Instagram is a simple photo sharing app that is growing beyond the expectations of many social media pioneers. Today, it happens to be one of the fastest expanding social media networks out there. No wonder many small and large brands want to make the most of its wide user base. After all, it is is where the millennials hang out – which is an in-demand market.
Not only B2C and C2C companies, but also B2B firms have understood the importance of Instagram in terms of marketing and its potential to help brands reach out to their target audience. However, this has lead to another problem — increasing level of competition.
While there are companies that are successfully using Instagram as a tool to grow their business, many are still feeling overwhelmed in more than one way.
One of the reasons why you see some brands investing their time and money on Instagram with little to no returns is because they are downright ignoring the details. That’s right, they’re not putting in the required effort to understand where they are going wrong. Something that can be easily done by studying some of the crucial Instagram metrics.
As a business, when you focus on the right Instagram metrics and grasp their importance, you’ll start seeing results you couldn’t see before.
Knowing and understanding the key Instagram metrics allows you to keenly monitor the overall performance of your marketing campaign. These metrics give you the clarity needed to analyze what’s working in your favor, and what’s actually burning a hole in your wallet.
Armed with such critical data, you can not only optimize your current strategy, but also create an effective future marketing plan to increase your audience reach. Do it right, and it can change the way you do Instagram marketing.
Unlike other major social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is still limited in terms of analytics. However, there are still a number of Instagram metrics that will help you understand and analyze your progress.
Keep in mind that marketing your business on Instagram isn’t any different than doing it on other social media channels. By consistently analyzing your performance with the help of Instagram metrics, you create a better, more refined strategy that gives your brand a competitive edge.
So if you don’t want to play the Instagram marketing game blindly, make sure you stay focused on the following eight Instagram metrics, right from the start.
#1: Follower Growth Rate
Out of all Instagram metrics, the number of people following your Instagram account (a.k.a the follower count) is the most popular metric out there. It’s visible right above your Instagram profile bio.
But the question is, is this follower number important? If yes, then what does it tell you about your reach on Instagram? Does follower growth equal community growth?
Just like Facebook, how many followers/fans you gain will not affect your business’s bottom line on Instagram — at least not directly.
With existing followers unfollowing your profile regularly and new ones joining in, your brand’s growth on Instagram may seem slow. However, follower growth rate is still one of the critical Instagram metrics to consider.
Because the number of followers you attract to your account organically can and does indicate how your audience is perceiving your brand. Plus, it throws light on how your community is growing.
If your content is relevant, your followers may embed your posts on their own blogs/sites and as well as mention you from time to time. This can lead to a sudden spike in your follower count. The idea is to connect this growth with your own Instagram activity, such as the time of your posting, the frequency of sharing new media, running contests that require users to follow you, etc.
So go ahead and analyze how your following is growing or falling, and if this change is parallel to your own Instagram activity. Also look into other known factors such as…
- Quality of the visual content shared
- Paid promotions/ads of any type
- Number of videos published and views generated
- Engagement rate with followers and other users
The number of followers you have is still considered a vanity metric. But by looking at how you are gaining these followers, and what’s impacting their growth, can make a huge difference.
#2: Engagement Rate
If you ask any brand if they want more “likes” on Instagram, their obvious answer will be a resounding yes. While it’s true that “likes” show how many people actually like and endorse your visual content, it doesn’t stop there. It’s also important to know why exactly someone finds your photos or videos interesting.
For example, if you look at the Instagram post below, you see that 6,594 people have “liked” it. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all these people are interested in what the model in the picture is wearing. Some might have “liked” the photo out of habit of liking stuff. While others may have found the overall feel of the photo enticing. There could be many reasons.
Initially, when you’re just starting out on Instagram, you may not find the need to measure engagement metrics such as comments, likes and reposts. However, as your followers grow and as you start posting content regularly, you will have to focus on these important Instagram metrics.
Instagram’s algorithm works similar to its parent company, Facebook. Which means getting more of your followers to engage with your content means there is a higher probability of showing up in the feeds of their immediate follower network.
However, if you don’t measure the engagement rate with the total number of users following you, you simply won’t have a clear picture. In order to estimate your Instagram account’s engagement rate, use the following simple formula.
