On an average day of Instagram, 80 million photos are shared. 80 million!
No wonder Instagram has doubled in the last two years with its highly visual nature among such an actively engaged community of users. Among such a lively feed of content, it may be nerve-wracking trying to figure out where your business fits in, but it doesn’t have to be so.
Every great Instagram account has to start somewhere, and once you’ve started, you can build up your Instagram audience over time with the help of Instagram analytics to optimize every aspect of your posts.
With Instagram analytics, it’s not just about posting for the sake of joining in, but rather about using Instagram as a tool to meet your goals.
But let’s be honest. Before any goals can be met, you need to completely understand all of the Instagram metrics, choose the ones that match your goals, and then optimize your Instagram strategy and posts to hit those goals.
So, with that, let’s dive in!
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Why You Need Instagram Analytics
Data allows us to make better, smarter decisions for both our business and our audience.
As Instagram continues to grow with over 400 million daily active users, that's a pretty great opportunity to reach and draw in not any audience, but the right audience. Without analytics, an Instagram post is a shot in the dark amidst the great clutter of all the other millions of photos, but with analytics, a path becomes clear and a strategy can be made.
Let's get started by introducing all of the analytics out there, and find which one matters most for your specific audience and goals.
Where Can I Find Instagram Insights?
Some metrics are best measured with third-party tools (like CoSchedule, and others that we'll cover).
But, you can find a lot of these metrics in-app with Instagram Insights. Here's how it works:
Looking for more info on Instagram Insights? Check out the official support docs here.
Measure Instagram Performance With CoSchedule's Social Profile Reports
Here at CoSchedule, we work hard to build the best all-in-one content + social media marketing calendar out there.
Recently, we rolled out Social Profile Reports. These are detailed network-specific analytics reports (including Instagram) that give you a birds-eye view of your performance.
- Access top social profile reports from one dashboard. Stop downloading reports from individual platforms (or multiple third-party tools). Quickly view important social KPIs for Instagram (and other top networks) right inside CoSchedule.
- Refine your social strategy with actionable insight. Track your social performance so you know what’s working (and what isn’t). Use real-time data to make updates to your social strategy, so you can continue to drive results.
- Connect with your audience + create posts that stand out. Track engagement stats and stop guessing at what will (or will not) resonate with your followers. Utilize your social profile reports to identify top content AND start creating posts you know your audience will love.
- Get social profile reports delivered right to your inbox with scheduled reports. Create and schedule easy-to-understand reports to your team + stakeholders on a weekly or monthly basis. Giving everyone a pulse on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest performance.
Alright, now let's get down to what you came here for: being a mad scientist when it comes to analyzing your Instagram content.
17 Instagram Analytics Smart Marketers Need to Measure
You may be thinking... 17? 17 analytics I have to keep track of? And the answer is no.
In order to have an awesome Instagram strategy, there's only a few, key analytics to keep track of. But it completely depends on your goals.
To help decipher which ones suit your goals best, here's a guide to the top 17 Instagram analytics broken down into three key categories.
While Instagram profiles are quite limited compared to other social networks, there are three key components you can track with analytics: Follower count, Website clickthroughs, and Profile views.
Follower Growth: Your follower count is located directly between your post and following counts at the top right of your app. This is the most prominent metric across the entire Instagram app, and the very first thing anyone checks when they go to your account. Simply put, this is your audience's first impression of your account. Because of this, it's easy to get lost in striving to constantly gain followers. But instead, remember to focus on the right kind of followers. Simply use this metric to keep track of your growth over time.
Website Clicks: The one and only place you can directly guide your audience to, is your website URL in the profile section of your account. As it's the sole location, having your most prominent URL here is key to gaining traffic to your website. At CoSchedule, we use this URL to guide our audience to our trial signup page, a most recent blog post, feature announcement, or whatever it may be for that day.Whatever you choose, make sure it's the most important page you'd like your audience to visit. To track how many of your audience are clicking on this URL, go to your analytics icon in the top right corner, and swipe through the metrics on the top. The website clicks will be the fourth and last option.
Whatever you choose, make sure it's the most important page you'd like your audience to visit. To track how many of your audience are clicking on this URL, go to your analytics icon in the top right corner, and swipe through the metrics on the top. The website clicks will be the fourth and last option.
