7 Instagram Metrics You Should Track to Measure Performance
Do you know the difference between reach and impressions? Do you know what percentage of your followers engage with your posts?
Tracking the most important Instagram metrics is crucial to grow your account and build an engaged following.
With more than 1 billion active users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. It’s also the most powerful social media platform for branding specifically.
But like any other social media platform, there’s not much point in using Instagram if you’re not getting results and actively tracking performance.
Whether you are evaluating an influencer's account or tracking your own profile's analytics, below are the most important Instagram metrics to measure the success of an account.
Include these metrics in your social media reports to see how if your social marketing strategy is delivering results.
1. Follower Growth Rate
(Track followers over time in the AgencyAnalytics Dashboard)
A high follower count can be an ego boost and add brand credibility, but it doesn’t say that much about the health of your marketing campaigns and Instagram efforts.
Your follower growth rate, on the other hand, gives you a good idea of whether your business is expanding its reach and catching new people’s attention.
In other words, the way your follower count changes is more important than your actual number of followers when evaluating your Instagram performance.
For instance, suppose you get 50 new followers in a month. If you started out with 500 followers, that means your growth rate was 10% - which is excellent.
However, if you started out with 5000 followers and got 50 new followers that month, your follower growth rate would be only 1%. This metric indicates that your Instagram marketing is stagnating, and it may be time to try a new strategy.
Determining your follower growth rate is simple. Here's how:
- Take the number of followers you gained over the last month.
- Divide that number by the number of followers you had at the beginning of the month. For instance, if you gained 90 followers this month and had 1500 followers at the start of the month, your follower growth rate this month was 90/1500 = 0.06, or 6%.
2. Engagement Per Follower
An incredible 70% of Instagram posts don't get seen.
All of the followers in the world won't drive any new business if your followers don't see and engage with your posts.
With Instagram's updated algorithm, engagement is more important than ever to make sure your posts are seen.
Tracking your engagement per follower lets you monitor just how interested your audience is.
This metric is especially important if you're evaluating a partnership with an influencer. You don't want to pay for a sponsored post on an account without any engagement.
Just like with follower count and growth rate, you don't want to look at just the raw numbers.
It’s important to compare the number of likes and comments with the size of the audience.
A post that has 20 likes may seem like a decent amount of engagement. But if they have 20,000 followers, that's only an engagement rate of 0.1%.
You can calculate your engagement per follower on a monthly or weekly basis. Don’t try to calculate it on a daily basis, since normal day-to-day fluctuations will probably throw off your data.
Look at the total number of likes and comments you got during a specific time period and then divide that number by the number of followers you had during that time period.
For example, if you got 78 likes and comments last week and you had 600 followers, your follower engagement rate was 13% for the week.
So you don't have to add up your likes and comments across every post, try using a tool like AgencyAnalytics to track engagement across your social accounts.
3. Website Traffic
Like other social media channels, Instagram can be a powerful driver of traffic to your website.
Instagram is more limiting than other social platforms in driving traffic to your site. You can't add clickable links to each post - it only allows the one tap-able link in your bio.
However, the new ability to add links to your Instagram Stories for verified users adds a lot more opportunities to drive traffic to your site via Instagram. (Keep on reading for more information about using Instagram stories for your business below!)
You can track the source of all website traffic directly in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics segments your traffic into default channel groupings - one of which is "social."
If you navigate to "Acquisition" --> "Channels" and click "Social" in your GA account, you can see exactly which social channels drive traffic to your site.
It will even break out Instagram Stories separately.
Track "Goals" in Google Analytics to see if your Instagram traffic converts, so you can accurately measure the ROI of your social media efforts.
4. Link Clicks
Now you know how to see how much traffic Instagram drives, but which specific updates and stories were clicked?
You can take your Instagram analytics to the next level when you create URLs with UTM parameters that tell your analytics platform where a particular visitor came from. UTM parameters are basically informational tags that you append to your normal URL.
UTM URLs can be unwieldy to type out manually, but there are a number of simple tools on the internet that will generate these URLs for you. GA Campaign Builder is a popular (and free!) one.
Below is an example of a simple UTM URL:
UTM URLs can be a bit clunky, so you may want to shorten your finished URL with bit.ly or a similar tool. GA Campaign Builder provides a link shortener directly in the tool. Below is a shortened URL:
Take it a step further in your reports to really impress clients and demonstrate results from Instagram.
Easily add to your AgencyAnalytics reports an overview of all social traffic, including goal completions. This report will allow you to measure how often traffic from social channels, like Instagram, converts on your client’s website.
5. Comments Per Post
Likes on Instagram are gratifying, but comments are worth more.
It only takes a second to tap the “like” button, but typing out a comment requires time and thought. When someone leaves a comment, it shows that you’ve really caught their interest and connected with them in some way.
Thus, the number of comments you get is an important metric to track. Keep an eye on your average, and notice if it goes up or down.
For instance, if you got an average of five comments per post six months ago, and you get an average of eight now, you’re doing something right in terms of connecting with your audience. If your average number of comments has gone down, try to figure out why your audience is less engaged than they used to be.
It’s also a good idea to notice which of your individual posts get the most comments. See if a pattern emerges over time. For instance, if your audience really likes a particular type of product photo, create more posts like that to keep engagement high.
6. Instagram Stories Engagement
Instagram stories – which can be either video or photos – are a bit different from regular content because they disappear after 24 hours. This disappearing act makes the feature a bit more difficult to track engagement.
Platforms outside Instagram don’t currently support analytics for expiring content, but you can still track this metric with Instagram’s native analytics tool, called Insights.
You’ll need a business account on Instagram to access Insights. Creating one is easy. Go to settings, and you’ll see an option called “Switch to Business Profile.”
After that, you’ll be prompted to enter information about your business.
After setting up your business profile, you should be able to access data about your stories on Insights.
There are two main things you should pay attention to: reach and exits.
Your reach tells you how many unique viewers saw your story; the longer you’re on Instagram and the more followers you get, the more your reach should increase.
Your exits tell you which slide people were on when they exited your story. Exits are a good way to see what holds your audience’s interest and what doesn’t. If you notice a lot of exits on one particular slide, try to figure out why so many people lost interest at that point.
This is another metric that requires you to switch to a Business Account. You can view reach within your Instagram Insights.
Reach tells you the total number of people who have seen your post.
This is different from impressions. If the same person sees your post 3 times, that will count as 3 impressions. However, that person only counts as 1 towards reach, making it an important metric to measure how many people are actually seeing your post.
Along with total reach, you want to be tracking your Reach Rate. This is the percentage of followers that see your post.
You can calculate it by dividing the total reach of a post by your total number of followers. For example, if you have 300 reach and 1000 followers, your reach rate is 30%.
Instagram can be a great place to market your business. It’s fun, it gives you an artistic outlet, and it lets you connect with your audience.
However keep in mind, if you want your Instagram marketing to be profitable as well as fun, you’ve got to track the right metric regularly. Focus on these important metrics, and you’ll get a clearer picture of how your current strategy is performing, as well as some ideas for how to improve.
Additional Reading: 11 Facebook Ads Metrics to Track (and 2 You Should Simply Ignore)
Written by Joe Kindness
Joe is the CEO of AgencyAnalytics, but often spends his day programming, designing or executing marketing tasks. And like most Canadians, he can be found playing or watching hockey!