Remember, Instagram works with hashtags. Which means anybody can see and like your post — even users not following you. So don’t let engagement generated from non-followers dilute your data. When comparing, only use your own follower count to reach the right figure.
#3: Engagement Per Post
Finding success with Instagram marketing is all about working with the smallest of the details, and ensuring your efforts are focused in the right direction.
Besides the Instagram metrics that we discussed above, you also need to keep an eye on the average engagement generated from all of your posts. Doing this doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need to do is identify the top few posts of the week that have received the most engagement from your audience.
Here’s how to do it:
Doing the above should give you the average engagement per post, a metric that you cannot and should not ignore if you’re serious about growing your Instagram presence.
#4: Engagement Per Follower
How much engagement your Instagram content generates is directly proportional to the size of your current audience. As a small business, you need to understand the importance of generating the right level of engagement based on the number of followers your account has.
However, should never compare your engagement rate with Instagram profiles from big brands that regularly get hundreds of thousands of likes/comments/reposts. Your account does not have that kind of reach. This is exactly why engagements per follower metric is one of the most crucial Instagram metrics to keep an eye on. It gives you a close look at how much engagement your posts are generating per follower.
You will be surprised to know but there are instances where an Instagram profile run by a smaller brand may end up getting a higher level of engagement per follower when compared to the bigger, more established brands.
Engagement per follower is one of those Instagram metrics that you need to closely analyze because if it increases, it shows that your followers are liking your posts. And the content is relevant to their interests. It also shows that your profile is not just another page they liked; it’s a priority for them. If they’re liking a considerable number of your posts and leaving comments every now and then, it’s definitely a positive thing.
However, if you find this metric going down and not increasing much then it’s time to analyze your content. Which may be good, but may not be good enough for your audience. It shows that your followers are engaging with your content on a lower level. And there is a lack of consistency or interest.
You want your followers to check your page regularly and interact with your content.
So how do you go about improving this Instagram metric? What do you do to have a higher engagement per follower?
First and foremost, you can take the most obvious step that’ll impact this number, which is to publish more relevant and interesting content day in and day out. This sends out a message to your audience that you are serious about delivering great content. And in return they will keep coming back to your page on a regular basis.
Patrick is a real artist, and it’s his biggest passion. But he does art differently by combining digital art with real life with the help of Picsart. Since his content is creative and interesting, his followers are almost always eager to see what he will post next. Which makes his Instagram profile sticky and has people coming back for more.
If you don’t have the time to constantly publish posts on Instagram, you might consider hiring a social media management agency that will create content, post it for you, and track all your Instagram metrics.
#5: Click-through Rate
Instagram doesn’t give much liberty in terms of linking out to your website, except to the profile section where you can post one clickable link.
While some brands choose to link to their homepage from their bio, others like to use this section to promote their newsletter subscription, new content and as well any special deals they have for their followers. This is why you may find that some brands like to keep changing this link, depending on what they have to promote or share.
However, in order to make the most of this link in your profile, make sure you are using a reliable, trackable URL. Which allows you to calculate the click-through rate of your Instagram account. While some may not see this Instagram metric as important, they are missing a point.
The whole idea of using your Instagram to generate targeted traffic to your website is to improve your conversion rate. By understanding this metric, you’ll see how well Instagram traffic is converting, which may push you to experiment with different offers exclusive for your followers.
The first and the easiest option to create a trackable URL is to use bit.ly, since it helps you determine how many of your Instagram followers have visited your website or landing page.
You may choose to go the same route when you are working with promotional content on Instagram. The CTA or call to action you have has to be specific to that particular campaign and you should be able to measure it perfectly. Also, see to it that there is no clash between two data points from the same campaign. Because this may lead to poor optimization.
Here’s how Reebok uses trackable URLs in their Instagram depending on the campaign that is running.
The more clicks these links receive, the higher the probability of the visitors converting into leads or sales.
In case you’re looking for more information regarding the clickthroughs generated from your Instagram, you can add Google UTM parameters to your bio links. Once in place, you can head to your Google Analytics account to see crucial data such as:
- What number of users clicked through your bio link
- What links they clicked on and when
- What they did after clicking on the link
#6: Hashtag Growth Rate
When it comes to measuring growth on Instagram, how can you ignore the power of hashtags? Hashtag growth is an important Instagram metric that many marketers tend to ignore. However, measuring this metric can make a big difference the kind of results you generate. By using it you’ll be able to look into the number of posts that have your hashtags and as well as how your followers/non-followers are using them when commenting.
