Looking to take your Instagram strategy to the next level? Then start with your analytics.
Your Instagram analytics tell a story of how your content is performing, who your audience is, and what they engage with most. So the more time you spend analyzing your analytics, the stronger your marketing strategy will be!
Of course, jumping into the world of Instagram analytics can be overwhelming for the best of us. To help you, we’re focusing on the most important metrics to help you refine your plan and reach your goals.
Improve your engagement by identifying your best (and worst) performing content
One of the biggest battles you’ll face with Instagram is knowing what content works best for your target audience.
This is especially true if you’re an e-commerce brand. Running effective consumer marketing campaigns and promotions can be tough, so you want to have a strong indicator of what type of content is going to help you reach your goals.
One of the best indicators of your audience’s reaction to your content is your engagement rate, but this can be a time consuming and tedious process to track and measure.
For each post, you’ll need to capture and record the number of followers at the time of the post, as well as the number of likes, comments, and shares the post received over time.
Once you have your engagement rate per post, you’ll want to compare and contrast your posts performance against each other. While also bearing in mind that different posts – for example a Instagram shopping product post vs a user-generated lifestyle image – will perform differently.
With all this in mind, you should then be able to spot trends in what content types perform best to help your reach your goals, whether that’s more engagement, more follows, or more sales.
Thankfully, you can save yourself time and effort by using an Instagram analytics tool like Later (disclosure: I am the founder) to automatically calculate your engagement rate for every post so you can easily track content performance.
You can also get a snapshot of your best performing content over the last three months, making it even easier to identify trends in your content and engagement rate.
If you really want to boost your engagement this year, the key is to continuously monitor your content’s performance, including the posts that missed the mark and got a low engagement rate.
Over time, you’ll be able to clearly establish what content types really resonate with your audience, whether that’s video posts, product or lifestyle shots, carousels or user-generated content (UGC).
Grow your following by finding your best time to post on Instagram
Knowing who you’re targeting and when is just as important as knowing what to post.
And if you’re looking to grow your followers this year, knowing what time your followers are most active on Instagram is the key to success! By pinpointing the times that your audience is most active on Instagram, you can deliver content when it suits them to view and engage.
And the best news is that you can gain this insight directly from your Instagram profile. Just tap the bar chart icon in the top-right corner of your profile to access your Instagram Insights, then navigate to the Audience tab.
Here you’ll find the days and times of day that your audience is most engaged and active on Instagram. When you see spikes in activity levels, you should schedule your content to go live during that window!
You could also plan regular series or a themed post for those peak hours or days on your content calendar. For example, Airbnb cleverly posts a #TravelTuesday Instagram story every Tuesday, while Beats by Dre posts a weekly #BeatsOfTheWeek post as their followers get ready for the weekend.
It’s a small change that could make a huge difference in your Instagram follower count, as well as your larger business goals like improving online sales and click-through traffic.
Better serve your audience on Instagram stories by monitoring your navigation metrics
The content you post on Instagram Stories should serve your audience in some way. It should be something they look forward to viewing and can use as a resource, or a source of inspiration. And the only way to know if you’re doing that is to track your Instagram Stories analytics.
Navigation metrics like taps forwards, backwards, and exits can help you understand how your audience is interacting and engaging with your Instagram Stories content. Plus it can help you identify how different content performs against each other, making it easier to create, plan, and post your Instagram Stories.
To find your Instagram Stories analytics, go to any live Instagram story, or tap the ‘clock’ icon on the top right corner of your profile to access your archive of Instagram Stories posts.
From here, swipe up from the story to see your analytics. The eye icon will show you how many viewers your post had, while the bar chart icon will go into detail on the actions viewers took while viewing your story.
If you notice a high exit rate in your Instagram Stories, it could be a signal that your audience is becoming disinterested before your last post, so you should refocus on the quality of your posts over the quantity.
However, if you’re seeing consistent tap forwards on your stories, that could be a sign that your audience is really engaged and looking to see more from you!
They key to getting it right on Instagram Stories is to be open to experimenting with different types of content, but to always remember to check in and track your navigation metrics.
Unless you know how your audience is responding, you won’t know what will work for them in the future.
Time Out London follows a similar format each time they promote content from their website with Instagram Stories.
With a clear opening, middle, and closing slide to their story, they’re able to clearly identify where and when people navigated through their Instagram Stories posts. Plus, they would be able to identify the effectiveness of their introduction and call-to-action.
For brands and businesses starting out in content creation for Instagram Stories, a simple format like this could help you track your navigation metrics, and focus on what content themes work for your audience.
Create stronger IGTV content by tracking audience retention rates
A lot of brands and businesses are still on the fence about IGTV — especially with so much time, energy, and money already being put into Instagram Stories!