Profile views: While not everyone chooses to follow your account, you can still track how many profile views you've had, plus how that compares to the previous week. This metric can give you an idea of general interest in who you are and what your account is about. In the same swipe location where website clicks is located, you can find this on your third swipe in.
Your audience is essential to growing your business and hitting your goals, so with these 7 key audience metrics, you can get to know your audience super well. Check it out:
Age: Oftentimes, businesses will create user personas that have key characteristics of their ideal, target audience, and age is always on the top of the list. Using the Instagram Insights, you can see the exact age range of your Instagram audience! Click the analytics icon in the top right corner, then "See More" under Followers, and boom! It shows the variety of age groups and where your specific audience falls. It can also sort by gender within the age category, so you can see if gender impacts your age range or not.
It can also sort by gender within the age category, so you can see if gender impacts your age range or not.
Use this specific metric to see if your Instagram audience's age is aligning with your user persona. If it's not, you may need to change the imagery type or tone of your posts so it becomes consistent with your goals.
Gender: Along with age, gender is another way to get to know your audience. In the same area in your Instagram Insights, it displays your audience's age ratio. For example, right now, CoSchedule's audience is 70% women and 30% men. That ratio is very close to our other traffic, so we know our content is hitting our same target audience across multiple platforms.
Location: Location is a simple metric within Instagram Insights that displays both the top cities and top countries your audience is following from. The location metric is definitely more helpful to some businesses rather than others as some might completely rely on location for their business such as hotels, tourist attractions, local shops, etc. For us at CoSchedule, this metric is great to see our global audience. Where are we most popular? Use this location metric to see what communities follow you most.
For us at CoSchedule, this metric is great to see our global audience. Where are we most popular? Use this location metric to see what communities follow you most.
Active Hours: In the same location as the above under 'Followers', you'll also be able to find the most active hours from your audience. This is the time your audience is checking in on your account the most often, which in return, lets you see what hours are the most popular, and best time to post. Find the hour that fits your audience best, and take advantage of it.
Active Days: Similar to active hours, Instagram Insights will show you the most active days your audience is checking your account. They may vary just slightly, but none the less, there's always a clear winner. Find your top days, and start scheduling your Instagram posts for those popular days.
Instagram Story Impressions: As of August 2016, Instagram released a new feature called Instagram Stories. Similar to the commonly known Snapchat, you can post your daily events in a story that only displays for a 24-hour period time. Businesses can you use these stories for a variety of ways from showing off their team culture, connecting at events, or simply for another way to reach their audience with news and questions.
To find your Instagram Story metrics, go into the Instagram Insights tab via the analytics icon, and scroll down to the Stories section.From there, you can see the impressions on each Instagram story, which represent how many people have viewed your story.
Top Followers: This metric allows you to see which followers are the most valuable to you whether by their engagement, size of account, keyword, location, etc. Knowing your top followers, leads to potential partnerships, cross-promotion, or any other marketing campaigns as you can directly contact those who are already helping you grow.Why not see if there are more possibilities?
While this metric isn't found directly in Instagram Insights within the app, you can find your Top Followers by using tools like Social Rank. If you click on 'Followers', you can sort by most engaged, most valuable, etc.—so pick the one that you're most interested in, and then a #1-#10 summary list will appear below. Take this list, and reach out!
Instagram Content Analytics
Beyond your account profile and audience analytics, there's the actual content itself.
Instagram has both image and video sharing, so between the two, there are so many variables to make your content perform well from the color scheme, visual layout, the written caption, filter, you name it!
Thankfully, the content analytics can give you insight into what posts are working well, and then from there you can analyze what individual variables work best.
Likes: Instagram users 'like' 4.2 billion posts per day! This is the simplest way to quickly see the performance of an Instagram post. To 'like' a post, your audience clicks the heart icon, and then below that, it shows the number of total likes on that given post. Likes are the easiest way for your audience to quickly scroll through their feed, while still engaging in your content, so this is a great place to start analyzing which content works, and which doesn't.|
Comments: Comments are the next level of engagement from your audience as they not only 'liked' or scrolled past your post, but stopped to say something and voice their opinion. Comments don't necessarily all come pouring in at once, but rather appear over time as most brands continue to see a majority of comments 18-24 hours after the initial post all the way up to 19 days!
