As with any marketing strategy, keeping tabs on the performance of your various initiatives is essential, including on Instagram.

But when it comes to digging into your Instagram metrics, it may not always be clear where to start or even which are the most important.

To make this determination, consider the following question as a key jumping off point for getting started.

Why do you need to track your Instagram metrics?

If you manage your Instagram account without ever looking at your analytics, you’ll be left in the dark when it comes to understanding the results of your efforts.

These efforts likely coincide with company or department goals (or even just your own Instagram KPIs), which will naturally help inform which Instagram metrics you should be reporting on.

Therefore, when answering the “why” part of the equation, you’ll also reveal your key IG metrics to report on.

Measure your efforts with these 7 metrics for Instagram

The Instagram metric most commonly used usually centers around various forms of engagement, though we’ll cover a variety here.

If you’re still feeling a little lost, don’t worry, we’ve outlined several Instagram metrics below to help you get a feel for what to look for and where to find it.

And bonus, we’ll even make sure you know exactly where to capture each Instagram metric within Sprout Social (where applicable).

1. Engagements per follower

What this metric tells you: Engagement with your content relative to your follower count

While it may be tempting to compare your Instagram performance to that of the big guns (think Oreo, Starbucks, Nike, etc), you don’t want to do that unless your audience size is roughly the same.

Why?

Because brands with millions of followers should be racking up thousands of likes. However, if you have a couple thousand followers you’re naturally not as likely to accrue similar results in sum, but that doesn’t mean you’re not still performing exactly as you should be.

And that’s where engagement rate comes in and can help make sure you’re evaluating your account fairly.

How to measure Instagram engagement rate with Sprout
In order to find this Instagram metric, you’ll want to first gather the total amount of engagement you received for a given time frame.

Within Sprout, navigate to the Reports tab and under Instagram Reports, select Instagram Business Profiles.

As you scroll through the Overview tab, you may notice a section with engagement rate already calculated, but note that this uses impressions (still a valuable insight) but we’re looking to determine the rate per follower so simply plug that total in instead.

The formula for measuring engagement rate on Instagram will look something like this:
Total Engagements / Follower Count * 100 = Engagement Rate

Reporting on this metric over time will give you a sense of overall performance trends, though you can certainly calculate it for specific posts as well to get an idea of the types of content that resonates with your audience.

2. Follower growth

What this metric tells you: You’re doing something right!

When evaluating a growing (or shrinking) Instagram follower count, context is important, especially if you’re experiencing random spikes or drop offs due to something like a one-time promotion or paid social ads.

Make sure to measure your follower count over time and keep the above context examples in mind so you know exactly what has contributed to the growing numbers. Ideally you’re seeing sustained, gradual growth over time, which indicates that people are liking what they see from your content and they want to make sure they see more of it.

Additionally, understanding what is or isn’t working is also essential within the context of your overall Instagram marketing strategy and KPIs for Instagram because you’ll want to make sure you know the types of content that should be continued and which may need tweaking.

Though total followers may be seen as a vanity metric to some, it ultimately represents the potential reach of your content, which impacts the performance of other IG metrics like engagement so continuing to focus efforts around organically growing your audience is still as important as ever.

How to measure follower growth with Sprout
Sprout enables you to see all kinds of information about your follower growth, from a comprehensive growth chart to percentage growth. Utilize each report as needed across all connected IG profiles.

3. Comments received

What this metric tells you: How engaging your content is

While they may both fall under engagement, there’s actually a major difference between likes and comments when it comes to evaluating Instagram performance metrics.

Likes are fairly easy to dish out and often times you can’t be 100% certain a post was truly seen by your followers, but with comments, it’s crystal clear. Whether positive or negative, comments left on your posts are an indication that your content had some kind of impact, or at least enough for the individual to take the extra step to leave feedback.