Running a successful Instagram campaign is all about having the right strategy up your sleeve and implementing it effectively. By measuring hashtag growth, you’ll know how your branded hashtags are performing and if they are helping your brand reach out to your target audience. Just the way it’s important to analyze popular hashtags used in your campaign, it’s also crucial to know the growth of your branded hashtags.
However, don’t limit yourself to monitoring only branded hashtags. You also need to monitor hashtags containing your brand name. While you may have created such hashtags, you’ll still find Instagram users creating their own version of them.
So make sure you are look out for hashtags in this space (#yourbrandname). If you find some of these hashtags are getting popular and gaining traction, then it makes sense to use them in your own campaign.
This particularly applies to all those brands that want to generate and repurpose user-generated content created by their followers.
#7: Hashtag Engagement Rate
Instagram would not be the happening photo sharing app it is today without hashtags. They both gel so well. If you’re not utilizing hashtags on Instagram, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
There are a number of benefits of using hashtags in your Instagram posts but one of the most common advantage is you’ll be able to reach out to a bigger audience. Hashtags help non-followers discover your content, which in turn helps you increase the number of follower.
In order to truly get the most out of hashtags, it’s important to understand how they help in increasing engagement. And what you can do to make them even more engaging. When talking about hashtags, there are multiple Instagram metrics to keep track of. However, measuring the engagement of your hashtags happens to be the most important of all. Why? Because if your hashtags aren’t generating engagement from your target audience, they’re not serving their core purpose.
A common practice is to add hashtags to your Instagram content. You need to look closely at how you’re using hashtags and what kind of an impact they are having. If one hashtag is getting more engagement than the other, it means that it is more relevant and useful in the eyes of your target audience. Which is why it’s getting more engagement.
Hashtags on Instagram work best when you use them effectively. Don’t be too picky when using them but don’t be messy either. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram not only supports but also encourages the usage of multiple (relevant) hashtags in posts.
So go ahead and create a list of all those hashtags that you feel can contribute to your account. And at the same time, see to it that these hashtags are popular enough to get you more likes/comments. When you have a readymade list of hashtags, you’ll know when and where to use them whenever you make a new post. Make sure the ones you use connect to the overall message of the posts.
If you know the importance of keywords in search engine optimization, you should know the importance of hashtags on Instagram. Hashtags that receive high level of engagement are akin to SEO keywords that fetch you targeted website visitors. So spending a good amount of time finding the right hashtags ensures a bigger chance of success in the long run.
The hashtag engagement rate is an underrated Instagram metric, which is why it’s not often used for content ideas. In other words, by tapping into this metric you should be able to understand what kind of content works for your audience. If one hashtag receives more engagement than the other, then it makes sense to create content around that topic/hashtag.
If you ever feel that your content should receive more engagement but isn’t getting the right kind of attention, you should study this metric. Because the whole problem could be due to your hashtag usage.
#8: Best Time/Day to Post
No social media network is equal. If Facebook is a great place to target baby boomers, then Instagram is full of millenials that you can tap into. The question is, how do you make the most of the features of platform like Instagram?
You need to understand user behavior, and what factors can work in your favor. The day and time of your posting is one such factor that you cannot and should not ignore. Because there will always be a certain time of the day that your target audience is going to be using the app more.
These peak times have higher amount of activity when compared to other moderate times. Identifying the right time/day of posting can make a world of a difference to your Instagram marketing campaign.
Every brand is different, with different goals and a unique set of audience. Which is why you need to analyze your follower growth and see the type of content you are currently posting to your account. Also note the common time/day of your posting along with the engagement rate for your posts. This should give you a fair idea of what days and timings are better for you.
While the time that you choose depends on a number of personals factors, many influencers/bloggers tend to see a the highest level of engagement rate on weekends. There are two potential (probably overlapping) reasons as to why weekend engagement rate is the maximum.
- More people spend time on their Instagram on weekends, resulting in higher follower growth rate.
- A majority of bloggers/influencers like to post at a much bigger frequency on weekends.
Nevertheless, the more you experiment with the type of content you post and times/days of the week, the more clarity you will achieve.