Guide to Instagram Analytics: Tips and Tools

Instagram analytics are the bread and butter of any successful marketing campaign on the platform. Learn how to use them here.

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Unfortunately, posting regularly on Instagram simply isn’t enough if you want to seriously market your brand to a healthy number of its 1 billion plus users.

For that, you’ll need to create a clever Instagram marketing strategy. To do this, and succeed, you’ll need to fully grasp the ins and outs of Instagram analytics.

However, mastering Instagram insights can certainly be time consuming – and costly – if they aren’t actioned correctly. One option is to receive support from a digital marketing agency, which can save you the hassle and expense of trying to understand Instagram analytics yourself.

For more information and to receive quotes from some of the UK’s top digital marketing agencies, simply take a few minutes to complete our free cost comparison tool.

Or read on to discover our easy-to-follow, step-by-step Instagram analytics guide that will help you gain that sought-after verified account tick in no time.

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Why it's important to use Instagram analytics

Before we delve into the specifics of Instagram insights, let’s take a look at precisely why your business needs to use them:

To measure growth

Using analytics helps you to understand how your Instagram account is performing week on week, month on month. This, in turn, will make it easier to analyse the overall marketing performance, and measure your success on any KPIs that have been set.

Analytics makes this easy by providing insights into growth ‘rates’. For example, Instagram insights will calculate the % increase in the number of followers you have this month compared to the month prior. “Did I gain more followers this month, or fewer?”

To gain fans rather than followers

Instagram analytics allows you to delve into the personas of the users who are following you. You can pinpoint the demographics of the accounts that consistently engage with your posts, helping you build a ‘buyer persona’, and enabling you to create more relatable content and rewarding marketing campaigns moving forward.

To strategise effectively

It’s all well and good reading articles from marketing experts about the best times to post. Petra Smith the marketing consultant at Squirrels and Bears, argues that generic advice just doesn’t cut it.

“Every brand has a different audience and the strategy needs to be tailored to that audience. Whilst hacks are a great short-term fix, they are not a strategy. A long-term successful strategy is created through understanding and implementing your analytics so that you can create content that your audience will enjoy and act upon.”

A long-term successful strategy is created through understanding and implementing your analytics so that you can create content that your audience will enjoy and act upon.

How to use Instagram Insights to view analytics

The Instagram Insight section of the app gives you a more detailed breakdown of that all-important data. It gives you access to information that includes:

  • Location of accounts reached
  • Age range of followers
  • When your followers are typically online
  • How many users visited your profile (in the last week)
  • And much more!

It is your first port of call when analysing the performance of your content on Instagram, be that a post, story, or reel.

But how do you access it? And how exactly does it work? Simply open up the Instagram app, and follow our instructions below to find out.

Accessing Instagram Insights

  1. Ensure you have converted your personal Instagram profile into a business profile. To find out exactly how to do this, visit our how to use Instagram for business guide.
  2. When you visit the profile of your business account, you should see an ‘Insights’ button (shown below).
  3. You can also access the Insights tab by tapping on the menu icon in the top right corner of your profile.

Using the Insights dashboard

  1. Once you’ve accessed the dashboard, you will be shown a general overview of the three key metrics that Instagram collects data on. These are: reach, engagement, and followers.
  2. Instagram will automatically show an overview of insights from the last seven days. However, if you want to analyse your performance across a longer timescale, simply select the dropdown option in the top left corner (shown below). You can access insights all the way up to 90 days prior.

screenshot insta

Analysing specific channels

  • As a brand, you will (at least you should) be posting a range of different content on your Instagram. This includes posts, reels, stories, and livestreams.
  • To find out how content published on a specific channel is performing, scroll down to the ‘content you’ve shared’ section of the Insights dashboard and select which channel you want to gain further insight on.

insta analytics 3

  • For example, if you select ‘posts’, you will be taken to a tab that shows all the posts you have published in the last year.
  • For insight into how specific posts have performed, you can customise the filters. Depending on what data you need, you can change the post type, metric, and time period.

instagram insights deepdive

One particularly great benefit of using Instagram analytics is the sheer number of metrics you can delve into. Benefit from insights concerning:

  • Business address taps
  • Call button taps
  • Comments
  • Email button taps
  • Follows
  • Impressions
  • Likes
  • Post interactions
  • Profile visits
  • Reach
  • Saves
  • Text button taps
  • Video views
  • Website taps

Diving into Instagram’s three key metrics

As well as enabling you to anaylse content channel data, you can also delve deeper into the three most important performance metrics for Instagram business users.

These are reach, engagement, and followers. Without exploring these metrics in-depth, you will seriously struggle to market successfully on Instagram.

This is because these benchmarks give you vital data concerning your audience, growth, and the success of all your marketing campaigns.

To examine these metrics in detail:

  • From the insights overview tab, select the metric you want further insight on, for example if you select ‘accounts reached’, you’ll be taken to the reach tab.

instagram insights accounts reached

  • From here you have access to huge amounts of data. You can build an audience persona by analysing what cities your followers are based in. Or find out the top age ranges of your audience, as well as much more.

Other data available includes:

  • The reach of your content – followers vs non-followers
  • Gender
  • What type of content has reached users
  • Top posts (based on reach)
  • Impressions (number of users that have seen your content – find out more in our how much do Instagram ads cost guide)

accounts reached Instagram

  • If you want a deep dive into the other metrics, repeat this process for engagement, and followers.
Feeling slightly overwhelmed?

Receiving support from a digital marketing agency may help you fully grasp the mechanics of social media insights. Check out our review of the top digital marketing agencies to find out more.

Or, if you are based in London, why not take a look at the top London-based marketing companies that could help you.

