Instagram, as a dominant social media platform, has received a good amount of attention from most major brands. It has been leveraged as a marketing tool by most companies that have a compelling visual component to their business, and could at this point, be considered pretty mature in terms of social media platforms that companies can use to grow and engage with their audiences.
Because there is so much competition on Instagram, it is more important than ever before to consider a measured approach when looking to improve performance on the platform. Just logging in a posting pictures isn’t enough to have an impact anymore. Brands that want to really embrace the power of the audience that this platform provides will need to think about what metrics matter, and matter to them most on Instagram.
In this guide you will learn about some of the most important metrics available to brands on Instagram, and how they can be analysed to assess performance and help increase your effectiveness and the experience that your users have while visiting your profile.
There are a wide variety of metrics available to you as a brand, but not all of them are important to you depending on what your goals are. And in this guide, we’ll help you develop your priorities, depending on your goals, and show you what metrics should be most important to you based on those priorities.
Knowing what to focus on is hard
If you’ve been on Instagram long, or even if you’re new to the platform, you’ve likely already seen some of the more obvious metrics that you can measure your account by. Likes, followers, comments, and more. But what do any of these metrics tell you? Does the number of likes you have to make your account more valuable? That’s what some people seem to think, which is why there are some platforms that sell Instagram followers. This is generally known to be a bad idea, so it’s not that simple.
On their own, some of these can be somewhat meaningless, or even deceptive. And if you don’t have a focus, it can be impossible to really figure out what metrics will get you closer towards your real objective. Whether that be more awareness or sales for your business. The visible metrics alone can be good indicators for success, but there is often some deeper analysis required to get the most out of these numbers.
Key Metrics and Why they Matter
Knowing the key metrics involved on Instagram is important. And you likely already know some (likes, comments, etc.). These metrics play off of each other and are often used in more detailed metrics themselves. Without knowing some of the basics, it might be hard to get a deeper grasp of what really makes them important. When we go over some of these metrics, we’ll make sure to explain what they mean, and how they are measured.
Choosing Key Metrics
Choosing what metrics you choose to focus on requires an analysis of what matters most to you and your brand. If engagement is most important to you, you’ll care most about metrics that are relevant to users interacting with your posts and your content. But if your goals revolve around driving traffic to your website, or converting that traffic into sales, your key metrics will likely revolve around link clicks and website conversions.
Knowing what to measure yourself by is essential for being able to see success in your strategy.
The number of followers you have on Instagram is often considered to be the most important metric on the platform. And to a certain extent, it is. Another way to view this metric is to think of your follower count as your potential reach. The more followers you have, the more people you can reach with each post.
Followers can also help you brand to appear more legitimate, and give you the impression of being an influencer or a market leader in your space. But don’t fall into the trap of caring so much about the follower count that you turn to fake followers to help inflate these numbers.
But follower account alone might not be enough to give you the insights you need to make the most out of the data that your followers can potentially provide.
With an Instagram business account, you can dive deeper than just the surface follower can’t and see into the demographics of your followers. This can help to provide you with insights into whether or not your follower count reflects the known demographics of your customers. If there is a discrepancy in the demographics of your followers on Instagram, and your actual customers, you know that you need to take a different approach on Instagram to reach the demographic that you know converts into your customers in real life or on your website. There is some potential that you’ve discovered a new market as well. But if the discrepancy is pronounced enough, you know that you are just reaching the wrong audience.
These, however, are one-dimensional metrics. And with followers, there are some other metrics that can be observed to provide deeper insights into how followers affect your account.
Follower Growth Rate
The amount of followers your account acquired over time makes up your follower growth rate. Your follower growth rate can give you insights into how healthy your account is. If your growth rate is at or near zero, then you have an issue reaching new users of the platform, and you won’t be able to improve other metrics that you might find important, in addition to your follower count.
Your growth rate should ideally be fairly constant depending on how much content you post, and as you begin to grow, you will likely notice that you will have an easier time growing once you get past a certain threshold. This is because as your account begins to grow in size, your reach increases and other users will begin to act as a catalyst for your content, with your legitimacy increasing in tandem.