This type of engagement, especially when positive, is a strong factor in community building and establishing a loyal fanbase. Anyone can double tap with ease but those who go out of their way to comment are the ones to keep an eye on.

Managing comments in Sprout
Depending on the size of your Instagram account, it may be manageable to simply review your posts one by one to view and record comment counts. But with Sprout, the work is done for you.

Using the Instagram report mentioned earlier, comment totals over a specified time period are displayed alongside other engagement metrics. You can then cross-reference comment counts with the actual feedback being received to determine sentiment and whether or not your content is working as desired.

4. Reach

What this metric tells you: How many people are seeing your content

If you think reach sounds a lot like impressions, you’re not alone.

These two metrics are similar but confusing enough that we’ve dug deeper into these topics in great detail via Reach vs Impressions and Instagram Impressions (if you’re inclined to learn more).

To keep it brief here, all you need to know is that your Instagram reach indicates actual views of your content while impressions simply means it was displayed but may not have generated a click or any other form of engagement.

Quickly locate reach in Sprout
No fancy calculations needed for this one. To find your average daily reach in Sprout, simply return to your Instagram report and within the Instagram Impressions section, you’ll see the total and percent change over the specified time frame.

5. Most engaged hashtags

What this metric tells you: Hashtag performance

While the fickle Instagram algorithm may sometimes wreak havoc on your content strategy, hashtags have proven to be one of the most reliable ways to keep your momentum going.

By using hashtags that are relevant to your industry or what your audience is searching for you can help keep reach and engagement in check.

Instagram allows users to include up to 30 hashtags on each post, but be sure to use that quota wisely through research and learning from performance over time. You may be surprised by how often less is more when it comes to hashtags.

Measuring hashtag performance in Sprout
To maximize this particular IG metric, you’ll want to spend time reviewing your Instagram Outbound Hashtag Performance report within Sprout.

As displayed below, you get a full breakdown of your hashtags organized by both usage and engagement. You can use this data to inform future hashtag decisions, especially when it comes to engagement performance relative to other efforts.

6. Referral traffic

What this metric tells you: Instagram’s impact on your website traffic

A common tactic for social media posts involves linking out to a website’s specific landing page, product page or even just the home page depending on the type of action you’d like your followers to take upon seeing your post.

But on Instagram this can be a bit more challenging because the only place to display a clickable link is inside your bio. You also have the option to include URLs within your captions, but either way, tracking referral traffic from Instagram can be tricky.

How to track referral traffic
As mentioned, because Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links within your posts, one great way to track referral traffic from a particular campaign is with UTM parameters. UTM parameters are tags you can tack onto a URL that lets Google Analytics (or other tools) know exactly where the user referred from.

If you’re implementing any landing pages specifically for an IG campaign, you’ll want to read up on how to set up of your own UTM parameters to ensure they’ll work correctly.

You can also check your social network referral traffic in Google Analytics to see how much traffic Instagram has sent your way, including distinguishing between Instagram (your bio link clicks) and Instagram Stories (your story swipe ups).

7. Instagram Stories metrics

What this metric tells you: How popular and engaging your Instagram Stories are

Arguably one of the most essential components to current Instagram marketing strategies involves the use of Stories.

These are useful in a number of ways, most notably because they provide another dimension of content for your audience. The disappearing nature of the photos and videos gives you even more freedom and flexibility than your feed does.

When it comes to Instagram Stories, there are a few good metrics to keep tabs on such as Story Replies, Story Taps Back and Forward, Story Exits and Impressions, among others.

Using Sprout to view Instagram Story stats
If any of the above metrics interest you, simply locate the Instagram Stories Performance report in Sprout to view data for each connected profile.

Start tracking your Instagram metrics today

With all the essential IG metrics in hand, you’re ready to start reporting on progress. Be sure to utilize Sprout’s full offering of Instagram Analytics to go even deeper into your performance.

If you’re not already using Sprout, take advantage of a free 30-day trial or request a personalized demo to get started today.