Instagram Analytics: The ultimate free guide (2019)

From Instagram stories to post and promotion, every type of content is covered so you can plan a winning strategy, get more followers and extend your reach further.

Video transcript

If you are running an Instagram account to grow your business, it is vital you understand how your audience interacts with your content so you can extend you reach, get more followers which you can turn into customers.

The best way to do this is to deep dive into Instagram Insights which is the built in analytics tool  that provides data on  the activities happening on your account such as what actions people are taking on your posts, how well your content is doing, your demographic, and much more.

If you are interested in growing your business along with your followers, watch today’s video as I am going to take you through each and every analytics option available and highlight the ones you should focus on so it’s in line with your business goals,  stay tuned.

The first thing you need to know is that only Instagram business accounts have access to Instagram insights so if you haven’t switched to a business account yet just watch my video “
How to create an Instagram Business Account (step by step)”  where I explain how to do just that. It’s very simple and only takes a few minutes.

You won’t be able to see all insights until you get to 100 subscribers but that is easily done.

Once you’ve switched to a business account go to your Instagram profile and tap the menu icon on the right-hand side.  

This will open a panel giving you access to a range of options.  Tap on the insights option.

This will open a new window with three different tabs.

One for content, one for Activity and one for audience.

You can easily navigate from one to another by taping the option you want to explore.

By default, the content tab should be open so let’s go through this one first.

Content insights

The content section is where you can find how well your posts, stories and promotions are performing on your account starting with a summary of the number of posts you have published in the last 7 days compared with the previous week.

Unfortunately, you can’t change the date range which is one of the limitations of Instagram insights.

Under the date range, the content panel is split into three main categories:

  • Your feed posts
  • Your stories
  • And your promotions

Within each category you can see the most popular pieces of content you have published in the form of thumbnails.

Each thumbnail is overlaid with the number of impressions your post, story or promotion has received.

If you don’t know what an impression is, it is the number of times your post has been seen.

In this example, this post was seen 277 number of times.

Let’s look at the overall feed posts category. In there you should see your 6 most popular posts ordered by the number of times they were. This is great but if you tap on the, see all option, you will be able to access data for all the posts you have published on your account.

Tap on one of the blue links at the top of your screen and suddenly you can filter the results by post type ( Photos, video, carrousel etc…) , the actions that were taken such as calls, comments, emails etc… and the time period.

If you are unfamiliar with the terminology being used, you can tap on the “understanding your insights “option at the bottom of your screen where you can find definition for some of the terms.

Let’s say I want to find out what photo got the most views in the past 6 months. I just need to select the photo option, then the impression option and finally the time frame then tap on apply.

Why is this useful. Because within second, I can understand what type of content works best and do more of the same.

A quick summary at the top of the screen gives you a recap of the filters you have applied. To change them just tap on one of the links and start a new search. You can dive into individual posts for further insights. Let’s look at one of my recent posts.

You can dive into individual posts for further insights. Let’s look at one of my most viewed post

Simply tap on the thumbnail of the post. At the bottom of the post tap the view insight option.

This should reveal a small panel with a summary of how many likes the post has received, the number of comments that were made, if it was sent to other accounts or saved to a collection.

But if you slide the panel up, you will be able to access a whole new set of data for this post starting with:

Interaction:  This is the number of actions that were made directly from this post. It can include a visit to your profile, a click on a link, or someone sending you an email or even calling you.

Scrolling a little bit further down you can see information about how your post was discovered which includes the number of accounts that started following you from this post, the number of people you’ve reached, which is  how many unique Instagram accounts have seen this post, and the number of impressions or views this post has received.

The difference between reach and impression can sometime be confusing.

 Impressions are the total number of times a post has been viewed while the reach is the number of people who have seen it. In this example this post was viewed 198 times by 134 people which means some people viewed it several times

Impression can come from 4 different sources.

From home:
 which means from the main Instagram feed,

From hashtags
which is people who have discovered your post from the hashtags you have added to your post.

Directly from your Instagram profile.

And finally from other sources such as external websites or emails.

Looking at the insights of posts on an individual level is extremely useful. For instance, a post that has a high impression-to reach ratio is a very good sign of engagement because people viewed it several times. So you might want to do more posts like this one.

Finding out that a high level of discovery through the hashtags you have used on a post will help you pick the right hashtags for future posts.

