforehand, you can open up Instagram Stories and toggle to “Live” to see how many of your followers are actively using the Instagram app. This gives you a general idea of how many people will receive a notification about your Instagram Live. During the broadcast, you’ll see the total viewers, so you can take screenshots to preserve the data.
Instagram Reels is the newest format and, as of October 2020, is not included in Instagram Insights. However, you can view likes and comments. The main benefit of these multi-clip 15-second videos is that they’re discoverable via Instagram Explore and through featured Reels, giving you a chance to reach new viewers.
How do you monitor Instagram analytics?
Whether you use paid or free Instagram analytics tools, there are so many ways to dig into Instagram metrics and make more data-driven decisions.