Using Instagram Analytics to Drive Better Engagement

So, once you’ve got your brand new Instagram account live and kicking, it’s time to test and measure whether the killer content you’re sending out into the world is actually doing the trick.

Are you getting results?

Keeping on top of your overall performance, optimizing your content and intelligently analysing your metrics so that you can get the most out of your Instagram marketing strategy is key to your success.

In the short term, it’s pretty easy to assess whether your photo or video has made a splash amongst the rest of the 80 million posts shared daily, but long-term tracking will help you to improve your content strategy. Instagram analytics give you the opportunity to find out what your audience really wants.

Make sure that Instagram is a tool that will help you to meet your marketing goals and not just a pretty place to post selfies. Picking the right KPIs to keep an eye on is integral to building a successful content that’s moving in the right direction.

There are more advanced free tools you can use to analyze your data like Hootsuite, @Lately @Agora Pulse, Iconosquare and Union Metrics and loads more, but we’re going to look at Instagram’s in-built Analytics tool.

Measuring your Instagram Content

What can good engagement with your analytics help you do?

  • Break down your followers by demographic data - gender, age, location and language.
  • Look at engagement stats and insight for your content - likes, mentions and comments over time.
  • Track your promoted Instagram posts and their reach. Contrast your organic and promoted content.
  • Makes you more accountable if you set clear goals and objectives for your content strategy.
  • Helps you to have more information and insight when planning your next campaigns.
  • Gives you a way to compare your content to competitors in your industry and see how you’re doing.

Demographic Data

There are a few different basic demographic data points that you can delve into with Instagram Analytics.

Gender and Age Range

Knowing the ages of your audience can help you to tailor your content in a more informed way. You can adjust the times you post and the types of content too. If you’ve got quite a young audience i.e a high concentration of 16-18 year olds, then posting your content with reference to school times, instead of work hours makes more sense for higher engagement rates or whenever phone usage stats are high.

You could also shy away from more complex, text-heavy, serious informational content and try out more fun, quirky content that fits into meme-culture or current trends.


Again, location gives you guidance for when you need to be posting content, with regards to different time zones your audience is in.

If you have a lot of users who aren’t living in English-speaking countries then it can be a good idea to create less content that uses lots of text for more visibility and better understanding.

Hours vs. Days

Looking at the times when your audience is engaging with your content is super useful, as it can help you to narrow down your content posting times even more specifically and boost engagement rates. You can switch between Hours and Days information, so you can look at detailed info and create a more robust content strategy.

You might see big changes with your weekend engagement, compared with week days. In this case, you could save big product announcements or your ‘best’ content for the weekend when you’ll have higher engagement rates.

Figure 1: Source – Medium

Individual Post Insights

Under your Insight tab on your account you’ll see a few different metrics to play around with.

  • Impressions show you how many times you content has been seen by users. This can be when they’re scrolling through their feed, in a DM – anywhere they’ve seen your post.
  • Reach is similar to Impressions, but it gives you the amount of unique users’ views – it tends to be quite similar to Impressions data.
  • Engagements give you info about the amount of likes, comments and saves that a post has received. Multiple comments won’t count.
  • Engagement Rate is the percentage of your followers that engage with your content. You can quickly do this yourself for a post by dividing the number of likes and comments by your follower count.
  • Follower Growth shows you how many followers you’re gaining (or losing) over a week long period. This can be pretty exciting when you’re growing quickly. It won’t give you long-term data though, but you can track your follower growth yourself.

Different Content Formats

Your Instagram Analytics metrics will largely be the same for your photos, videos or stories and it can be tempting to compare them with each other, but the UX for each format is different, so it’s best to compare content within each format, instead of across-format.

For example, it’s so much easier to scroll through a feed uninterrupted and like and comment on photo content. It doesn’t take much effort and can be done wherever a user is – whether that’s on a bus, in an office or before bed. The engagement rates for photo content are pretty simple and self-explanatory.

On the other hand, video content is a bit more difficult to view. If you’re not supposed to be looking at your phone or you’re in a quiet location or a crowded place where you can’t hear – video content can be tough to watch properly. It also needs to load and you have to give it more of your attention. The UX is more complex and there are far more variables that can affect a viewing experience. So, holding attention span is crucial and it’s better to monitor ‘views’ instead of likes and comments - a view is counted after 3 seconds.

Instagram Stories require more active engagement from users. They have to interact with your brand’s icon to view a story, they can do this in the Explore tab or if they’re following you, at the top of their feed in the Stories section. The key metrics to look out for here are exits and replies, along with impressions too.

Account Metrics

You can also look at your Instagram activity over time with some account metrics. This gives you more general overview with a few worthwhile insights:

  • Top Post lets you see your most successful Instagram post over a month. This takes the overall impressions into consideration and helps you to keep a record and spot trends in the content that really packs a punch with your audience.
  • Top Mention is super useful when you’re looking to create new partnerships and connections with successful Instagram Influencers. You can see the mention of your brand from a user that has gained the most impressions. So, whoever the user is that has mentioned you could be worth reaching out to and working on some content together.
  • Top Follower is another good marker of influencers to look out for. This is the account that followers you who has the greatest amount of their own followers. They’ll have a massive potential audience reach, so keep on their good side and see if you can work together. What can you offer them? Work on an outreach plan.
  • New Followers will give you an insight into how your campaigns and content posting is affecting your follower count. Look for patterns and trends to generate more info.

Improving your Content Strategy

With all your newfound metrics and campaign KPIs, you can start to create a flexible, responsive content strategy that fits your audience. Looking at a combination of individual metrics and account metrics can help you to spot overall patterns and trends to work with and build a content strategy around.

Using data and metrics to inform your strategy should be one part of your approach, but remember that Instagram is a great platform for being experimental and fun. Don’t let a devotion to data stifle your creativity – play around with content but keep an eye on your results.