“Those unable to catalog the past are doomed to repeat it.” —Lemony Snicket
That line probably sounds like it was announced by your high school history teacher, but it was actually written by Lemony Snicket—though he’s hardly the creator. It’s an old adage that has been spoken in thousands of ways, but it loosely means that we must look to our past in order to plan for the future.
That same theory holds true in marketing. As marketers we should be just as concerned with our past campaigns as we are with those we’re planning, and we should constantly analyze what has proven beneficial in the past so that we may build off that success in the future.
In order to figure out what has worked in the past we analyze our attempts. This particular article discusses how to examine, pull and utilize Instagram Analytics in order to better your social media marketing. This is very important for modern marketers as Instagram continues to grow in popularity.
5 Instagram Analytics Reports to Run
The top Instagram metrics to track change from one company to the next, so you’ll really need to consider which metrics you want to analyze for your own business. These should be metrics that are important to your business and that roll-up into your general marketing strategies.
1. Instagram Engagement Analytics
The number one metric we promote at Sprout is social media engagement. We’re firm believers that social media networks should be a place for brands and their customers to come together to engage with one another.
- Likes. Likes are how your customers and followers let you know they appreciate your content, and they’re the quickest way that Instagrammers can show their approval. There are 2.5 billion Instagram Likes daily–so go out there and get your share.
- Comments. Comments should be most companies’ bread and butter. Similar to a Like, this typically means that someone enjoys what you’re posting. Not only do they your content, they like your photos and videos so much that they want to start a conversation with you and your team. Be warned that sometimes you’ll receive a negative comment. Don’t sweat it too much; a negative comment is a great opportunity to turn someone who may have had a poor experience with your brand into a loyal customer.
- Engagements per Follower. Engagements are relative, and multi-million dollar brands are likely to receive more Likes and Comments than your corner mom and pop shop. But it’s also possible that your lovable mom and pop shops will receive more engagements per individual follower than their conglomerate counterparts. That’s why it’s important to look at the engagement per follower. The more often you can get an individual to engage with you, the better the chances they will respond positively to your brand when it comes time for them to make a purchasing decision.
- Engagements per Media.While your engagements per follower shows how active your Instagram community is, engagements per media give insights into which of your posts are garnering the most interaction. This is great in that it can shed some light into what types of media you should post more frequently, as you’ll want to keep creating content that gets a solid amount of engagements.
2. Instagram Hashtag Analytics
Though hashtags have been stigmatized in recent years, they’re still very important for brands taking advantage of social media marketing. So it’s important to figure out which hashtags will help your brand gain an increase in visibility.
- Most Used Hashtags. How many times are you using a certain hashtag? This tells you exactly how many times you’ve used a hashtag over a given time period. Use this data to see if you need to diversify your hashtag usage. Make sure you’re always testing new hashtags to see which helps get your content the most exposure.
- Most Engaged Hashtags. While the above analysis tells you which hashtags you used the most, this metric shows you which of those hashtags received the most engagement (likes and comments). This stat is key because it shows which of your hashtags are driving the most communications with your fans and customers. Utilizing those hashtags–and hashtags similar to those–will lead you to an increase in engagement on Instagram.
- Hashtags Frequently Mentioned With. A fantastic way to figure out which hashtags to use is to look and see which hashtags are already associated with your brand. Try a tool like Sprout Social’s Trends Report to see which hashtags your fans are using with your handle and in what context, then use that hashtag to join the conversation.
3. Instagram Follower Analytics
Since the dawn of social media marketing, audience growth has been one of the most important metrics for marketers. Though the importance of audience size is dwindling as engagement becomes the number one metric for social, it’s still important to monitor your audience growth. A growing audience is a key indicator that your business is doing well both on and off social media.
- Followers Gained. The number of new followers that you received in your chosen time frame. Try looking for days with massive spikes in audience growth and look at what you were doing on that day.
- People That You Followed. One of the biggest vanity metrics in social marketing is the number of followers you have compared to the number of people that follow you. It’s something that is not indicative of your skills on social media, so don’t be afraid to follow your fans
4. Instagram Content Analytics
In order to figure out what type of photos and videos resonate with your audience you need to dig into your content analytics. When you have a better idea of exactly what it is that customers are engaging with you can continue to create similar content to drive additional likes and comments.
- Top Posts. You’ll obviously want to know which of your Instagram posts perform the very best! Not only will this give you an idea of what to continue posting, but it should also make you feel proud to have created such great content.
- Photos Sent. If you find that your pictures resonate most with your audience you’ll want to monitor this number to make sure you’re posting steady content. If you’re not posting frequently enough you could be missing out on getting additional reach and brand engagement.
- Videos Sent. If it isn’t too difficult for you to create videos quickly, and you find out that they perform well with your audience, monitor this number to make sure that you’re creating enough video content to keep up with your fans. Instagram videos can be between three to 15 seconds long, so it shouldn’t take too much time to create videos quickly.
5. Instagram Profile Analytics
Many social media managers have to manage multiple profiles across a number of different networks simultaneously, and constantly logging in and out of networks to analyze performance can be a huge time waste.
That’s why it’s a great idea to find a tool that will show your Instagram Analytics at a high-level by profile, then you can dig into the profiles you think need some work.
Pull Your Unique Instagram Analytics
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t have its own analytics platform to monitor your performance. However, Instagram has partnered with key social media analytics providers like Sprout Social, and we have the access to pull and present all of your analytics data to you in a beautiful, meaningful way.
Using Sprout Social’s Instagram Analytics
Sprout’s Instagram integration is available at every plan level, so no need to worry about limited access. Just follow these steps to pull and access your own report.
- Access your Sprout Social dashboard. If you’re not currently a Sprout Social user, you can start your own free trial with no software to download or credit card information to submit, and once you’ve setup your Instagram account we’ll start to pull in your data. Those who are current Sprout users should head on over to their unique dashboard.
- Navigate to the Reports Tab. Once in your dashboard click the tab toward the top of the page that reads Reports. Several of our proprietary reports have some form of Instagram integration, but for running the analytics we discussed in the first section of this article choose Instagram Profiles on the left hand side.
- Choose your date range. You have access to all of the data since your Instagram account was attached to your Sprout plan. So make sure that you choose a date range from after that point, and a date range that you’re interested in learning more about.
- (Optional) Export your report. You can export unlimited PDF or CSV versions of this report, allowing you to use the data in a number of unique ways. For instance, you can send the designed version to company stakeholders, work with a pen and mark up the physical document or manipulate the raw data in a way that makes sense to you.
- Dig through your analytics. Section one should have given you an idea of which of the metrics you’d like to track for your business. Now you can use this report to look at all of those stats you care about.
- How many likes you received
- How many comments you received
- Your engagement per follower
- Your most used hashtags
- Your most engaged hashtags
- Your total followers
- The followers you gained
- Your top Instagram Content
- Your analytics by profile
Use These Analytics to Improve Your Instagram Marketing
Spend some time really studying your past Instagram Analytics. If you really want to be able to use this information to guide your strategy, ask yourself some tough questions, like:
- Which of my photos get comments?
- Which of my videos get comments?
- Are my followers really engaged?
- Which of my profiles are doing well?
The answers to questions like these will help you paint a picture of what’s working on Instagram, and will allow you to get out their and get even more love from your community.
Michael Patterson: Michael enjoys writing about all things social media, and his insights can be found on Adweek's SocialTimes, Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner. When he isn't pouring over blog posts he can usually be found exploring Chicago's unique neighborhoods and breweries.