You can find your comments by selecting a given post in Instagram, and then by scrolling to 'view all # comments' to see what was precisely said.Instagram now allows users to 'like' other people's comments too, so make sure to jump into the discussion, reply where you see fit, and like the comments you enjoyed most.The Instagram app includes both likes and comments in their notifications feed so that you can track and be alerted of these two analytics as they receive attention. Not only can you find them there, but if you'd like a large overview of likes and comments per account, you can find it in the CoSchedule
The Instagram app includes both likes and comments in their notifications feed so that you can track and be alerted of these two analytics as they receive attention. Not only can you find them there, but if you'd like a large overview of likes and comments per account, you can find it in the CoSchedule Social Engagement Report! You can sort by any given period of time, and then it'll show you the performance per account and per message.
Saves: Instagram released a new saving feature as of late 2016 that allows you to privately save any Instagram posts that you want to keep for later on. Rather than screen-shotting the Instagram post, you can simply click the ribbon icon in the bottom right of your Instagram post. From there, it will go into your Saved tab that's located on your profile page.
Instagram insights include this metric within the individual Instagram post. Click 'View Insights' directly below your post, and then the amount of saves you've received is in the far right-hand. If your content is being added to a saved bucket, you definitely know it resounded with your audience and was something they plan on returning to later on. Nice work!
Impressions: The total impressions on a given Instagram post is the total number of times your post has been seen. This could be from the direct newsfeed that users are scrolling through or through strangers on search. If they've simply seen your post, it'll track an impression. This metric is helpful to see overall viewership, but it doesn't give any insight on how well your audience engaged or interacted with a given post, so use this one sparingly.
Reach: Similar to Impressions, but slightly different is Reach. Reach is defined by the total number of accounts that have seen your post. While impressions is total number of times, Reach is total number of accounts. This is a good metric to have as we know having the same person viewing the same post over and over doesn't necessarily equate to success. Reach allows you to see on an account level, to analyze how large your audience actually is.
Engagement: Engagement is the number of unique Instagram accounts that have liked, saved, or commented on your post. Basically, it takes the data from your likes, saves, and comments, and rolls them into one metric for you called engagement. This is an awesome metric to keep track of as most goals often coincide with interacting with their audience.There are several tips and tricks to grow engagement, so try a few and watch your engagement grow!
Plus, CoSchedule has your Social Engagement Report suited for just this! You can select any given period of time, choose the Instagram network, and it'll analyze your total messages sent, the engagements received, and then finalize an engagement rate for you. We love using this to get the overall picture of our engagement over time.
Top Posts: Lastly, there's top posts, or rather those Instagram posts that are top performing. Within Instagram insights, you can click on 'Top Posts' to see all of your posts sorted by their number of impressions from top to bottom within the last 30 days. While this metric only takes into consideration the impressions or how many times your posts was seen, this can be helpful to see the bigger picture of which posts have the best curb appeal.
Bonus: If you'd like to see your top posts based on real engagement rather than just impressions, the CoSchedule Social Engagement Report shows you just that. Choose your timeframe, and see up to 20 of your top messages on Instagram. This is a great tool to see posts that not only look good, but have audience interaction.
d use to track your Instagram efforts from your audience to your shared content.But, if we're honest, that's A LOT to keep track of.
That's where Instagram tools come into play, so below we have some of favorite free and paid tools to save you time by seeing them all in one place, while making your more strategic with Instagram.
3 Free Tools for Measuring Instagram Performance
Instagram Insights: With the introduction of Instagram Business accounts, Instagram Insights provides a lot of information at the touch of your hands, whenever you have a free moment. They no longer simply present the likes and comments of a post, but rather numerous audience metrics and individual post metrics that weren't possible before.
Plus, it's free!
The only downside to Instagram Insights is that it's fairly limited in that it has set time frames for metrics: 1 week for most profile analytics and 30 days for top posts.