Getting into the habit of checking the insights of each posts is important as it will help you post better quality content and extend your reach in the future.

Let’s go back to our main content screen and this time look at Stories insights.

The process of checking insights for stories is very much the same as checking insights for posts.

Just like the posts at a glance you can see the number of impressions overlaid on the thumbnail of the stories. To access the full set of data just tap the see all options.

Again, same as the posts, you can filter the results by taping on one of the options in blue at the top of the screen.

Since the format of stories is slightly different to post, the filters available are also different. There are no options to filter by post type. The filtering options are more geared towards engagement such as, calls, exited, Forwards, next story etc… The time frame available is also different and stories insights can be tracked up to 14 days only

Let’s now look at the last content type available, Promotions. Go back to the main screen of your content activity and scroll all the way down.

If you have run or are running promotional campaign this is where you can look at the performance. Once again, you should see your promotional thumbnail with the number of impressions overlaid on top.

Tap on the see all option. The next window will be split into two panels, one for currently active promotions, and one for past ones.

For the sake of this tutorial I have set up a couple of promotions, one which has expired little while ago and one that is currently running.

Each campaign will display a short data breakdown which includes the number of profile visits, the cost and which audience was used for the campaign.

Tapping on the “view insight” option will give you access to the full breakdown of the promotion performance.

Unlike stories and posts, there is no filtering option here. The activity related to the promotion is highlighted under each insight as a percentage. Numbers will also be displayed in the right-hand sight column, there is none here as I have literally let the campaign run for a couple of hours only.

Right, that was a long-winded chapter but a very important on. It’s important you understand how well your content is working for you and what you can do to improve it.

Time to move on to the second tab

Activity

Go back to the main screen and tap the activity tap.

The activity insights are very straight forward. The data is split into two main sections, one related to interactions and one to discovery both of which are based on the data captured from the previous week.

Let’s start with interactions.

Interactions are the set of insights which measure what actions people have taken on your account. They include the number of times they visited your profile and the number of people who have clicked on the website link located in your profile.

Both data sets also include a comparison figure from the week prior which is a good indicator of whether you are doing better or worse. 

The graph highlights on which day most actions were taken; in this case it is Sunday. Tapping on the graph will break down the figures for each day.

Moving on to discovery

The discovery data set shows you how many people have seen your content and how they found it.

I’ve already explained the difference between impressions and reach but just for those of you who are still unsure.  Impressions are the total number of times a post has been viewed while the reach is the number of unique people who have seen it.

I have personally recently increased the number of posts I publish on Instagram. I can see how effective this is seen my reach as increased by 219 while the number of impression has gone up by a staggering 1838 which is very positive.

Time to move on to our last tab

Audience

If you’re like every other business, I presume you target a specific type of audience. Does your Instagram audience match with you target? This is where you can find out.

Go back to the main screen and tap on the audience tab

Just like the activity tab, the data is captured from the previous week and starts with the number of additional followers your account has gained. In this case I have accrued 5 more followers week on week.

The section below that, top locations, is about the top 5 cities and countries where your followers are located. I am based in London, so it makes sense for the top city to be London but when I switch to countries it seems the US is more popular. This is an important detail which leads me to believe I must publish content that will resonate with an American audience more often so I can extend my reach further.

Scrolling further down reveals the age range of your audience. In my case most of my Instagram audience is aged between 25 and 44. Toggling through the gender option gives you a more granular view. Interestingly, within the women category most of my audience is aged between 25-34.

This is a great insight. Let’s say I want to run a paid promotional campaign aimed at women on my account.  When defining my target audience, I would choose the 25 to 34 segment so it maximises my reach and I don’t waste money on audience types who are less likely to be interested.

The following section, gender, is the distribution of your followers between men and women. In my case my audience is marginally dominated by men.

The last section is the average times when your followers are on Instagram.

You can filter the data per days, which shows you which day your followers are the most active, or filter by hour which shows you the average time of the day your followers are on Instagram.

This is very useful at it helps you define which is the best day to publish a post and at what time.

For example, my followers seem to be on Instagram more on Thursday than any other day, and if I look at what time, it seems that 3 to 9 pm is the most popular time. Based on all this information I can really make some informed decisions and tailor my content so it resonates with my audience and I can extend my reach.

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