From likes and followers to Story views, there’s no shortage of numbers on Instagram. While it can be confusing to navigate all the metrics and insights available to you on the app, you don’t need to be a math whiz to make sense of Instagram analytics.
Once you know how to cut through the less useful numbers and dissect the richest data, you can refine your Instagram strategy and make the most of your social media marketing efforts. Here’s what you need to know.
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Vanity metrics are the numbers that look good, but don’t actually do much for your business.
Some Instagram analytics that are generally considered vanity metrics include your Instagram follower count, your profile views, and the number of likes or impressions a post gets. These numbers don’t actually tell the full story about your Instagram performance, as they rarely directly correlate with any business goals.
Here’s a quick scenario to show you why a vanity metric can be misleading: Let’s say you have 1 million followers on your business profile. Sounds impressive, right? While this follower count may make you look pretty cool, if your likes, conversions, and more have been stagnant since you hit 700,000 followers, you’re not getting the most out of your Instagram account at all. You’re likely not actually driving any new sales or generating more leads than you did in the past.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of using these surface-level numbers to prove your growth to yourself and your team, but improvements in vanity metrics won’t translate into actual business growth alone.
So what metrics should you be using as key performance indicators (KPIs)? And how do you translate your Instagram analytics into real insights about your Instagram success?
In this section, we’ll explain five key metrics you should pay attention to—no fancy Instagram analytics tools needed—and how you can use them to plan out a more effective Instagram marketing strategy for your business account.
As you read through these, keep in mind that there’s no universal benchmark for any of these metrics. What good numbers look like for your business may look totally different for another. This guide will simply help you identify what metrics to look out for, so you can start analyzing what’s typical and figuring out how you can improve.
1. Instagram Post Engagement Rates
Engagement rates are some of the most-tracked metrics on Instagram and on social media in general. The reason this metric is so powerful is because it can tell you if your content is actually relevant to your audience.
Instagram engagement rates compare your follower count to the number of interactions you get—including likes, comments, and shares—on either individual posts or a group of posts. You can calculate your engagement rate with this formula:
Interactions ÷ Follower Count x 100 = Percent of Engaged Followers
For example, let’s say you have 10,000 followers. Your Instagram post gets 800 likes, 100 comments, 50 shares, and 50 saves. You’d plug these numbers into your formula this way:
(800 + 100 + 50 + 50) ÷ 10,000 x 100 = 10% engagement
If your engagement rate isn’t improving—or it’s getting worse—look for any patterns so you can find out how to adjust your strategy.
Questions you may ask yourself include:
- Are certain types of posts performing better than others?
- Do certain Instagram hashtags lead to better performance?
- Am I gaining new followers who aren’t engaging or are my current followers disengaging?
- Are posts performing better at certain times of the day or days of the week?
If you find that your posts just generally aren’t performing well across the board, you may need to view your Instagram insights to learn more about your audience. This section of your Instagram app can tell you about your audience demographics and best posting times.
After viewing your insights, you may realize that your Instagram audience is quite different than your audience on other social media platforms, or perhaps you’re not effectively reaching your brand’s target audience at all.
Adobe Spark can help you design Instagram content that better resonates with your Instagram demographics—or the audience you actually want to reach—and is eye-catching enough to capture their attention and get them to take action. Simply start with one of Spark’s professional Instagram post templates, then customize it to pique your unique audience’s interests and fit your brand. It only takes minutes!
Like the one you see below? Tap on the graphic to remix the design for your Instagram profile.
2. Instagram Stories Engagement Rates
Don’t forget: You can (and should) calculate engagement on your Instagram Stories, too! You’ll need to use this formula to calculate your Instagram Story engagement rate:
Total Interactions ÷ Total View Count x 100 = Percent of Engaged Viewers
When looking at Instagram Stories analytics, your total number of interactions—which you can view by swiping up on any Story you post—will include profile visits, follows, replies, website clicks, and other actions users can take while or after viewing your Stories.
To figure out how you can improve your Story engagement rate, you may ask yourself:
- What types of Stories are users dropping off on?
- What Story elements get your users to click more often (stickers, polls, videos, etc.)?
Spark’s free Instagram Story templates can help you create beautiful designs with prompts for viewers to take action. Tap on either of these designs to start customizing for your brand:
3. Instagram Reach
Your Instagram reach, which you can see from your Instagram Insights section, doesn’t always doesn’t always correlate to results. However, it can help you identify any issues that may affect your long-term Instagram analytics faster.
Reach tells you the total number of unique accounts that see your content each day. When reach is lower than average, this is often the result of one of two things:
- Poor engagement: One thing we know about the ever-elusive Instagram algorithm is that it prioritizes posts that are performing well on your followers’ feeds. If your reach is poor, you’ll definitely want to take a look at your engagement rate.
- Non-ideal hashtags: Reach can also be the result of your hashtag choices, which impact how many non-followers see your posts. For example, if you mainly chose hashtags with massive reach (#ootd has over 333 million posts!), your content may be getting drowned out by other recent posts quickly. If you mainly chose niche hashtags, perhaps some are largely inactive or unfollowed.
Another way you can use your reach metric is by comparing it to your follower growth. When more users see your posts, are your followers growing faster, too? If not, you may need to revamp your Instagram presence with more interesting content or beautify your grid.
Interested in sending a bold message to profile visitors? Design a grid takeover that uses several individual posts to form one larger message on your Instagram business profile. You can remix either of these designs to get started:
4. Instagram Saves Per Follower
When you’re building your brand, pumping out valuable content is what really turns your followers into loyal fans. When a user saves your Instagram post, there’s a good chance it’s something they want to want to come back to later, which means there’s something educational, inspirational, or otherwise helpful within it—that’s what you want.
You can view the total number of times a post is saved by tapping “View insights” on the post. Then, to turn your saves into a metric that you can track over time, use this metric:
Total Saves ÷ Total Followers x 100 = Percent of Saves Per Follower
If this metric isn’t improving, you can take a look back at your most-saved posts to figure out what content your audience is really looking for.
5. Website Conversions
Whether you’re a blogger or an e-commerce site owner, driving traffic to your website is ultimately what helps you get real business results. Your Instagram analytics make it easy to see:
- How many people are clicking the link in your bio
- How many people are swiping up on your Instagram Stories
- How many people are clicking on your Instagram ads (specifically, ads that link to your site)
Comparing your link clicks to the number of impressions you get on the associated post—for example, whichever post had a call to action for users to tap your link in bio—can be a good indicator that your followers are interested in shopping your store or reading your posts.
Want to dig a little deeper? If you have Google Analytics set up for your website (it’s free!), you can even compare changes in your Instagram referral traffic to changes in click-through rates and even the actual sales you make on your site. This way, you can analyze what actions Instagram users are actually taking after they tap your links. This can tell you a lot about the effectiveness of each of your IG marketing campaigns—or if you need to create content that inspires more engagement.
Once you’ve taken a look at each of these five metrics, you’ve completed a basic account checkup and should have an idea of how you can create posts that really resonate with your audience.