SquareLovin has a free account that will send you an email report of your chosen Instagram account. If you'd like, they allow can download the report to Excel or export to PowerPoint. Within SquareLovin, they show your total posts, engagements, and a large chart of your overall activity over time.There's also a section of Top Posts that is sorted by most engaged post with a nice comparison metric. Lastly, they have a chart that shows which keywords are common in your comments as well as your most active commenters.
Within SquareLovin, they show your total posts, engagements, and a large chart of your overall activity over time.There's also a section of Top Posts that is sorted by most engaged post with a nice comparison metric.
Lastly, they have a chart that shows which keywords are common in your comments as well as your most active commenters. And.... even more analytics from best time and day to publish, to what cities and filters work best for you. This is definitely a great tool to see extensive analytics for Instagram.
SocialRank is definitely the easiest as far as connecting your account and diving into the data right away. As mentioned above, this is one of the few places you can analyze your top followers by numerous factors, so you can get very specific.You can also compare across accounts to see how they differ, which would come in handy for anyone with multiple accounts for the same business. SocialRank also lets you download the info to a CSV file or PDF to share with others. Definitely recommended!
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5 Paid Tools to Consider
Iconosquare is probably the most well-known Instagram Analytics tool available on the market. Between its beautiful dashboard with all the posts in a line, and its various metrics from followers to engagement, I can certainly see why. Iconosquare has both overview metrics to see what your top post or top engaged post is, as well as individual analytics for any given Instagram post to see its lifespan over time.
While Iconosquare does have a two-week free trial, it is a paid service with a variety of plans to choose from. Their features are quite extensive, so use their pricing chart to find where you and your team might fit.
Quintly is a web-based tool that not only tracks your Instagram analytics, but all of your other accounts as well. Quintly is great at seeing how your analytics compare to your competitors as you can set benchmarks for your accounts, and they also have tailored reporting so you can send that data to whomever might be interested in seeing the progress. Lastly, Quintly allows you to set up custom metrics if you wish (which is always super needed!) as well as campaign tracking so you can see how a given campaign is performing across all networks.
Lastly, Quintly allows you to set up custom metrics if you wish (which is always super needed!) as well as campaign tracking so you can see how a given campaign is performing across all networks.
Quintly does have a 'forever free' plan, but the data is limited to 30 days. So if you're serious about analytics, they have four paid plans available for purchase.
Keyhole is another great platform to see all of your analytics in one place in a simple dashboard. They can track a few different networks such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but uniquely can track any given hashtag, keyword, mention, or url as well. For Instagram, primarily, simply add whichever account you'd like data for. From there, you'll find your basic metrics up top, a chart of your posts performance over time, and then your top posts by engagement. Keyhole also shows your top engaged hashtags used, and optimal best times to post to help in the creation of your future posts.
Keyhole has a 3-day free trial, but that's a pretty short amount of time to really dive into your analytics. So they offer 5 paid plans that cover a wide variety of features.
Minter.io was specifically made for Instagram analytics. Once you enter your account info or a hashtag, you can choose any given period of time, and then start capturing data. Minter.io shows your audience, growth over time, their gender, and location.
They also have an engagement tab that shows the top commented, most likes, top interacted, etc.Lastly, and probably my favorite element of Minter.io, is their optimization tab. This tab includes best times top post, best days to post, and really goes in depth on all the variety of ways to optimize your Instagram posts.
Here's a grand list of all that the metrics they collect for Instagram:
Minter.io has a 14-day free trial, but beyond that, it is a paid service with three main plans to choose from.
You've probably heard of CoSchedule before (wink, wink). But as a marketing management calendar my team and I work in every day, it's so handy to have all our analytics right alongside our campaigns so we not only schedule content, but can see what's working and what's not. Through CoSchedule's desktop and mobile app, you can schedule Instagram posts in advance using CoSchedule's best time feature, making one less step to think about.
After scheduling our posts, my team and I go into our Social Engagement Report under the analytics tab to see how our Instagram posts performed. (This report has all of the networks, but let's focus on Instagram.) At CoSchedule, we're all about investing our time in the 10x projects rather than the 10% projects, so this report lets us see clearly where to focus our efforts in Instagram.