If your goal is to increase your reach, you will want to seek to increase and continually grow your growth rate.
Engagement Per Follower
The number of comments, likes, and other engagement that you receive per follower is a good indication of the kind of engagement that your account receives overall. If your engagement per follower is low, that means that overall, your followers are less engaged. That can be a bad sign for your account based on how Instagram prioritises accounts using its algorithm, as well as a bad indicator based on the goals that you have set for yourself.
If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, you will want to reach a healthy engagement rate. And if you want to increase the reach that your account has, you might even want to go further and increase this number to all-time highs.
Your engagement might be very low if you have attracted fake followers (or if you made the mistake of seeking those out yourself). Engagement per follower is a great way to uncover serious issues with your follower base beyond looking at just the demographics of your followers.
Website clicks are going to be the most important metric that you can pursue if your goal is to drive traffic to your own website and convert your Instagram followers and visitors into visitors and customers on your own website. These clicks to your website can be seen if you use an analytics platform that allows tracking by source on your websites (almost all of them do this, including Google Analytics). And this can be a great way for you to measure and analyse your data beyond the Instagram app yourself.
Your website clicks from Instagram might also let you know how enticing the link that you are using it on your profile for your visitors. If you don’t see much interest in the link you have on your profile, but you see a healthy engagement rate elsewhere on your profile, you might want to select another link to share, or re-word your call to action on your profile page. It is unlikely that your users would be engaged on some things and completely averse to other things on your profile. Although engagement rates between your link and your posts will most certainly vary.
When looking at your website clicks you will also want to make sure that you compare different links and offers to optimise and see which links, and which types of links perform best for driving your profile visitors to your website.
Comments can be a great indicator for people to engage with your content. Comments are more engaged than a like, and even a follow. They indicate that someone has seen your post and found it fitting to leave a remark. If this is a real person, and they have left a comment on one of your posts, this is an A+ engagement moment!
However, this metric can also be somewhat more deceiving now that there are many tools available that are designed to leave generic comments to encourage people to visit profiles of the person leaving the comment. And also by the fact that Instagram now suggests common comments and emoji comments by default when opening up the dialogue.
You’ll most likely want to evaluate comments in a holistic way (how many) but also try and dive deeper on some posts to see how many comments are truly authentic in nature, and not just generic comments left by accounts seeking more attention on the platform.
Last but not least, competitor data is a good way to evaluate where you stand on Instagram among your peers. If you have fewer followers, you have less reach, but if you have higher engagement, you might be able to have more impact per post. Take a look at your competitors to see where you stand. If you are way behind them in terms of engagement and follower count, take a few ideas from how and when they post and try to replicate their success. If you dwarf them in followers, but they get more engagement, try to see why. And if you stack up against the same, well, you might want to see if you can beat them somehow.
Keep in mind however that your competition may be entering different verticals, and might be judging themselves differently when it comes to follower demographics or engagement on Instagram. Example: you are both in fashion industry, you target teenage females - your competitor targets busy female founders. For that reason, you won’t just want to copy your competition one to one. Instead, use their insights as a benchmark for your own goals. And develop your strategy separate from what they are doing.
Instagram, as a dominant social media platform, has received a good amount of attention from most major brands. And many companies are beginning to use it as a primary part of their wider marketing strategies. For a good reason too. Instagram has a large and engaged audience, and can easily be made to be a great lead generation tool for your business.
But because there is so much competition on Instagram, it is more important than ever before to consider a measured approach when looking to improve performance on the platform. If you are logging into your account and posting a picture once in a while, you aren’t going to see the kind of engagement you need to make a difference for your band really.
We hope you found this guide helpful in giving you some ideas for how to use Instagram metrics to fit the needs of your brand best. To get the most out of Instagram, it’s important to go deeper than just the surface metrics that are made obvious to users. Vanity metrics can be important in some instances, but if you have a clear goal and objective in mind, we hope this guide was useful to help uncover the deeper and more meaningful metrics that will help you better realise your goals.