The key is finding content that captivates your audience from start to finish. IGTV has already proved to be successful with influencers and personalities on Instagram, as they use to platform to share more about their day-to-day lives.
For example, fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni’s 7-minute home tour IGTV video gained 4 million views within the first month of launching, as it gives an intimate, sneak-peek into her life, and only strengthening her followers’ interest and loyalty.
But businesses are also jumping on the vertical video trend in 2019 while harnessing the human interest angle that’s proving popular on the channel.
Sports broadcaster, Whistle Sports posts almost daily on IGTV and have gained a loyal following. Their “No Days Off” video series is by far their most popular with their viewers. Featuring interviews with rising teen sports stars, the 3-5 minute long videos can rack up to 2 million views and hundreds of comments!
If your goal is to create stronger video content in 2019, you need to pay close attention to what content works best for your audience and your Instagram Insights offers unique analytical data for your IGTV videos which could help.
For example, your audience retention rates for IGTV shows how many people watched your video all the way to the end — you can even see a drop-off graph which shows at what point people are swiping away from your video.
Similarly, the average percentage watched rate is a good indicator of your audience’s engagement levels throughout your video. Even if your viewers fast-forward to the end, or only watch a section of the video, your average percentage watched helps you understand just how useful or engaging the content was.
To find your IGTV metrics, tap on any of your live IGTV videos to reveal the three dots symbol along the bottom of your screen. This will open a list of options — select View Insights.
This will open a series of analytics for your video, including the number of viewers, likes, comments, and your Average Percentage Watched rate.
It’s a great metric to set a goal against — for example, you could look to improve your average percentage watched rate by a certain percentile over a quarter by trialing different types of content, topics, and formats.
Drive more traffic to your business by tracking your click-through rates
Instagram limits how and where you can use links to drive traffic to an external site. This can be a real hinderance for brands and businesses looking to improve their website traffic.
For that reason, you need to focus on the click-through rates driven from your Instagram Stories swipe-up feature, and the link in your bio if you want more people to visit your business website or online store.
If you’re seeing a slump in your click-through rates from your Instagram Stories, you may want to consider improving your stories’ design style to bring more attention to your call-to-action to swipe up.
Even the addition of Instagram’s GIF library ‘swipe-up’ stickers should help you draw attention to it. Brands like Away and Outdoor Voices have started to include some fun, but subtle, GIFs to their Instagram Stories design to draw attention to their text calls-to-action.
But that often isn’t enough, and you walk a fine line between encouraging a follower to swipe up, and a pushy sales pitch.
Instead, think about what content you’re offering your user with Instagram Stories, and what value they will gain from clicking through to your link. Some accounts like to give a “preview” or pose a question in Instagram Stories, with the solution shared in the swipe up link.
Lululemon effectively uses their swipe up link when it shares its workout videos in Instagram Stories; they set clear expectations of what a viewer will gain by following the link.
In this case, the link leads to a 20-minute workout hosted on the Lululemon site, which fulfils the original intent of the Instagram Stories post for the viewer.
If you continuously make sure that your post-click experience is accurate, of benefit to your viewers and filled with great content, you’ll build a better relationship with your followers and they’ll be more likely to click the next time.
Check in with your Instagram Stories analytics regularly — just swipe up from a live story, or from your archived stories library, to find your analytics.
Under Interactions, you’ll see the metrics for Link Clicks – it’s always a good idea to record this metric once the 24-hour lifespan of the story has lapsed, that way you’ll have a record of all interactions during that time-frame.
You can also find metrics here on how many people visited your Profile page from your story, and how many of them went on to click on the link in your bio.
If you’ve noticed a decline or a low uptake on that link, think about updating the content around your bio. Even a simple one-line pitch on what a reader can expect to find at that link, like “shop the whole collection,” or “click for free shipping” could encourage people to click through.
For example, Adobe Photoshop’s Instagram bio is regularly updated with a fresh new link. And each time, the content is reviewed to give readers a quick teaser of what they’ll learn or experience when they click the link.
Want to get more from that single bio link? Be sure to check out Lyn’s post on Instagram bio link tools.
Wrapping it up
Whatever your Instagram goals are, your content and marketing strategy can be greatly enhanced by tracking your analytics.
It’s one of the keys to unlocking access to a bigger slice of Instagram’s 500 million+ active daily users.
So before you launch your next quarter’s, or even next week’s content, spend a little time reviewing and tracking your Instagram metrics and you’ll soon see the results!
And, if you want to uncover analytics on other social media platforms, or create reports for your clients – check out our article on social media analytics and reporting tools.