The very first step is selecting the date period we'd like to analyze. From there, an overview chart will appear that shows how our posts are doing based off engagement (likes, comments, and shares). I personally love this, because we care more about engagement at CoSchedule than general impressions.
The same goes for our top posts section. In here, you can choose to see up to your top 20 posts based off the Instagram post's overall engagement. CoSchedule weighs comments slightly more than likes appropriately so that posts with 20 comments rank better than 20 likes. This way, we have a completely accurate overview of which posts are top-performing, and then we can create content similar to that to grow our audience and reach our goals.
Then, we also use Social Profile Reports to get a more granular view on our Instagram performance.
This also lets us see our best posting times, to help us optimize our schedule:
Plus, we can drill into our engagement rates by day of week and time of day:
And, it gives us another place to see our top Instagram posts:
CoSchedule has a 14-day free trial that includes scheduling to all networks, which includes the mobile app that schedules posts to Instagram (more features coming soon to mobile!). The more advanced plans such as Team Pro and beyond receive all of the analytic reports including Top Content, Social Engagement (seen above), and Team Reports. Try it out for yourself!
There ya have it! Four free tools, and five paid Instagram analytic tools to keep your metrics all in one place to make you and your team even more efficient when it comes to Instagram scheduling and analysis.
Don't be scared to sign up and utilize the trials of all of the tools to get a feel for which one is best for you and your goals. One will certainly feel best, and then you can rock your Instagram strategy.
Create An Instagram Strategy From Your Analytics
What would analytics and data be without the actual application of such insights?
Sure, they're fun and interesting to look through, but the magic of analytics happens when you have a goal, you measure it with your metrics, and then those results direct you to your next decision.
Here's a quick checklist to use to create your Instagram strategy:
- Define your goal. For Instagram, that might be growing your following, developing a larger community with higher engagement on Instagram, or maybe it's increasing your traffic to your website. Choose the goal that defines your business mission best.
- Make your goal specific. At CoSchedule, we're big fans of the SMART goals system because it breaks down our lofty goals into something that's specific, measurable (via analytics), aspirational, relevant, and timely. So, if your goal is to increase your audience engagement on Instagram, your SMART goal might look something like this:In 6 months, I want the CoSchedule Instagram audience engagement to be 10.0 on average.
- Choose the metrics that match your goal. Now that you have a specific goal in mind, you can narrow down which metrics to track to both save you time from endlessly wandering through data, as well as keeping your focus on the metrics that directly impact your goal. If we follow the engagement goal above, the metrics that best fit this category would be comments, likes, and saves.
- Record your analytics over time. Whether you use a tool above, or a simple DIY chart, choose a consistent time period to record your findings. At CoSchedule, each morning I check in on the metrics important to us, and then by the end of the week, I know what performed well, and what could be improved. For you, that might be weekly on every Monday, or every two weeks. Whatever period you choose, ensure that it's consistent so your data is accurately represented.
- Analyze. This is the fun part (at least for me). Sit back, get a cup of coffee, and really dig into the data you've collected. Ask yourself what's surprising, what's predictable, what is doing extremely well, and what is doing poor. Better yet, try to find patterns in your data by choosing two metrics and following them through. How do they interact together? Do you see anything?
- Pivot. This is the final and most important step to having an awesome Instagram strategy. Once you've analyzed all of your data, you've gained some great insight on what's working and what needs to be improved. Now, it'd be easy to just continue doing what you have been doing, but instead, now is the time to act! Take your new knowledge of what's achieving your goals, and do more of that and less of what's doing poorly. Remember to be agile, keep adjusting and tweaking your Instagram scheduling until you see the results you want. Just go for it!
Finding the Instagram Analytics That Matter Most
The world of marketing is led by a constant feed of visuals surrounding us, including Instagram. With its ever-increasing popularity and growing feature set, more and more businesses are sharing their stories and reaching their audience through Instagram to grow and achieve their own goals.
Now you can, too!
With the full overview of what metrics there are, and what tools exist to help you measure them, you're all set. Just take the first step toward creating an Instagram strategy, and you're on your way to mastery.
Have an Instagram tip you'd like to share with us? Comment below!
This post was originally published on April 17, 2017. It was updated on March 21, 2018.