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How to Use Instagram Insights Overview

July 11, 2018

If you’re a retail business than you’ve probably already set yourself up as a Business on Instagram and and are using the new Shopping feature. (If not, we’ve previously written this handy guide on how to create a shoppable Instagram feed). But Shopping is just one of the features you can utilise as a business. And once you start to use all of the other features that are available, you need to be able to understand how they are working for you (or not), so improvements can be made. Data is key to your marketing journey!

Here at Venture Stream we love data! Data helps us to understand our audience and make sure we’re targeting correctly. It helps us to measure the impact of our marketing efforts and to look at what we can do differently to help us perform better. The data that Instagram Insights provides will help you do just that so that you too can target accordingly.


Why Should I Be Using Instagram?

  • 800 million monthly active users
  • 500 million daily active users
  • 300 million daily active users of Stories
  • 40 billion photos shared to date
  • 25 million business users
  • 4.2 billion likes per day
  • 95 million photos uploaded per day

(Source: Omnicore)


Why Should I Use Instagram for My Brand Marketing?

As the fastest-growing social media platform, more people are engaging with Instagram than Twitter or Facebook; and with numerous new features added on a continuous basis, it’s a social channel that really keeps users interested.

As a visual platform, posts perform particularly well due to the brain processing images 60,000 times faster than text, with 40% of people responding better to visual information than plain text. In addition, people remember 80% of what they see compared to 20% of what they read or 10% of what they hear (source: Buzzoid). So there’s no doubt that if you’re looking to sell your brand in a visual way, it’s a marketing channel you should be getting on board with.

Instagram is the perfect platform to create your brand identity, using images, text and video to create a story, build your voice and create emotions for users to react to. Often, social platforms are used as mediums in which to portray a ‘professional voice’, Instagram is a great place to showcase your fun side and let the user into the world of the brand that they don’t always get to see.


What if I Don’t Have a Business Profile on Instagram?

If your account is currently a Personal account, you will need to switch to Business to access the analytics feature. This is a simple process:

  • Make your account Public (if currently set to Private)
  • On the profile page, tap the wheel icon to access Settings and then ‘Switch to Business Profile’.
  • You will need to have a Facebook Business Page to link your Instagram account to, so choose the page you would like to associate to. If you do not have a Facebook Business Page, you will have the option to create one at this point.
  • Ensure all contact information is correct on the ‘Set Up Your Business Profile Page’ and then select ‘Done’.


Which Insights Does Instagram Offer? video to gif 1


Instagram will look at four different aspects of your Instagram account: Account, Audience, Posts, and Stories.

The Account-based metrics will analyse information on page views, likes, comments, follower numbers and website clicks from your bio link. This data will help you understand whether or not your current strategy is working. And if you see that the numbers are low, take a look at what you can do to help engage the right audience, perhaps by experimenting with different content ideas or using a hashtag app to identify popular hashtags for your posts to help make you more discoverable.

Audience-based metrics will evaluate information on who is following, viewing and engaging with your posts. As many accounts are linked with the users’ Facebook accounts, more user data can be provided on age, gender, location etc. Whilst it’s great to receive engagement on posts, you will also want to attract the right kind of audience to help you generate new business.

Post-based metrics will analyse data specific to the posts themselves and offer results on how well a post is performing such as:

  • Likes and Comments (how many the post has received)
  • Saves (how many people have saved the post in their favourites – a great tool for seeing what REALLY works!)
  • Actions – the number of actions users took after seeing your post, such as visiting your profile, clicking on a website link or following you
  • Discovery – Impressions (how many times the post was seen) and Reach (how many people have seen the post)

You are able to filter your posts by type – Photos, Videos, Carousel posts and Shopping posts and then filter again by – Calls, Comments, Emails, Engagement, Follows, Get Directions, Impressions, Likes, Profile Visits, Reach, Saved, Texts, Views and Website Clicks. You can also choose between the following time-scales in this metric view – 7 days, 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years etc.

So you can expect to measure posts across a specific time period for the following goals:

  • Engagement – comments, likes
  • Impressions and reach
  • Ratio of engagement to reach
  • Best and worst performing types of content (photos, videos, carousel and shopping posts)

These metrics will help you drill down to the activity on the posts themselves and understand how your audience are interacting with the content. By recognising which posts are performing well and which aren’t, you are able to replicate those successful posts in future activity.

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Stories Insights provide data to see how many people have viewed, how many people have been reached and how many have dropped off and can be analysed in the following ways:

  • Completion Rate – how people are engaging with the exact story.
  • Single slide – see Forward, Back, Next Story, Exits to find out what types of content perform best. Backward tap is a great sign of what is working really well, as users are interested enough to want to watch it again.
  • Use Swipe-up – (10,000 followers or more currently) track the number of times this is used, it’s another great way to work out which content is diving traffic. Add in text or a ‘swipe-up’ gif to direct users.
  • Replies will go straight in your inbox and not shown publicly. The IG algorithm will reward you for encouraging followers to reply and will also increase your overall engagement.
  • Monitor hashtag and location stickers – look at how many people have clicked on each sticker to understand if they’re useful or not.
  • Add location / hashtag stickers to become discoverable on the Explore page – this is now also trackable.

Insights for Instagram is a relatively new feature of the app and as such is fairly limited, you will see that it only views data from the last week for most profile analytics and 30 days for top posts but it will certainly give you a decent overview of your Likes, Comments, Reach and Follower Growth. As a free tool, it means you can get a good quick insight into your account without having to leave the app.  For more detailed information you can still access social media insights on Google Analytics via Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals. And there are also lots of both free and paid third party apps, if you’re needing specific detailed reports for your Instagram account.

So make sure you have converted to a Business Profile and over time use these Insights to help you understand your audience and identify what works best for your brand. As with most marketing strategies, you’re unlikely to get it right first time, but look at Insights as a tool in which to help you constantly improve and evolve your strategy to optimise each and every post.


If you need support with your social media strategy, then get in touch with a member of our team today, or apply for a Free Audit of all of your digital marketing channels, including social media.


Written by Andy

Andy is Venture Stream’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years’ experience in ecommerce consultancy, design and retail marketing.

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