Discussing the importance of using Instagram analytics, Dan Davis, a social media strategist at Love Energy Savings, says:

“Instagram Analytics is an incredibly useful tool in that it enables you to understand the success of your posting strategy on many levels. On the micro level, or per post, you can see how your content is received.

“This gives you the ability to test and optimise the content that you're putting out on your account so that you have the best chance of achieving your Instagram goals.

“Further to that, you have the ability to plan content to suit your audience as it grows and evolves, as you can see the demographics within your audience and tailor your content to suit. It has everything you need to start planning your Instagram takeover.”

Instagram analytics has everything you need to start planning your Instagram takeover.

Best Instagram analytics tools to use for metric tracking

Instagram analytics is an incredible tool, particularly seeing as it doesn’t cost you a single penny to use.

However, it isn’t the only social media management tool at your disposal, and there are plenty of excellent alternatives to ensure your Instagram marketing strategy is a success.

Some of the best Instagram analytics tools on the market include:

  • Hootsuite – best all-round social media management tool
  • Sprout Social – best for understanding your target audience
  • Buffer – best for affordability, and scheduling all social content in one place

Given the diversity of the platform, Gerard Murnaghan, VP of Sprout Social EMEA, notes that it makes sense to use multiple tools for Instagram based on your priorities.

Murnaghan advises:

“Whether you’re an individual just starting out, or a larger organisation running multiple accounts, it pays to use the right tools to analyse and improve your campaigns.

“Instagram’s native tools can help you scratch the surface, but if you want to benchmark, define and reconfigure campaigns third-party tools will be able to provide a deeper dive.”

Some of the major benefits of using social media management tools include:

  • Ready-made, customisable reports generated from social media insights: so you can update stakeholders and team members on the success of marketing campaigns
  • Comparison of performance against competitors: so you can identify new opportunities and benchmark results compared to other brands
  • Easy-to-use, automated optimisation of the best times to post on platforms: saving you time on heavy data crunching and ensuring your content has the best chance of engagement

There are many other bonuses to using management tools to support your brand’s marketing strategy. To find out more, visit our dedicated review of the best social media management tools for small businesses.


Top tips for acting on insights from Instagram analytics

It’s all well and good mastering the art of interpreting Instagram analytics, but do you know how to act upon them?

This is vital if your brand is to stand out among the noise of Instagram’s 25 million odd business accounts, vying for user attention.

To help you, we’ve put together some suggestions of how you can capitalise on the insights you gather.

Post with peak times in mind, but be strategic

One of the best things about Instagram analytics is that it tells you when your audience is most active. You need to use this to your advantage – but be aware that optimal posting times might be the same for other brands competing with you in the space.

Don’t just assume there is a one-size-fits-all approach because this could impact engagement rates. Check active times carefully, and then schedule your content accordingly.

active times Instagram

Petra Smith, marketing consultant at Squirrels and Bears, agrees.

“Look at the times when your audience is most active, and then post 1-2 hours before the peak times to ensure your content is already there waiting for them.”

Whilst Dan Davis argues you can be even more calculated with your posting strategy.

“Be mindful of the “active times” feature on insights. Sure, that’s when your audience is most active, but all the other accounts they follow can see that too, and will likely be posting in that window.

“Instead look at the second or third most busy times and post then, so you're not getting lost amongst the noise.”

Be mindful of the active times feature on insights. Sure, that’s when your audience is most active, but all the other accounts they follow can see that too, and will likely be posting in that window.

Identify and act on trends

Gathering insight from the channel section of Instagram insights is an incredibly useful way to delve into follower trends.

If you carefully analyse the stories you have posted in the last six months, for example, you will be able to identify common trends in the stories that had high levels of engagement and interaction, and the ones that didn’t.

From here you can paint a confident picture of what content works for your target audience, and plan your Instagram campaigns accordingly.

Social media marketing agencies are experts at identifying and acting on trends. Check out our review of the best agencies in the UK to see how they could help support you with your marketing strategy.

Don’t get hung up on reach

Although reach is important, when it comes to Instagram it doesn’t really do much for the growth of your brand. In fact, many marketers argue that it is more of a vanity metric.

What is really important is interactions and engagement. So, when measuring the success of campaigns, focus on these metrics first before analysing the reach. Thousands of people could see your post, but it doesn’t mean they will interact with it.

Use A/B testing

When we asked Sprout Social’s Gerard Murnaghan for his top tips, the VP advised that brands should use A/B testing when posting content, and measure the insights closely.

“If you’re not yet sure what will strike a chord with your community, running more than one post side-by-side can help you determine which copy and creative combinations best support your goals.
“For conclusive results, try to design it around specific metrics and track performance. Have a clear winner? Then put more resources behind that post and watch it fly.”

Keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends will help you act on any insights you gather on Instagram. Read our definitive guide to 2022’s top trends to find out everything you need to know.

Next steps: getting support through a digital marketing agency

To recap, the importance of using Instagram analytics to enhance your social media marketing strategy cannot be overstated.

Your brand needs them:

  • To measure growth
  • To gain fans rather than followers
  • To strategise effectively

However, as you may have gathered, collecting insights and turning them into actions isn’t the quickest, or easiest, thing to do.

And as running a business is already incredibly hands-on, you may not have the time that is required to dedicate to Instagram analytics.

You do, however, have other options. This includes hiring a digital marketing agency to support you – even if it's just with your Instagram social strategy. Agencies have social media marketing experts who understand the ins and outs of Instagram analytics like the back of their hands.

To find the right agency for you, we recommend you use our quick and free digital marketing service cost comparison tool to get an idea of what this would cost your business.

Spend a minute or two filling out a few basic details, and we will put you in touch with services that can help you. It really is that simple!

Written by:
Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website. Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Condé Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism. Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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